Exeter City’s long-awaited pre-season kicked off with a 1-0 win at Tiverton Town, as trialist Julien Dacosta got the only goal of the night.
It was a game of two very different halves for the Grecians as Gary Caldwell fielded two completely changed XIs for each 45-minute stint. With a mix of first teamers, academy and trialists taking to the field.
There was a big chance early on for City, as new summer signing Vincent Harper was able to show off his silky skills and he took on the Tivvy right back, sending a ball to the back post but City trialist Julien Dacosta was only able to find the side netting.
A big chance for the home side followed as Tivvy found space behind the City backline but were unable to finish his chance as his shot flashed past the Gary Woods and the far post and behind for a goal kick.
With 19 minutes on the clock, Harper and James Scott were linking up well down the left-hand side, causing big headaches for the Tivvy back line. After some trickery from Harper, the ball rolled back to trialist Reece Cole who cannoned an effort off the underside of the bar. However, unbeknownst to everyone in the ground the ball spun away from the goal and was cleared away.
As the game approached the 30-minute mark, Tivvy should have taken the lead. A long ball over the top caught out every player in red, leaving Thompson baring down on goal, with all to aim for, the man in yellow sent it just wide of the post.
City were starting to see much more of the ball as the game approached half time and with Will Aimson starting to dictate play through the middle of the park, a lovely link up with Sonny Cox allowed the City youngster to play Dacosta in behind the Tivvy defence but a swift sweep of the leg took the trialist down.
The resulting free kick was taken by fellow trialist Cole, but his strike went over the bar, as his up and over technique didn’t come to fruition after being too close to the goal to trouble the keeper.
With the pressure on, City found themselves with a corner, as it cleared the area, Scott picked it up on the far side and laid it back to Kite on the edge of the area. As Kite lined up a trademark screamer, a few Tivvy players started to run him down forcing the midfielders shot wide of the goal.
Right on the cusp of half time, City opened the scoring after a combination of both wing backs. Running down the left-hand side, again causing trouble, Harper jinxed his way to the by-line, sending in a peach of a cross to Dacosta, with the right wing back finding the back of the net.
The second half saw 11 changes for the boys in red and white, with another debut handed to Jack Aitchinson, whilst Lewis Spence and Brad Young were given minutes while on trial at the club.
Tiverton started the second half the brighter of the two sides, testing Harry Lee on a few occasions in the opening ten minutes. With a whole host of trialists on show for the home side, they were really trying to make themselves seen.
As the second hand was reaching its halfway point, City had their first proper chance of the half, a corner sent into the area, found the head of captain Pierce Sweeney, but the Irishman’s glancing header went just wide of the post.
City almost made it two, with the game just edging past the 75th minute mark, Young found himself through on goal but his shot on target was blocked by a Tivvy defender and cleared away.
It was City once again, with Aitchison linking up with Young, with the latter sending a ball into the box which was more a shot than a cross in the end, with the keeper comfortably collecting.
That was that for City as they saw the game out as 1-0 victors, after a tough 90-minute battle against the yellow part of Devon.
The mighty Grecians are next in pre-season action on Tuesday, July 11 as they travel south to take on Southern League Division One South outfit Mousehole in a 7pm kick-off at Trungle Parc.
City First Half Team: Woods, Dacosta, Billington, Aimson ©, Hartridge, Harper, Kite, Cole, Cox, Beardmore, Scott
City Second Half Team: Lee, Caprice, Sweeney ©, Diabate, O’Connor, Mitchell, Spence, Borges, Young, Aitchison, Nombe
Tiverton: Saunders, Trialist A, Jones, Trialist B, Jones, Richards, Morison, Allen, Bath, Thompson, Garside
Second Team: Vowles, Trialist C, Trialist D, Trialist E, Trialist F, Trialist G, Trialist H, Trialist I, Trialist J, Trialist K