Exeter City’s Under-18s stepped things up in their third week of pre-season for the 2023/2024 campaign courtesy of another period of intense training sessions, and another productive exhibition match to round the week off.
ECFC U18s Lead Coach, Tom Donati, admitted the work his players put in during the week was another step in the right direction.
“It was another good week’s work for the boys where they worked hard. We also had a couple of them feature in the first-team friendly which was great.
“The boys have applied themselves in training really well recently, and although there are some tired legs and tired minds, that sums up pre-season, and it is a part of being an elite athlete.”
The hours put in on the training pitch during the week led nicely into what was probably the toughest test for the young Grecians to date, as they travelled eastwards to face a talented Crystal Palace Academy side, however, City can count themselves as unfortunate as they ended up losing 2-1.
“It was a long trip into the deepest depths of London, but the boys gave a really good account of themselves. They took on board what was asked of them, and went 1-0 up early on, but we conceded twice through individual errors and we ended up losing the game.
“There were some really positive parts. Out of possession, we showed a real togetherness, and a willingness to do things as a team, and that gave us a real platform to build from.
“The possession was relatively even, and I thought we were far more ruthless with the ball. There were moments in the match that we need to work on, particularly with some of our ball retention, and, of course, there were times we had spells out of possession, but the boys really took things on board which we asked of them, and they worked hard together as a team.
“Our goal came inside the first two minutes, and it was a real sign of intelligence, so that was a good moment for us. We then grew from there into the game. They also had spells, but we created three or four more good opportunities to score, and we managed to get into some decent areas which was rather pleasing to see against such a good team.”
This week the U18s continue to work on their match sharpness on the training pitch, while their team bonding exercises continue to bring the group closer. They round off this week with an away trip to Swansea City, where Donati hopes they will continue to take a step closer to where they need to be for day one of the new campaign.