Sam Nombe, Joe O'Connor and Tom Dean were all on target as City edged Weston-super-Mare to 3-2 victory at the Optima Stadium.
Scott Simmons, Theo Cutler and Guilio Marroni given first pre-season minutes on an evening where it was academy players who made the headlines.
Exeter City concluded their double game-day by making the short journey south from the Robins High Performance Centre to the seaside. The starting eleven for the Grecians was an entirely different squad to that of the one featured in the previous friendly of the day against Bristol City, in Gary Caldwell’s continued efforts to maximise game time across the squad.
A quick start from City resulted in a number of chances in the early phases, with Nombe giving the Weston-super-Mare backline something to think about in the first minutes of the game. Jack Aitchison and Harry Kite, playing as a right wing-back for the evening, helping to pile the pressure on the home goal with a good chance each.
Aitchison was given another good chance in the soon after, a positive passage of play from City leaving the attacking midfielder through on goal however the scoreline remained 0-0 after the ball was dragged just wide of the post by the Scotsman.
The Grecians were given a golden opportunity to take the lead when, in the 23rd minute Demetri Mitchell was pulled down in the Weston area after Purnell failed to clear a threatening ball away from danger and a penalty was awarded. Nombe was able to tuck away a neatly placed ball into the top left and give the visitors a deserved lead.
An immediate response from the home team saw a pile of pressure on the City defence resulting in a corner, and O’Connor was unable to deal with a well-placed cross into the box, putting the ball into the back of his own net and levelling the scoreline.
No matter, just minutes later the academy graduate was able to find the back of the net at the other end of the pitch, after Weston were unable to clear the ball away from the six-yard line in a scramble of legs, putting the Grecians back ahead once again.
The remainder of the half would consist of enthralling end-to-end play, with both teams threatening to score once more. A chance for City to create some breathing space came with minutes to go until the interval, but an audacious save from Purnell was enough to keep a Nombe header away from goal, keeping the scores level for the remainder of the first 45.
The beginning of the second half saw the hosts make some substitutes, including Exeter City academy graduate Harry Lee taking his position in the Weston goal, on loan from the visitors to the National League South team. An equaliser for the home team came just before the hour mark, with ex-Grecian James Dodd finding the back of the Exeter net with a powerful low strike from range levelling the scoreline.
Weston wasted no time in trying to get ahead for the first time in the game, with a scramble in the Exeter area resulting in substitute Tom Dean having to head the ball of the line, being followed up with a strike from the home team that ricocheted off the crossbar and out of danger.
As the half grew older, a shift in dominance was clear to see with City finding it difficult to create any meaningful chances against the opposition with more and more attempts from the home team toward the Grecian goal keeping Woods busy between the sticks, with another ex-Grecian in the form of Reid hurling a powerful shot into the gloves of the City keeper.
In one of the more promising attacks from City in the second half, Dean was able to find the back of the net and once again restore Exeter’s lead after a cross from Mitchell left the academy graduate in plenty of space to roll the ball home.
A last attack from Weston was launched in injury time, with a cross into the box being headed wide of the far post and leaving the referee to blow his whistle to conclude the 90 minutes.
City will now look towards their final pre-season game before the beginning of the 2023/24 Sky Bet League One season on 29th July against Championship side Coventry City in a 3pm kick-off in front of a home crowd at St James Park.
Exeter City FC: Gary Woods, Harry Kite (Tom Dean 54’), Pierce Sweeney ©, Cheick Diabate, Gabe Billington (Scott Simmons 85’), Demetri Mitchell, Reece Cole, Pedro Borges (Guilio Marroni 66’), Jack Aitchison, Joe O’Connor (Theo Cutler 77’), Sam Nombe
Substitutes: Tom Dean, Theo Cutler, Scott Simmons, Giulio Marroni
Weston-super-Mare AFC: Luke Purnell, Jason Pope, Trialist A, Jacob Jagger Cane, Lloyd Humphries, Sam Avery, Trialist B, James Dodd, Rex Mannings, Dayle Grubb ©, Trialist C
Substitutes: Kieran Thomas, Trialist D, Jordan Bastin, Jay Murray, Elis Watts, Reuben Reid, Harry Lee