Under-18s go three games unbeaten in hectic week

Exeter City’s under-18s took to the pitch twice as they played Bristol Rovers and AFC Bournemouth in a busy week for Dan Green and his young squad, writes Derek Baker.

The Grecians took on the Pirates at the Cliff Hill Training Ground where City’s youngsters were hoping to kick on from their 12-0 victory over Cheltenham Town last time out.

The early signs were promising for Exeter, and after just ten minutes they had broken the deadlock. Josh Key was slid in down the flank before his cross was met by the onrushing Lucas White, and the in-form striker buried his chance to
make it 1-0 to the home side.

The Devon club continued to create more openings but couldn’t double their lead. And they were made to pay for their misses when Rovers levelled on 18 minutes. After the hosts’ defence made a slight error, the Bristol club took full advantage
to make it all square.

Things tightened up after half-time, with both teams trading half chances regularly, however clear-cut openings were a rarity. No further goals meant the game finished level and the points were shared in a well-matched contest.

The turnaround was quick for Green’s men, as Tuesday afternoon saw the team take to the pitch in Bournemouth for another tough encounter.

Exeter started brightly and Green’s men were unlucky not to take the lead when White hit the post after 15 minutes, while Brandon Parsons also went close in what was a good spell for City.

After a goal-less first half, White hit the post once again as City pressed for the opener in the second period.

After spurning a number of decent openings, and having penalty shouts waved away, it was, in fact, the hosts that took the lead on 88 minutes. After a defensive error, one inside minutes. After a defensive error, one inside ball led to an arrowing shot from the Dorset side which found the bottom corner.

However straight from the resulting kick-off, Harry Gardner showed some neat footwork to deceive the opposing defender and win himself a penalty. Joel Randall confidently stepped up and converted the spot kick to level the scores.

With little time remaining, neither side could find a winning goal which meant the Devon club travelled back to Exeter with another point, meaning they are now three games unbeaten in the Youth Alliance South West Division.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.