Exeter City’s under-18s and under-16s took on Oxford United in their latest round of fixtures and produced two very intriguing contests.
Dan Green’s under-18s won in convincing style courtesy of a Joel Randall hat-trick, before Jack Sparkes sealed the win with a goal of his own.
The match began in a lively manner with both sides looking to score the vital first goal and take the early initiative.
And it was Oxford who struck first on ten minutes. After winning a corner, The U’s were first to the in- swinging set-piece, striking home past the helpless Felix Norman in the City goal.
However the response shown by hosts Exeter was positive, and they got themselves on level terms in swift fashion. Sparkes weaved his way down the Exeter right flank before sending in a deep cross which saw Randall control the ball with a superb first touch and the midfielder fired home to restore parity.
A bright start to the second period saw the Grecians begin to crank up the pressure. The Devon club struck again on 50 minutes when Randall showed good instincts to pinch the ball from United’s midfield before keeping his composure in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper to tuck the ball into the net and make it 2-1.
The home team deservedly made it 3-1 ten minutes later; Sparkes worked his way down the right wing and his cross was met by Randall once again, who tapped in to complete his hat-trick in what was a great day for himself and the team.
With 20 minutes remaining, City completed the rout when Randall and Sparkes combined once more. The former’s shot across the goal was saved by the Oxford goalkeeper, before the rebound was struck home by Sparkes, sealing the three points for Exeter.
Thanks to the victory here, Green’s men have now extended their unbeaten run to seven games across all competitions, putting themselves third in the Youth Alliance South West Division table ahead of yesterday’s trip to Yeovil Town.