Exmouth Town Under-16s made the short trip to Exeter City’s Cat & Fiddle training complex for a fixture against an Exeter City Under-15/16 team; a contest that was played out on the superb artificial surface there.
It was the City side who started the brightest and very much on the front foot, but the Town back four dealt well with the early pressure.
Town had Under-18 goalkeeper Billy Worthington in goal while his cousin, Brad Worthington, was in central defence – the pair were helping the team out after a number of injuries to key Under-16 team players.
It was some impressive work from Finn Glandfield, Joel Knott and Ethan Beverley in midfield, that helped Town to get a foothold in the contest while, behind them, the back line was superbly marshalled by the clam and collected Brad Worthington.
The first half served up some exceptional football from both sides though, from a Town perspective, they were not able to fashion scoring opportunities from what was excellent build-up play.
At the opposite end, the Town back line continued to frustrate the City strike force.
Late in the half, the Town technical area breathed a huge sigh of relief when the home side were denied what did look a decent shout for a penalty and the half came to a close with neither side having managed to find the back of the net!
After the break City increased the tempo of their game and Town were forced onto the back foot. The deadlock was finally broken when City were awarded a spot kick that was despatched firmly beyond the outstretched arm of Worthington. Once ahead, the Grecians added two more in quick succession, one a powerful strike from distance and the other a well-worked move down the left side.
Despite being three down in quick time early in the second half, and to their eternal credit, the Town players did not let their heads drop. Indeed, they were back onto the front foot, increasing the tempo of their own game.
James Beverley saw his fierce free-kick arrow just wide of the mark before, after some fine approach work on a couple of occasions, a lack of composure from the front line denied Town what might well have been a couple of goals of their own.
It was City who had the final say in proceedings as they added a fourth with a slick counter-attacking move that ended with a close range ‘tap-in’.
Speaking after the game, Exmouth Town Youth Development Officer Nick James said: “It was so pleasing to see that, despite the score line, not one of our players was, in any shape or form, disheartened.
“The meeting gave the lads a wonderful experience and one that will benefit them all. The team most certainly did not disgrace themselves.
“I am so proud of each and everyone one of them as are everyone connected with Exmouth Town Football Club.”
He continued: “What was impressive was that, when the final whistle blew, each one of the Town players had clearly left everything in the pitch.
“I am delighted to say that this looks like it is going to be a regular fixture for the Town U16s and U18s over the coming years with future games once again on that splendid surface at the Cast & Fiddle and also back at our Southern Road home.
“The contest gave City the opportunity to have a look at what were some very good trialists and so the whole experience made it a case of win/win for all involved.”
He added: “We’re in talks to replicate this sort of thing with both Torquay United and Plymouth Argyle as well.
“It is very much a case of ‘baby steps’ for us. We are a football club youth section that is in its infancy. However, its clear we are making great strides and learning all the time.
“Opportunities like this [playing matches against the likes of Exeter City] is something that we are very keen to offer our players and coaches.
“My personal thanks go to Exmouth Town first team manger Kevin Hill for helping set this all up.”