Goals from Connor Ferguson and Leon Chambers-Parillon sees United youngsters continue their good form in the Youth Alliance League.
With familiar names Nico Jones, Tyler Goodrham and Fabio Lopes all being involved in the first team match against Hartlepool United, a young U’s side started brightly at Exeter City’s training ground.
After a quiet opening ten minutes, and with the youngsters showed no ill-effects after a 6am start, the young U’s took the lead 15 minutes in through Connor Ferguson. Jack Stevens’ corner found Jack Gardner whose deflected volley fell to Michael Elechi. The wide midfielder drilled an effort towards goal which was helped on by Ferguson who guided it into the bottom corner to give the U’s the lead.
It wasn’t the prettiest of games in the first half, with the young U’s feeling they could have done better in spells, but still they created the better of the opportunities. Elechi caused problems down the left, linking up well with Sam Johnson, as Fabio Sole sought to control the game from central midfield.
A good opportunity to double the lead presented itself to Jack Gardner, who made a superb run from midfield to go clean through into the penalty area. However, he took one touch too many which allowed the Exeter goalkeeper to smother the ball. United not at their best but ahead at the break.
On came Jordan Edwards for Callum Crook at half time, with the forward’s added physical presence up front a different option for the U’s in the second period. This nearly paid off early in the second half as another corner caused trouble for Exeter. First it fell to Ferguson who kept his composure to lay the ball off to Gardner who rather rushed his shot from 12 yards to see it skew over the bar.
United started to assert themselves from then, playing the ball around with more composure and intensity. Exeter came forward in spells, and Max Evans was called into action on the 60 minute mark as an Exeter forward rushed into the area, but the U’s goalkeeper was quick off his line and stood tall to halt the attack.
United battled as Exeter pushed for an equaliser, but never looked troubled as they got hold of the game. The match was settled in the 83rd minute as Chambers-Parillon - playing at centre half - came forward, shifted the ball onto his right foot and bent his strike into the top corner to make it a perfect away performance for United to start the new year. Next up for the youngsters, Swindon Town at home.
Evans, Grant (Owens, 60), Johnson, Sole, Milton, Chambers-Parillon, Ferguson, Gardner (Nosakhare, 78), Crook (Edwards, 45), Stevens, Elechi
Subs: Edwards, Nosakhare, Owens