Bristol Rovers Reserves 3-4 Exeter City Reserves3rd November 2014
A Rovers reserve side went down by the odd goal on seven against their Exeter City counterparts this morning in a game played at their training ground.
Jamie White, Jamie Lucas and Dave Martin were on target for Rovers, who were 2-1 down at half time.
Although the Grecians increased their lead early in the second half, Rovers hit back strongly to get back on level terms, but Exeter’s Matt Jay scored what proved to be the winning goal 13 minutes from time.
After Adam Cunnington had gone close to opening the scoring with a header that drifted just wide of the target the visitors took a 12th minute lead when Jason Pope rifled a ferocious twenty yard shot past Kieran Preston.
Rovers were back on level terms just three minutes later when White latched on to Martin’s ball in from the right and scored from close range.
Tom Nicholls scored for Exeter on 28 minutes and scored again after 56 minutes with a 25 yard drive that gave Preston no chance of saving.
Martin pulled a goal back on the hour mark, heading home from close range following a cross from Lucas and Lucas himself scored the equalising goal three minutes later. The young striker, who has only just
returned to the club following a loan spell at Weston super Mare, calmly stroked home a penalty awarded after Martin was brought down in the area.
Jay then scored the winning goal after he was allowed time and space to pick his spot and he beat Preston with a low drive from the edge of the area.
Marcus Stewart, in charge for this game, and a former Exeter player and coach knew what to expect from a young and talented Grecians outfit; “The majority of that team have played together since they were in the Exeter U-12 age group.
“When you come up against a side who play in the way they do, you must make sure that when you press them you do it together and when you drop off you do that together as well. If one player leaves the shape, or doesn’t do his job properly, Exeter will pick you off.
“However I thought we dealt with them very well; we were patient without the ball at times and, off the back of that, there were times when we frustrated them. I know they scored four goals, but I asked our lads to do a job and they did that and we also looked dangerous ourselves when we were able to get forward.
“It was about us trying to stamp our authority on the game and get the ball out wide to our wingers and I thought we did that a bit more in the second half than we did in the first. Exeter did impose themselves on us a little bit more in the opening period than they did after the break, and that’s why they got ahead.
“The second half was more about us and playing the game in the way we wanted to. I was pleased with our improved performance though a little bit disappointed, at times, with our lack of desire to get back into defensive positions quicker than we did. Had we done that then I’m sure we wouldn’t have conceded four goals, so we do need to improve on our quickness and recovery runs.”
The positives, though, outweighed the negatives in what was an entertaining game.
“It was good that a number of first team squad members got some more game time under their belts and also good to see Mitch Palmer back in action for us. He’s been out for almost a year and only featured in a couple of youth team games since his return from injury. I thought he stuck to his guns and he played very well.
“Tyler Lyttle, who played at right back, also impressed. He has a superb attitude and is always looking to get forward, though he doesn’t neglect his defensive duties. When I look at players such as him, it makes me proud to be part of this club.”
Rovers: Kieran Preston, Tyler Lyttle, Daniel Leadbitter, Pierce Mitchell, Danny Greenslade, Donovan Wilson (Harrison Trueman, 60), Mitch Palmer, Dominic Thomas, Dave Martin, Adam Cunnington (Aaron Ward-Baptiste, 55), Jamie White (Jamie Lucas, 55)
Substitute: Cameron Clarke