25th July 2012
FOOTBALL: Sharp Grecians a good test for Magpies
By Stuart Broom
Dorchester Town 0 Exeter City 4
Friendly - Attendance: 220
EXETER City continued their pre-season winning ways with two goals in each half in this friendly at the Avenue Stadium.
Despite having only returned from their summer break a week earlier, the Grecians full-time training and superior skills showed against a Magpies team for whom this was their first competitive game of the new campaign.
Dorchester lined-up with two of manager Phil Simpkin’s new signings - goalkeeper Jason Matthews and striker Ben Watson who was playing against his former employees, whilst Exeter City gave Tom Nichols, who spent three months on loan with the Magpies last season, a 30-minute second-half spell in which he scored from the penalty spot.
After an even start, Exeter City went ahead on 13 minutes when Jake Gosling controlled a ball from the right, before bending his shot high and wide of Matthews into the top left-hand corner. Guillem Bauza almost added a second six minutes later but his looping header from Aaron Dawson’s cross just cleared the bar.
Dorchester replied immediately but shots from Nick Crittenden and Watson were both fired at Artur Krysiak who easily held them.
Despite some good work by Crittenden wide on the right, City’s defence was rarely troubled whilst at the other end the visitors’ sharp incisive attacks had the home defence on the back foot on several occasions.
Exeter increased their lead just after the half-hour when, despite a good save by Matthews from Guillem, the ball ran to Scott Bennett who slammed the ball home decisively.
Matthews came to the rescue again before the break denying Bauza again after he had stepped around a defender before firing in from 15 yards.
Exeter sent out a completely different team after the break, whilst Dorchester included trialists Josh Concannon, Charlie Clough and Elliott Ward.
Unfortunately Clough blotted his copybook midway through the half when he hauled down Nichols inside the box for a needless penalty, and the young striker who looks in the form to establish a first team place at St James Park, got up to send Matthews the wrong way from the spot.
Experienced striker Jamie Cureton showed all his skills with a neat header that was destined for the top right corner before Matthews managed to flick it over the angle, and Liam Sercombe smashed the resulting corner just past the far post.
Clough almost atoned for his earlier error when his header from Crittenden’s corner was cleared off the line, before Cureton added a fourth four minutes from time by curling the ball around Matthews from 20-yards after Ward had been dispossessed 35-yards from goal.
Simpkin said afterwards: “It was a good workout, and whilst 4-0 sounds a thumping, I thought we had a good share of the possession.
“We struggled after the break when Ben Watson went off with no one to hold it up front and lost our shape a bit, but it was our first game.
“They are full-time and were sharper than us, and it is always difficult to try and accommodate trialists as it disrupts your game.
“Having said that, these matches are to get your first team fit and to check out trialists; it is difficult for them as well of course, and that’s what we did.
“Ben’s calfs were a bit tight at the break so I took him off as a precaution; there is no advantage in pushing it at this stage. Jason Matthews I thought had a good game.
“He made some good saves - his kicking is superb and accurate and his presence both on the field and in the dressing room is excellent.”
PICTURE: NEW FACE - Ben Watson
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