A dominant display at St James’ Park saw the EUAFC first team control the game from the off and deservedly come out victorious at 4-2.
A minute’s silence before kick-off was signalled by the referee to commemorate Loris Jeanningros; which justifiably became a minute’s applause for the sadly deceased ex-EUAFC goalkeeper. Everyone was on their feet, creating a wall of noise in his memory.
It only took 90 seconds for Exeter to assert their dominance, as a neat bit of play from the Exeter forwards gave Alex Graham a great opening to curl a shot into the top-right corner from outside the area. 1-0 Exeter. From then on Swansea were rattled, right up until half-time. A set-piece not long after the first goal gave Exeter their second, an inch-perfect ball whipped in from Luke Barner, with Christian Ndjoli-Cuba leaping highest and heading it into the net.
Swansea did bounce back after the second Exeter goal, providing some excitement for the Swansea bench, with attack after attack coming down the right-hand side, but Exeter’s Charlie Knibb and Jack Kewley put in fantastic shifts and were able to snuff out the vast majority of threats that came from the opposition. Around the 12 minute mark Kewley put in a goal saving tackle that could have lifted Swansea and proposed a comeback; and Nick Hyden (their only real bright-spark) was guilty of missing a great chance when he hit the post after catching the Charlie Woodford in possession. The subsequent rebound would have been slotted by the waiting Swansea attacker in the six-yard box, if not for the fine save produced by Mark Roberts, forcing the ball out for a corner.
Hyden was the only Swansea player looking dangerous in the first-half, avoiding challenges and embarking on daring runs through the middle of the park, but the end product simply wasn’t there; and the well-regimented Exeter defence was able to answer all of the questions asked of them.
For the entirety of the first-half, Andy Farley, Luke Barner and Alex Graham wreaked havoc on the Swansea defence
The third goal for the home side came in the way of a very bad mistake from Swansea, with a poorly-judged back-pass by Summers resulting in a great interception and bit of skill from Graham to take it round the keeper and fire the ball calmly into the centre of the goal, to a rapturous response from the EUAFC boys stood behind the Swansea goal in the Big Bank. Mistakes at the back for Swansea came somewhat frequently, due to excellent pressing from the Exeter players.
For the entirety of the first-half, Andy Farley, Luke Barner and Alex Graham wreaked havoc on the Swansea defence, causing all sorts of problems; and visibly unnerving the back-four who simply could not cope with the athletic, darting runs and incisive passing from all three.
Right at the end of the half Swansea were able to claw one back after the Exeter defence made an uncharacteristic error from a set-piece and were unable to get the ball away, resulting in a scrambled bit of play around the six-yard box, that ultimately led to the Orme hoofing the ball into the Exeter goal. 3-1 at the interval.
The second-half made for a more entertaining affair from an away viewpoint to begin with; they controlled the possession and play for the first twenty minutes of the half, but were unable to come out with anything to show for it. Exeter were uninspired after the break, and resorted to playing long-balls from the back, providing little in the way of opportunities against a visibly taller Swansea side.
The fourth goal for the boys in green came after a period of exciting play from Farley and Jamal Bartley, which ultimately amounted to nothing. But minutes later Ndjoli-Cuba shrugged off three challenges to get a pass away to Alex Parsons, who sprinted on down the line and provided a great cross in to Barner who was able to see off the move brilliantly. Exeter were firmly back in control. Swansea did have a good goal-scoring opportunity not long after the fourth home goal, although this was yet again dealt with very well by the Exeter back-line. Exeter made two substitutions in quick succession, bringing Michael Ayer and Pascal Sedgwick on for Woodford and Graham.
Soon after the substitutions, Exeter produced another piece of great play, with Sedgwick looking as though he was in to score, but as he deftly chipped the Swansea keeper, he was ruled offside when the ball rippled the back of the net. This great finish prompted one of the EUAFC boys to hop the barrier and sprint on to celebrate before being tackled by security, and realising the goal had been disallowed.
Swansea closed the game out with several goal scoring chances but once again Kewley put in great challenge after great challenge and was able to prevent any muted celebrations from the Swansea bench. Ultimately Swansea were rewarded for turning up, and a minor lapse in concentration from a set-piece allowed the boys in white a sweaty goal right at the end. 4-2 the final score. As the whistle was blown the inevitable happened, and several more EUAFC members leaped over the barrier and ran to congratulate their club mates; prompting security into action as the guys in their ones wove past high-vis jacket after high-vis jacket.
Overall, a highly impressive performance from the Exeter players, and a lacklustre response from Swansea resulted in a fully-deserved 4-2 victory to Exeter – a great spectacle for the 3,343 fans that turned up, and a fitting result in memory of the late Loris Jeanningros.