MLTNC U18s toured East Devon in pre season, playing 3 games in a weekend. The first was at the picturesque St Martin’s FC in Exminster.
The game itself was a slow burner, catching light on the hour mark when Josh Connolly split open the St Martin’s defence with an inch perfect diagonal pass for Sam Kirby who was able to get in behind and pull back invitingly for Tom Green to calmly slot home to give the visitors a deserved lead.
St Martin’s got back into the game in fortuitous circumstances when Callum New made a good save at the feet of an onrushing forward only for it to rebound back off the striker and trickle into the unguarded net.
But it was the tourists who won the game thanks to a calm left foot finish by substitute Connor Stevens which went in off the inside of the far post.
St Martins 1-2 MLTNC U18s
The next morning the tourists faced Southampton FC’s South West U16 side at St Peter’s School in Exeter.
MLTNC U18s started much the better side, with midfield trio of Ben Croome, Tom Green and Isaac Ebejer swarming all over the Saints, and got their rewards when Connor Stevens cut in from the right and unleashed a sensational curling left foot shot that found the top left-hand corner of the net.
Stevens who was captain for the day and now brimming with confidence doubled the lead just a matter of seconds later when he chipped the goalkeeper, this time with his right foot, into exactly the same part of the goal as coach Elliott Cooke described it ‘where the spiders live’.
Stevens followed with another two smart finishes to make it 4-0 early in the second half.
The only blot on the coffee book was hesitancy at the back which allowed The Saints to pull a goal back before right wing back Bailey Bavister found himself in an unusually advanced position, finished off a fine team move by squeezing his shot through the hands of the keeper.
Southampton South West 1-5 MLTNC U18s
The third game in three days was against Exmouth Town U18s, and after the exploits of the day before, it was clear that it was a bridge too far to play 3 games in 3 days.
Overrun by an energetic and physical side MLTNC U18s slumped to a 9-1 thumping.
Exmouth Town 9-1 MLTNC U18s