U18s get Merit League underway with 2-1 win over Exeter City.The Barnet FC Youth Team continued their fine form on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Exeter City U18s in the first game of their new campaign.
Having just wrapped up the Football League Youth Alliance South East division title, the Bees have now merged into a new Merit League with the best teams across the south of England, and got off to a fine start this weekend during an entertaining game between two attacking sides.
Barnet came out of the blocks quickly and took the lead after just ten minutes following good pressing from the attack, as Elliot Harris stole possession down the right following excellent work by Shane Cojocarel before clipping in a cross over the goalkeeper from the byline for Mathew Stevens to nod in.
However, Exeter quickly regrouped and won a free-kick within shooting distance straight from the kick-off which they duly converted into the left-hand side of the net to make it 1-1.
Following a fast start to the second half Barnet made a triple substitution on 65 minutes, introducing Jake Knight, Mohammed Diaby and George Booker in place of Ryan Gondoh, Louie Leong and Joe Gater as Hakeem Odofin switched to centre-half.
The changes paid immediate dividends, as Knight stepped in to win the ball before picking out Cojocarel on the left who weaved his way past the full-back and pulled the ball back for Booker to find the net with a low shot from just inside the area after sending the defender the wrong way.
Barnet were then reduced to 10 men on 70 minutes when Diaby was sent off for retaliating to a heavy challenge.
However, this did not stop his teammates from staying in the ascendency as Exeter’s keeper was forced into a smart stop to deny Harris, and despite continued pressure they were unable to find the third goal that would have made their victory slightly more comfortable.
Reacting to the victory, Professional Development Phase Lead Coach Ross Eames said:
“In all it has been an excellent two days with the team traveling down the day before and experiencing their first overnight stay.
“The hotel looked after us very well with the boys having a small analysis session before dinner. They were very professional about their roles and responsibilities on and off the pitch and the performance warranted the result.
“The boys experienced playing a different culture and opposition on the Thursday against Sampdoria and their application to both games was very positive. We now move on to Peterborough at home on Saturday and prepare in the same way we have done all season”.