The Seagulls were defeated 0-3 at the Optima Stadium against EFL League Two side Exeter City, the first time Scott Bartlett’s outfit had taken on full-time opponents this summer.
Alex Byrne was in the right place to head an inswinging Jack Sparkes free-kick away from danger, before trialist goalkeeper Niall Maher’s punch from a Lee Martin cross hit striker Ryan Bowman and deflected behind for a goal kick. Nicky Law also had a chance early on, but skipper Greg Tindle was in the way to block the effort inside the box.
Law then fed Martin into the box, and the midfielder’s effort forced Maher into a routine save.
Exeter took the lead midway through the half when Martin threaded a perfect ball through for Bowman, who got in behind Tindle, and he finished well into the corner of the net to put the professional side one goal to the good.
Maher was out quickly to block an attempted Law shot as Exeter continued to get the majority of the chances, before Martin blazed over from the edge of the area and Maher was again in the way to deny Bowman’s one-on-one from Martin’s through ball.
Bowman had one more chance before the half-time break, but his downward header from a Sparkes corner bounced into the ground and over the crossbar.
Weston’s first chance came 10 minutes after the break when half-time substitute Ryan Jones jinked past four Exeter players in a tight space and slipped Owen Howe in on goal, but his dink lacked the required distance and Gary Warren cleared away.
Martin forced Maher to make another good save after being fed in behind the Seagulls backline, before Jarrad Welch slipped in striker Owen Howe moments later but Exeter’s trialist goalkeeper, Rory Brown, pushed the shot away from the target.
Harry Kite drilled off target, before Ben Seymour headed a Will Dean cross just wide of the target and then Seymour drove wide from the edge of the area after Law and Martin combined to send him through.
Sam Hendy’s drilled effort after recieving the ball from Jones was blocked by the leg of keeper Brown, with Maher tipping a Sparkes free-kick onto the post and away to safety down the other end.
Brown was again forced to react as Jones burst into the box, took on his marker and fired an effort towards goal which was tipped behind for a corner.
Exeter got a second when Sparkes’ cross from the left was only cleared as far as Joel Randall, who fired his shot from 12 yards into the top corner.
A third shortly followed, when Sparkes played a one-two from a corner and his inswinging cross missed everyone in the middle and ended up in the back of the net as Exeter saw the win out professionally.
FT: Weston 0-3 Exeter (Martin 25, Randall 87, Sparkes 90+1)
Weston XI: Maher, Parsons, A Byrne (Welch HT), Madden (Hendy 25), Cook, Tindle (C) (J Byrne 66), Llewellyn (Jones HT), Laird, Howe, Malshanskyj (Goodall 87), Pearce (Briscoe 80). Unused substitute: Kingston.
MOTM: Greg Tindle