Tis: “Pat is lethal from a yard out!”

Boss praises terrific all-round performance

Exeter manager Paul Tisdale was understandably delighted with a third straight victory on the road, as the Grecians triumphed 3-2 over Rochdale at Spotland.

Pat Baldwin’s first-half goal was followed up by a brace by John O’Flynn, and despite a second-half double for Terry Gornell, City held on to win.  And Tis was particularly pleased to be on the victorious end of another entertaining encounter in Lancashire.

“It’s the fourth time I’ve been here as Exeter manager, and every game has been terrific,” said Tisdale.

“Both teams played an attacking formation in the first half and we got the best of it.  But I’m glad we got the third goal because it was always going to be a different second half – they would respond, and we learnt that to our cost last April.

“The boys played extremely well, they were tough when they had to be tough, they did the basics very well and I’m really pleased.”

After a bright opening for both sides, the deadlock was broken by one for the scrapbook – Baldwin’s first goal for almost three years.

“Pat is lethal from a yard out!” joked Tis.  “Whoever you are, if you run in goal enough, eventually the ball will come to you.  

“Anybody in for a set piece in that situation should run to goal.  Even if the ball’s not intended for you, or you’re thinking other things – you run to goal and you’ve got a chance of getting a toe on it.  The next two goals were on the break and were good finishes.”

Exeter used all they could afford from their three-goal cushion in the closing stages, as two Gornell goals made for an anxious closing period.  But Tisdale felt that the side showed resilience, resistance and character as the Dale inevitably came out swinging after the interval.

“No matter what people say, it’s very hard to go in three up and play with as much freedom in the second half.  In the first ten minutes, I thought we started well.  

“But as soon as they made their change and changed their formation by putting another player up front and going more attacking, I was ready to bring Arron Davies on.  It just needed us to cover the pitch a little more deep and be thoughtful with our defending.  As soon as that first goal goes in it changes the game.  

“No matter who you are, the psychology changes and that’s what happened and they pushed more players on.  The 90th-minute goal gave us a nervous three or four minutes at the end.”