Paul reflects on Wimbledon result
After a pulsating 2-2 draw with AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow, Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale remained confident that the Grecians can still finish amongst the play-off position come the season’s end.
It was a frantic and thoroughly encounter in front of a record Wimbledon crowd at Kingsmeadow – which included 815 hardy souls from Exeter – and it was a game contested on a knife-edge throughout. Undoubtedly the most noteworthy performance came from 19-year-old striker Jamie Reid, who netted a brace on his full debut, but Paul conceded that it was a blow have twice surrendered the lead.
“We both needed a win,” admitted Tis. “Having been in the lead twice, you hope you can do enough to stay in front. There was a huge amount of effort from the players, total commitment from both sides, and horrendous conditions.
“But we’re still in it. We’ve still got a chance, but it’s disappointing when you’ve been in the lead twice. But I have to thank the players and our supporters for a huge effort.”
Two-goal man Reid was a surprise inclusion in the starting XI, as he had only made a single senior appearance for the Grecians as a late substitute against Oxford on Boxing Day.
And amongst the surprised parties was the striker himself, who only learned that he would be handed his first Football League start 90 minutes before kick-off.
“[Reid] wasn’t expecting to be playing, because when I announced the side in the dressing room you should have seen the look on his face!” Tis continued. “Not many people in our group were expecting him to play, as I hadn’t named the start until half past one.
“Jamie’s a young player – it was that type of game for him today. He can be hit and miss because he’s young and learning his game, but he’s capable of those types of strikes. He was so positive today that I thought that selection was par for the course. It was that type of day.”
Unfortunately John O’Flynn, who had put in a typically rambunctious display in the first period, had to be withdrawn at the interval due to an injury. The team re-emerged from the tunnel without him for the second period and it transpired that he had picked up a problem during the first 45.
“[O’Flynn] is going to have an x-ray on his foot,” explained Paul. “It was innocuous – it was a corner and he was running across the near post, and he got stood on. So he’ll have an x-ray for a possible broken toe.”
With plenty of the top teams still due to play each other during the run-in, there are plenty of permutations on every forthcoming result for the chasing pack and certainly some twists and turns left to come in the final weeks of the season. So all eyes will be on Yorkshire on Tuesday, as two promotion-hopefuls meet at Valley Parade in the form of the Bantams and the Millers.
“Bradford have got a game against Rotherham on Tuesday, and Rotherham are going for the automatics, so they’ve got as much requirement to win that game as Bradford. So we’re hoping that some of our old boys in David Noble and Daniel Nardiello help us out this week.”
Exeter’s final scheduled home match of the season comes next weekend as the Grecians host Cheltenham Town on Saturday 20th April, kick-off 3pm. Join us at St James Park and show your passion on the final day – and help to extend our season for a little longer by cheering City into those play-off places!