Manager praises youngster after debut performance
Grecians manager Paul Tisdale was full of praise for youngster Matt Grimes following a fine professional debut performance in the 2-0 victory against AFC Wimbledon at St James Park.
City’s win came courtesy of two John O’Flynn goals but 18-year-old midfielder Grimes, who had captained the under-18s before graduating into the senior squad in the summer, put in a mature and eye-catching performance in the centre of the field – which came as little surprise to those that saw his pre-season displays. But Tis revealed that Matt found out he was playing merely 90 minutes before kick-off – and that his parents had been wise to his name being on the teamsheet before he was!
“Matt Grimes knew he was starting at about 1.30pm,” said Tis. “I made the decision overnight and Steve Perryman called his parents this morning to tell them not to miss it, but to keep it a secret.
“I wasn’t expecting to play him so soon, but he has played so well in pre-season that I was wondering what there was not to like.
“He’s doing very well – he is impressing me all the time and surprising me with things – I’m waiting for something to go wrong but I haven’t seen it yet!”
His debut came alongside Matt Oakley, who made his first appearance since the shoulder injury he sustained against Gillingham back in March. The former Southampton and Leicester man – almost twice the age of his midfield colleague – put in a great display on his return and Paul was more than pleased at how the partnership complemented each other.
He continued: “On the partnership of Matt Oakley and Matt Grimes as a first effort together – for Oakley to play that well on his first game in six months at his age is just incredible, and Grimes has had a fantastic debut. If there was a man of the match, it was those two as a pair today.
“Those two set it off. They were so composed and had so much control over the centre of the field, that it enabled us to keep our wide players wide and feed David Wheeler and keep the two strikers close together. It was a really proper performance.”
All in all, the victory maintained the unbeaten start that City have made so far to the Sky Bet League 2 season – having won two and drawn one. Tis remains pleased at the bright start that the club have made to 2013/14 – and in particular because it was the first time that injuries had been a real factor in the match preparation and because the fans at the Park have had plenty to cheer about so far.
“We thoroughly deserved our two-nil lead, and perhaps could have gotten more – but two-nil was good enough,” said Paul.
“We nearly didn’t keep a clean sheet at the end by being a little bit sloppy, but Artur Krysiak made some good saves.
“It was a really good performance – we’d had really bad week going into the game not knowing what the team would be until the morning, because of injuries and fitness tests.
“But it has been a great way to start. I hope it doesn’t mean a switch over in form from last year’s home and away – but you can only the win the game that’s in front of you and that’s what we have done. It’s a nice start."