Paul praises committed performance and the three points
Grecians manager Paul Tisdale was understandably delighted with the both the display and the result as the Grecians triumphed 2-1 over local rivals Bristol Rovers on the opening day at St James Park.
Danny Coles’ header from a Craig Woodman corner opened the scoring before Eliot Richards drew level with a smart flick, but Sam Parkin headed home what turned out to be the winner. The Grecians needed to show fighting spirit all over the field – including a smart save and a goalline clearance in stoppage time – to hold onto the win.
“This week, we’ve made our focus the result,” Tis said after the game. “Today was about a performance that led to a result, and last year’s 3-0 home defeat [against Morecambe on the opening day] still wrangles with me where we didn’t approach the game with a toughness – today we did.
“We looked a tough group today and that’s been the focus of the week, so I’m delighted with that.
“When they got the goal, I didn’t feel like that would be the start of a collapse for us. When we got the second goal, they might have had the chance at the end with the save [by Artur Krysiak from Eliot Richards] and the clearance off the line [by Danny Coles from John-Joe O’Toole], but I didn’t see us as a weak unit and that’s pleasing.
“When you’re winning and it goes back to all square, it’s a big moment because the psychology changes. But we dealt with it well.”
Parkin’s goal, on his maiden competitive performance for the Grecians, was the cherry on the cake of an all-action performance that ultimately saw him crowned man of the match.
Tis was especially full of praise for the forward and the dynamism that he brought to the team.
“I got a purposeful and tough performance that enabled us to be competitive throughout,” Tis continued. “It was aided very well by Sam Parkin, who was outstanding on his debut. He had a terrific game.
“Other than the goal, his overall performance allowed us to get up the field and keep the ball in the opposition’s half. He offered a real challenge to the Rovers defenders; I don’t want to ask too much of him too soon, but he certainly showed today that he is capable of playing an important role for us.
“I didn’t have that option last year, and now I have. It doesn’t mean that we’ll play that way every time – we were set on how we were going to play today against a Bristol Rovers team who beat us twice last year. We needed a certain type of mentality about us.”
Parkin’s goal was assisted by a ball in by Arron Davies, who also put in an eye-catching performance on the left flank. Paul was pleased with the role the midfielder played in both keeping things ticking over when it was needed and in providing a threat to the Rovers’ net.
“Arron Davies was terrific today. He’s able to play very tidy football – I asked him at half-time to increase his percentages in terms of putting the ball into the box and the goal came from that. He did a really good job.
“When the play is messy, Arron tidies it well. When the play is tidy, he can then add something to the attack like he did today.”