City manager delighted with derby-day win at Torquay
In the aftermath of a 3-1 victory for the Grecians over neighbours Torquay United, Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale was understandably delighted with the manner and outcome of the game.
It was far from plain-sailing for the City boys – Exeter had to repel waves of attacks from the home side in the early stages, and goalkeeper Artur Krysiak pulled out two fine saves from Karl Hawley to keep the game goalless – one from a tight angle and the other from 12 yards, after Billy Bodin drew a foul inside the area.
The momentum shifted when the Grecians broke the deadlock through a wonderful strike by Tom Nichols. And even when Exeter went two goals up through and David Wheeler, the Gulls kept coming and looked revitalised when Hawley finally got the better of Krysiak with 15 minutes to go.
But a chance to readjust at half-time, and a chance to take stock and change shape, helped Exeter on the way to a much-needed win and another three derby points.
“It was a really good win,” said Tis. “We were made to work for it, and the cliché of having to weather the storm is pretty relevant today. We had to weather a heck of a lot in the opening quarter.
“I picked a very attacking team, but I didn’t want it to be quite so open. I picked a team to go and attack and I don’t think we mounted an attack in the first 20 minutes, and I wondered whether I should have been a bit more conservative.
“But we weathered it and Artur Krysiak made a penalty save, so well done him – it meant that we stayed within the game. And Tom Nichols’ goal was a cracker and the game changed at that point.
“I wanted to get to half-time with an opportunity to adjust because we weren’t covering the areas enough and the ball was in transit a lot. It was in the air and flying about, and we weren’t close enough to each other and moving the ball well enough, and we weren’t filling vital area.
We adjusted one or two things at half-time which meant we were closer to the ball – David Wheeler and Alan Gow moving over to opposite wings was the main change in terms of stopping that flow down the left side.”
Gulls boss Alan Knill made a change when trailing by two in order to chase the game – it got the hosts back to within a goal but ultimately didn’t affect the outcome.
From Paul’s point of view, it was cruel on the City stopper to be denied a clean-sheet that would have been richly deserved given the quality of the goalkeeping. But he admitted that it was a victory that he and the team were hankering for.
“Artur deserved a clean-sheet, and at two-nil I thought we were more likely to score the third than they were,” he continued. “They brought on another striker and went 4-4-2 which is a legitimate move on their manager’s behalf – I know their supporters didn’t seem happy with it but it seemed the obvious thing to do to me and I would have done the same thing.
“It meant the game opened up and at that point Alan Gow was the man coming into the hole – when they made that change I was ready to put Alan there. But when they scored they made it a bit testy for us.
“But we desperately needed the win. We certainly feel we’ve earned it and it’s a big boost for us.”