Exeter manager reflects on draw with Aldershot
Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale was pleased with his side’s battling qualities after a goalless draw against Aldershot on Saturday afternoon.
On a pitch that had suffered in the winter months, the playing surface wasn’t ideal for a free-flowing game and that hampered City’s opportunities to pass the ball around on the deck. And with the Grecians kicking towards the Away Terrace in the first half – with the sun glaring into their eyes when they attacked – the environment didn’t favour City in the opening period.
“It was incredibly difficult conditions, we played against 11 very tough players, we played against a ridiculously difficult sun in the first half – Danny Coles needs to win a toss sooner or later!”
“But I was really pleased with them at half-time. They stood up – they weren’t pushed around, they defended the box extremely well again. I have to say we did quite well – we picked it up in the second half, we tried to build and became slightly more attacking as the game went on and the conditions because more neutral in the second half.”
Having come within seconds of earning a replay from Championship giants Middlesbrough last weekend, the Shots were going to be anything but pushovers. Like City, their away results have been particularly positive so Tis was pleased that his troops were able to match their physical presence.
“We continued to play against a side that are very tough and very resilient,” he continued. “They’ve only lost one of their last nine away league games. It was very hard to penetrate them on a pitch you couldn’t pass on.
“It was the first time the pitch has been difficult to play – it was lifeless today. It was dried out; we actually needed some rain today to stick the ball to the surface and speed it up.
“I’d have liked to have won the game – but we defended extremely well, and we’ve only conceded one goal from open play since the turn of the year, which is a good sign.”
He reserved praise for Guillem Bauza, whose campaign to date has been hampered by injury. The Mallorcan completed 80 minutes of the fixture and made a nuisance of himself against the Shots’ tough rearguard, and Tis was pleased to see him put in a busy performance as he continues his recovery.
“For someone that hasn’t played 90 minutes in a long time, I thought [Bauza] did extremely well. He gave us a focal point, he upset their defenders; I’d have liked the ball to have gone beyond him in the first half more than it did, into the space for Jamie. But I thought he did extremely well.”