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Tis: “Competent, pragmatic & tough”

5 January 2013

City boss eulogises his team after downing York

Paul Tisdale was delighted with the performance of his players as they battled to a fifth straight victory on the road by beating York City 2-1 at Bootham Crescent.

The Minstermen arguably had the better of the first half, but the scores were tied at one-apiece at the half-time whistle.  However a superb team performance from back to front helped City to take a lead early in the second half, and then see out the victory to rise to fifth in the npower League 2.

“My verdict is that it was a very, very competent, pragmatic and tough performance,” said Tis.  “We were a little bit slow to get started, but it was a slow pitch today.   It was soggy and wet, so it was about covering the pitch and moving as a group, being close to the ball and doing the basics very well.

“So I’m delighted with the win.  It keeps us going forward – it doesn’t matter where we get our points from, every game is a winnable game.  And today we approached it very well, so I’m pleased.”

York had started the brighter, but a swift counter-attack by City resulted in the visitors taking a 14th-minute lead.  After Alan Gow won the ball in midfield, he laid in youngster Jimmy Keohane who galloped into the space ahead of him.  When he tried to slot in his countryman John O’Flynn, covering York player Alex Rodman inadvertently smashed the ball beyond his own goalkeeper.

“Alan came out with the ball around the half-way line, and it was a very good counter attack,” continued Tisdale.  “Jimmy did what he does best, which is break from midfield.  And John O’Flynn is a very good mover and created some space – I think the ball would have gone to John, had the chap not thundered it into his own net.  

“We weren’t expecting such a good finish!  We’re not proud – I don’t mind where they come from, as long as they hit the back of the net.”

The hosts didn’t take long to react, however, and squared up the match just five minutes after.  They had had plenty of joy down the left flank in the opening exchanges, and when Matty Blair escaped, Artur Krysiak did well to block an initial effort – but it left Michael Potts with the simple task of tapping home.  

By way of response, Tis made a bit of a formational reshuffle and introduced Kevin Amankwaah at half-time, which negated the threats and eventually also helped to create City’s second goal.

“They scored their goal from the one area which they had a bit of dominance in – in their inside-left position.  They got through there two or three times so it was no surprise they eventually got through it, and at that point I changed the set-up to make sure we covered the areas a bit better.  The players worked tremendously hard today, and it’s hard to compliment them more really.  They did really well.”

Indeed, it was sub Amankwaah that linked up with Tully on the right flank, and his superb cross towards O’Flynn had the defenders concerned.  That left Keohane unmarked at the back post, and the youngster finished coolly to net the winning goal for City with a first-time effort on his right foot.

Tisdale was full of praise for the combination-play by those involved in the move, and backed Keohane to build on his maiden goal in senior football and show the attacking prowess that has seen him on the scoresheet regularly for City’s reserve side.

“It was great play by Steve Tully and Kevin Amankwaah,” Paul continued.  “It’s a combination which they have shown in previous games earlier this season.  It was a very good cross – John O’Flynn made the near post, which a striker playing on his own up there needs to do to get the defenders in there.

“We’ve been waiting for a goal for a long time [from Keohane].  He’s one of our most prolific scorers in the reserves over the last 12 months but hadn’t scored yet in the first team, so he was due one.

O’Flynn had covered every blade of grass in the match in a typically all-action display.  His sublime efforts in defending from the front and linking up the play added terrific value to the team effort, and he was presented with a chance to find the net for himself in stoppage time after racing clear of the defence.  

His left-footed effort curled just wide of the post, but his manager was keen to applaud his effort – not just in the match against York, but for the season as a whole.

“He’s looking fitter and stronger, and I’m so pleased about that because he deserves a good season this year.  

“He put a big shift in – he deserved the chance, he did everything right, he beat the player and he shaped it.  But he just missed the target.  He certainly deserved a goal, but it wasn’t to be.”

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