City manager praises all-round display against the Gills
Following a goalless draw with the npower League 2 leaders Gillingham at St James Park, Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale was very complimentary about his team’s performance.
It was a quite staggering ninth clean sheet since the turn of the year, and goalkeeper Artur Krysiak fielded his box very well on the rare occasions when he was tested. Down the other end of the field, the Grecians showed plenty of ambition, and ultimately can consider themselves unlucky to have not converted a performance in which they dominated for large parts into a win.
“It was a very good performance, we gave it a really good go, and I think we shaded the game,” said Tis. “It was a really good game of football today.
“We’ve kept a clean sheet, we’ve taken the league leaders right to the end of the game, we’ve had another player carried off – we’ve been stretched to the limit with the squad again, and I think we’ve played pretty well and given it a real go.”
In the first half in particular, Craig Woodman seemed to be able to find Jamie Cureton with ease time and again with a straight ball over the Gills’ centre-halves – and it only seemed a matter of time before the striker would see the ball sit up nicely for him to break the deadlock. Regrettably the opening never quite came, but it was certainly the Grecians that held the initiative and looked the likeliest throughout.
“The players were not just committed, but also they tried to do some good things,” continued the City manager. “I’d have backed Jamie Cureton to have made the goalkeeper work with those three or four chances he had over the top – but it didn’t quite fall for him and he didn’t quite get the ball under control.
“But we certainly played our game, and I have to say that I’m finding it very hard to find any criticisms of the players today.”
Chances dried up somewhat towards the end of the game when Tis’s hand was forced to take Matt Oakley off. The midfielder landed very awkwardly after trying to hurdle a challenge by Steven Gregory, which meant the Grecians lost their metronomic figure to a shoulder injury – but despite his absence, City still showed purpose in trying to find a goal.
“Losing Matt Oakley with half an hour to go was a big moment for us. He was again the one making the game move for us and thinking the quickest. So with him going off with a dislocated shoulder really stopped us in our tracks. But we carried on and other players came on and we tried to win it in the end, and I can’t fault them for that.”