Manager hails Grecian victory in Scunthorpe
Following City’s 4-0 victory away in Scunthorpe, Exeter manager Paul Tisdale was pleased with the result and the performance of his team as the Grecians went level on points with the division’s leaders Chesterfield.
He also conceded that the result didn’t reflect well on the home side, who had attacked with intent and purpose throughout the fixture.
Resolute defending was a must from Tis’s men, and a manful defensive display ensured the Grecians came away with no additional goals in the ‘conceded’ column in the Sky Bet League 2 table.
It was that defensive solidity that gave the Grecians a base to build from, which is where Tis directed the bulk of his praise.
“It’s a fantastic result,” said Tis. “It’s all about whether you score more than the opposition, and we did. That’s the most important statistic of them all.
“Scunthorpe looked a really good team, and four-nil didn’t do them justice today, but that’s football. We were on the wrong end of it last week and we were on completely the correct end of it this week.
“What gave us the platform was the defending. We were patient and covered the right areas, and tougher in the box. They were a good side and we had to be really focused, have a capacity to concentrate and to be tough defensively and we did.
“I’m sure they will be disappointed with the amount of shots they had and because they had so much of the ball, but we’re good at playing that way and it came good today.”
The scoreline belied an even game, and Paul admitted that the Grecians weren’t always on the front-foot – but that when they were able to be more creative, they caused problems to the Iron’s rearguard.
And, naturally, the City manager is keeping grounded after the victory.
“We didn’t put an amount of passes together too often,” he continued. “After the first 15 minutes, they got on top of the game and there weren’t too many times when we were able to move them about – but when we did, it all opened up for us.
“When you’re defending and you’re out of breath, and you’re struggling to hold on as we were, to quickly convert your mind to be bright, fluid and snappy is difficult. We didn’t do that enough but when we did, things opened up for us.
“But let’s not get too pleased – last week we didn’t want to get too disappointed. It’s three points.”
Liam Sercombe scored two fine goals, and Sam Parkin rounded off the scoring on the strike of the 90th minute. But Arron Davies’ goal was the pick of the bunch, as he shot from the left-hand touchline and found the back of the net, via the post.
The spectacular strike caught Sam Slocombe out and gave City a two-goal margin – and Tis had sympathy for the position that that left his opposite number in.
The City manager said: “If you shoot things can happen. I empathise with Brian [Laws] – you go in at half-time one-nil down at home, and you want to do things – but there’s nothing you can do to stop that happening. It doesn’t happen every week and the last time you want it to happen is when you’re one-nil down a few minutes into the second half.
“It was a fantastic strike – we could tell from the bench that it was going to be close from the way the ‘keeper started moving his feet. If you shoot, it could go in – and it did.
When Sercombe made it three, City had 40 minutes to try and bat away the Scunthorpe attack. At times, it looked like a training exercise as City had little intent on going in search of another, and instead concentrated on keeping out the hosts.
The Iron came in waves and Tis was pleased that the team showed themselves to be adaptable to fulfil the task and keep out the opponents.
“They made a quick few changes and changed their shape to a three at the back to push people on,” he continued. “I gave it five minutes and decided we needed to match their shape and go three-for-three in the middle and use wing-backs.
“I decided with 30 minutes left to go that we were going to defend the edge of our box, and it was then going to be a very long 30 minutes – one goal can become two, can become three.
“I just kept looking at those five-minute slots – can we get to 20, can we get to 15, can we get to 10. I was comfortable when we got to five!
“The players had to have a huge capacity today for next-things-next – next minute and next second, do the next things and be tough – and they did.
“I could hear Mel [Gwinnett] shouting at them with a minute to go to try to keep a clean-sheet. That’s the sort of thing you have to do – it’s a bit galling if you’re on the other bench, but that’s what it means to be a professional and take pride in what you do.”