City manager delighted at derby win
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale was understandably delighted with a Devon Derby victory over local rivals Plymouth Argyle, where the performance and result went hand-in-hand.
A tight game went into the interval goalless, but after the break things opened up and City found themselves on the right end of a 3-1 scoreline thanks to some resolute defending and clinical attacking.
Arron Davies had opened the scoring with a fine strike but a fine Luke Young free-kick had levelled matters at 1-1. But a deft Alan Gow finish and a clincher from Scot Bennett sealed a brilliant victory for the Grecians, putting Exeter third in the table once the 3pm games were over.
And the City boss was beaming with pride after his group earned a great result – which was kick-started by Arron Davies’ goal.
“I’m very proud of the players, and of course I’m pleased with the win,” said Tis. “It was a really good game actually – it sounds obviously to be so pleased when you’ve won, but I am.
“I often support the merits of Arron Davies – often they are very subtle merits and people don’t always see them. But he left the left side and came into the middle, and that was a fantastic finish – and that should give him a world of confidence. He’s playing really well this year and it was symptomatic of a player on the top of his game.
“It’s hard to [single anyone out] because the team were great. The whole day has gone very well. Everyone in an Exeter shirt is the winner today.
“They could have nicked a second goal – the game went from box to box and that could happen. But we had a more robust, positive, purposeful, forward-thinking feel about us. When things are in the balance and it’s on a knife-edge, these things make the difference – as at Northampton a few weeks ago.
“At one-all we kept going for it, and perhaps there’s a sea-change within our group. “
Jimmy Keohane had impressed at the Park on Monday in the under-21 tie against Torquay United, and once again his involvement came to fruition. He fed Alan Gow the ball for the Scotsman to give City a 2-1 lead after some neat footwork before the offload.
So in particular Tis was delighted with the way the team reacted to being pegged back to a fine strike from Luke Young after the interval.
“It was a brilliant free-kick by Luke Young – you won’t see many better free-kicks than that,” continued Paul. “But I think my emotions will go into what happened in the next ten minutes after that goal, because at one-all they have just come back into it and have come back into it with the goal. We had to hang on for four or five minutes.
“The subtle change of Jimmy Keohane replacing Tommy Doherty was an attacking player coming onto the field – it would be very easy to try and hold on at that point but we made an offensive change and it gave us a chance back in the game.
“It could have gone either way, but you have to believe that if you’re positive more than you’re negative, then you’ll get what you deserve – and we got something today.”
One of the most impressive parts of the Grecians’ display was the way the goals went in. All three goals came from fine team moves. In particular Tis was pleased at being able to afford to celebrate the Scot Bennett clincher – the first time City have scored three this season – and reserved some praise for the Newquay-born man for what he has been bringing to the team.
“It’s nice to win a derby, and it’s nice to win it with three fabulous goals,” continued Tis. “It was nice to score the last one and be able to celebrate, because you’re always worrying that you’re celebrating too early. But I think we could forgive ourselves for deciding that one was the winner.
“The goal that pleased me the most was Scot Bennett’s, because of the calmness to stop in the box. There aren’t many strikers who don’t take the shot and just stop the ball dead and do what he did – it was just such a composed finish. And Arron Davies’ and Alan Gow’s goals were sublime.
“Scot is fit and strong and has a real talent for moving at the right time. Being quick and moving at the wrong time is no good – Scot moves at the right time. I’m so pleased for him because he put such a shift in.
“That’s the type of versatility we’ve got in our squad. With Sam Parkin and John O’Flynn being out today – who are two out-and-out strikers – to have someone like Scot who can do that for us is proving to be a real asset.”