City boss laments implementation of gameplan
Wycombe Wanderers were Exeter City’s first-round assassins in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with a 2-0 win at St James Park – and manager Paul Tisdale was disappointed with his side’s execution of the task they faced.
In contrast to Exeter’s passing-based type of play, the Chairboys approached the game with a high-tempo pressing style, which ultimately saw them profit in the midfield battle and carve out opportunities to score - none more so evident than winning the ball in the City half on the half-hour mark and converting the opportunity into a goal. But the City boss also gave acknowledgement to the visitors for the way they stuck to their guns to navigate their way to the next round.
“We tried to play football tonight,” said Tis. “The opposition’s game was about lining us up, tackling hard, counter-attacking, and not letting us play – basically working very hard off the ball. I think they did it to the maximum and I think they did extremely well in what they set out to do, and you have to give them credit for that.
“What we set out to do was pass the ball and make movement to give our attacking players in the last third. We didn’t do it well enough often enough – we did late in the game, but by then it was a big ask.
“I tried to fiddle around with it at half-time to get us an extra man in midfield which gave us more space to play. But we didn’t get enough crosses into the box, we didn’t have enough shots or bodies in the box. It just didn’t quite synchronise and didn’t quite work. You get judged on what you execute, and we didn’t execute well enough and I’m really disappointed.
“We did okay – no-one played badly and on the whole we did pretty well. But we all know and everyone will know that we didn’t have enough product and we didn’t threaten the goal enough. It’s disappointing because it’s a home game against a team we should fancy ourselves against.”
City had named a strong squad for the fixture, albeit without a few absentees that would normally have made the side.
“I don’t want the fact that one or two of our senior players didn’t play to suggest that we took the game lightly, because we didn’t,” he continued.
“John O’Flynn got injured on Saturday, Danny Coles was injured for the game, and it was a game too many for Matt Oakley who has only been back in training for two or three weeks.
“We had four or five players missing that I wouldn’t ordinarily have wanted to miss. But I’m delighted that we had seven homegrown players at the end of the game.”
Without a recognised right-sided full-back in the Grecians’ squad at present, the void was filled on this occasion by Pat Baldwin following a thoroughly promising cameo in the berth for the second half against York City on Saturday.
Despite it not being his natural game, Baldwin was positionally savvy, supported the attack, and even attempted an audacious backheel on the attack towards the opponents’ byline which didn’t go unappreciated to those watching from the Old Grandstand. Tis was pleased with the shift that the defender delivered in the position.
“We all know that we haven’t got an experienced career right-back in the squad,” Tis continued. “Pat did very well there on Saturday and I wanted to have another look at him there.
“He is centre-half, but he is very versatile and it might work for the team at the moment. I thought he was terrific there.”