Paul reflects on draw with Chesterfield
Following a 1-1 draw away at promotion-chasing Chesterfield, manager Paul Tisdale was left with mixed emotions – pride at the performance and quality on display from his side, checked with disappointment that the display didn’t result in three points for the Grecians.
It was a game that was played with style and craft from both teams – though things did on occasion threaten to bubble over, and Sam Morsy was sent off for the Spireites after putting in a wild challenge on Matt Grimes – and City carved out plenty of opportunities to extend a lead before Chesterfield’s equaliser from the spot late in the second half.
“It was a fantastic performance and a well-deserved point,” said Tis. “I feel very disappointed that we didn’t get three because on the run of the game we had enough to get the three today. It might sound odd, but I’m bitterly disappointed.
“We absorbed pressure, and did it very well. We played through their team and counter-attacked, and created real clear-cut chances. We got our goal from a deflected free-kick, but if anyone thinks we were lucky today, that is doing us a disservice.
“We played our game, the players worked extremely hard and we defended our goal extremely well under their pressure. Our season was summed in that minute when Tom Nichols hit the inside of the post with his header from the corner, and within a minute they had a penalty.
“I know tomorrow morning I will wake up and be feel very proud of the team and pleased with a good point gained, but we did enough to win it.
City only made two changes to the squad that drew with Cheltenham the previous weekend, with captain Danny Coles and striker John O’Flynn called into the starting XI.
However there was a notable change in shape, as Scot Bennett – who played as a centre-forward against the Robins – started as a third centre-back at the Proact.
It served to dampen the home threat and laid the foundations for Exeter to play a counter-attacking game to great effect – and Paul was pleased with the execution of the gameplan.
“It is all down to the execution,” he continued. “We went to Bury with a certain type of understanding about how we wanted to play, and it seemed to be a bit insipid and we ended up defending and not attacking.
“Today we went with a defensive shape, but with a real thrust to our counter-attack. You get judged on the execution. If you shoot and it goes in, it’s different to if you shoot and you miss – you’re judged on what you achieve.
“We achieved a lot of clear-cut chances and a real threat on their goal, and made their goalkeeper work. One goal doesn’t really credit the amount of creative play we had today.”
The scoring was opened through Matt Grimes, whose deflected free-kick beat Chesterfield’s Tommy Lee, before Eoin Doyle won and scored a spot-kick with less than 15 minutes remaining.
It was the maiden senior goal for the 18-year-old, and Paul was pleased for the youngster on opening his City account.
“I’m pleased he’s got a goal – there has been a strike and a score coming from him this season,” said Tis.
“He does like to take a shot, and well done to him. It shows that if you hit the target – albeit with the slightly prediction – you can score.”