City manager upbeat after Portsmouth drawExeter City weren’t given too much hope from the punters from the opening-day visit of promotion-favourites Portsmouth, but the Grecians battled to a 1-1 to register a first point of the campaign.
Tom Nichols scored the first for the Grecians, but Jed Wallace’s deflected effort put Portsmouth back on terms after the interval.
Chances came at either end but for City, whose small squad was further stretched through injury and illness, it represented a good point.
Manager Paul Tisdale was pleased with the application and ability of his players – and in particular with their teamwork.
“I’m pleased – we felt particularly vulnerable going into the game with a small squad anyway, and then lots of illness and stop-start training and injury going through the squad,” said Tis.
“My biggest compliment is the way the players got together and played as a team. It was a deserved draw.
“We started really well – we were in the right areas and stood firm. There was no weakness in our team.
“We tired as the game went on and got deeper, and they utilised the space that was on offer and got into the game.
“It’s disappointing to concede a goal but when you look at the overall game I’m really pleased.”
Nichols’ goal was his first in a City shirt since March – he finished smartly after Craig Woodman’s cross fell into his path. The 20-year-old had been getting into the right positions in pre-season but things weren’t quite falling his way.
So Paul was pleased that he had opened his account for 2014/15 on the opening weekend – but he picked out the youngster’s performance as a whole for even more praise.
He continued: “It’s good for any young striker to get off the mark and get ahead with their goalscoring so I’m very pleased for Tom. It’ll do him a lot of good.
“He actually played really well today so the goal wasn’t the thing about the performance that pleased me. Of course it helped the team, but he was tough and strong and put himself about – he was a real threat.”
So low were the numbers of available players, Paul had a shirt sent to the printing press to get his number 17 on the back so that he could take a seat amongst the subs.
However Paul – who is as involved as anyone on the training pitch – wasn’t anticipating making too many more appearances on the teamsheet in the near future.
“It’s not something I want to do too often – I quite enjoyed being part of it but it’s not something I’m going to be doing every week,” he said.
“I’ve played eight minutes of football in the last 15 years – who knows, I might get on the pitch once again, but not too often I hope!”