Defender looks back at win against the CumbriansExeter City extended their run of games without defeat to nine in Sky Bet League 2 with a 2-0 win against Carlisle United at St James Park, and defender Christian Ribeiro was pleased to see such a strong level of performance throughout the team.
The Grecians weren’t at their most fluid in the first half, shooting towards the low sun above the away end, but after the break they continued to control the game and went ahead before the hour-mark through Scot Bennett.
Matt Grimes wrapped up the points with two minutes to spare with a tidy effort into the bottom corner, as Exeter moved up to seventh in the league.
Ribeiro was pleased to see the team looking so solid at both ends of the field and growing stronger as the game developed.
“The first half was ruined a bit by the sun – I don’t know if the crowd could realise that the way we were playing, especially down the right-hand side, it was very difficult to pick out the runs that we had in the second half,” he explained.
“It’s just one of those things really. In the second half we showed our quality and it just got better and better. So many of the guys had really strong performances – it was a really good afternoon for us.
“It was really important that we didn’t concede first – we defended well and had a couple of big moments when they had a big man up front a little man running in behind, so we had to keep marking that the whole time and make sure we didn’t make any mistakes.
“As the game went on we got more and more comfortable on the ball and in the end the second half was a really good passing display.”
City could have taken the lead earlier – a fine inswinging corner from the right by Grimes found the leap of Ribeiro at the far post, only to be denied on the line by a sinew-stretching neck of Danny Grainger.
And while the Grecians right-back was disappointed that he couldn’t make it two from two for himself by finding the net, he was pleased to see the team once again threatening the opposition goal.
Christian continued: “I couldn’t believe it – Grimesy has put in three or four corners again today that were just right on the money. Two of them I got my head to – and that one was sailing right into the top corner.
“As I was landing from my jump, I was thinking ‘brilliant – that’s two in two for me’ – and out of nowhere their guy comes and clears!
“It would have been really good to go in at half-time one-nil up – but it’s nice to know that we’re getting a few more chances, whether it’s me or the other lads.”
The win also marked a first clean-sheet at St James Park of the season, as the Cumbrians’ attack failed to breach James Hamon’s goal.
Ribeiro felt that the small details were making a difference in the results recently and the shut-out owed a lot to collective and individual efforts.
“It was a really big team effort,” he continued. “Everyone was putting their bodies on the line and there were a couple of key moments – Butts made a really important header, and little moments like that win you the points in the end.
“Everyone has been doing their jobs really well. Everyone was talking and organising, and sometimes there are moments when the opposition do something with a bit of quality and put a good ball in, and it’s just that instinct to be in the right place at the right time. We were exactly that today and it’s really pleasing.”
With City proving more and more that they are a hard-to-beat team, Ribeiro was pleased to keep that momentum ticking over.
He was already particularly pleased to get another strong performance and result in front of the home crowd.
“Last week we got the draw at the end and we were a little bit frustrated at how we played, so it was nice to get back to our normal level and get back on that road of winning three points,” Ribeiro continued.
“If we want to be in that top six or seven – or even in the top three – we’re going to have to win more than we draw or lose.
“It’s nice to get that win at home. We want to make it a fortress for ourselves. We have tended to struggle a bit against the lower teams but today it was a really strong performance.
“It was nice to get that win under our belts and we’re looking to the next one now; that’s all we be doing all season.”