Tis: “I can’t grumble with the way we played”

Manager reflects on defeat at Stevenage

Despite falling to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Stevenage at Broadhall Way, Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale had no complaints with the performance of his players against the Boro.

Exeter created numerous opportunities throughout the game, and when Boro goalkeeper Chris Day wasn’t keeping the ball out of the net, it was blocks, the woodwork, and some heavy-handed defending that prevented the Grecians from scoring.

Twice City had strong penalty shouts waved away as the home defence made risky challenges on Alex Nicholls and David Wheeler, and the game’s only goal came within ten minutes of the final whistle as Stevenage sub Charlie Lee swept in left-footed inside the area.

Consequently the Exeter boss had little cause to criticise his troops as the result just fell on the wrong side, marking a first defeat for the Grecians in ten Sky Bet League 2 fixtures.

“We played really well,” Paul said.  “I can’t grumble with the way we played.  We turned an opponent that wanted to stop us playing and make the game stop-start; we turned a pitch that was very difficult to play on; we turned all sorts of things our way, and made good out of it.

“We played some really good football and created good chances, especially in the first half.  But at nil-nil, you run the risk of something happening, and it did.  The ball was squirmed in, there was a bit of pressure, and somehow it went in the back of the net.

“I have very little criticism of the side at all.  Under the conditions I thought we did really well.

“That nine-game unbeaten run was ended today, but we’ve played very steadily and effective football.  We have been efficient and highly motivated, and there’s no reason why we can’t do that going forward.

“That doesn’t mean we’ll go another nine games unbeaten, but it’s symptomatic of a side that’s going to pick up points.

“We need to go into the next game not hurt any more than just a point.  If it costs us a point then so be it, but let’s hope it doesn’t cost us any confidence or belief.”

Right-back Christian Ribeiro was unable to continue after picking up a knee injury shortly after half-time, and Paul was hopeful that it wouldn’t be anything that keeps him out of forthcoming games.

With a game against Cheltenham Town at St James Park next Friday, followed two days later at AFC Wimbledon, Tis is looking straight on to the Boxing Day game.

“It’s on to the next – if we had won today, I’d have been saying ‘on to the next’ too,” Paul explained.

“I’ve got nothing to remonstrate or pick with the players – they all played pretty well.  Let’s hope that Christian [Ribeiro] is going to be fit, and we go into two tough fixtures over the Christmas weekend.”