Striker gives Burton reaction
Exeter City forward John O’Flynn was pleased to be part of an energetic and lively performance that brought a 1-1 draw against Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.
The Irishman was recalled to the starting XI to lead the line, and typified all the positives from the Grecians’ play by putting in a tireless performance. The striker’s link-up play with the supporting midfielders and his ball retention were particularly noteworthy.
And for O’Flynn, of whom manager Paul Tisdale named as being a strong candidate for man of the match, it was a thoroughly enjoyable game to be a part of.
The striker hasn’t always been named amongst the first XI – in part due to some strong performances in recent weeks by the emergent Tom Nichols – so it came as a pleasant surprise to be handed a starting berth.
“I really enjoyed it,” said O’Flynn. “I didn’t know the team until just before the game, so it was a bit of a shock. But it was good to be out there and running around with the boys, and to be involved in a draw to earn a point.
“I think we caught Burton by surprise – I don’t think they were expecting us to play that way. That’s two really hard-fought draws now for us.
“Because of our workrate, we were able to pick up the scraps – and that’s what happened for our goal. It’s disappointing not to win the game after leading, but it is another good point and we’ll take that into next Saturday.”
The forward’s intuitive interplay with Liam Sercombe and Jimmy Keohane in particular put the home side on the defensive from the off, and indeed it was from build-up down the right between Sercombe and O’Flynn that allowed the latter to pull the trigger – Dean Lyness saved but Ian Sharps turned into his own net.
He revealed that the sprightliness of the Grecians made it particularly gratifying to be a part of, and also that he was relishing the chance to link up with countryman Keohane, who himself has been handed more starts in recent weeks.
“Tis just gave basic instructions to go out and look after the ball, to be strong and to work our socks off,” he continued. “I think Jimmy and I did that – it’s nice to have Jimmy around me with a bit of energy helping as well. I think the whole team had great energy today – it’s enjoyable to play in an energetic and youthful team.
“We’re reaping the benefits of working hard on the training ground. We’ve got our heads down in the last few weeks, and I think the energy we’re showing is great. The fans must have appreciated that today – we’re trying to get as many points for them as we are for us.”
Two key decisions seemed to go against the City man in the first period – firstly a neat header from a Sercombe cross was ruled out by an offside flag, before Shane Cansdell-Sherriff’s roughhousing in the box on the City man went unpunished just before the half-time whistle.
“I thought I was onside for my header, but the linesman said I was a fraction off,” continued O’Flynn. “And I thought I could have had a penalty just before half-time – anywhere else on the pitch, that’s a free-kick.
“The ball bounced and I got my body in, and the defender came over the top of me with his elbow into the back of my neck. It wasn’t given which is unfortunate.”
And following another encouraging display from City, in which they might have wrapped up a victory, O’Flynn is already looking forward with an appetite to the game against Portsmouth at St James Park next weekend.
“It was another tough game – we’ll be trying to get over the bangs and bruises this week and then onto the next. We’ll be looking for the same kind of energy and performance again.
“We’re looking forward to the next game now and we’re full of confidence. Even though we’re not getting the win, we’re playing well and we’re a hungry team.”