City manager reflects on draw with Pompey
Following a 1-1 draw against Portsmouth at St James Park, Grecians gaffer Paul Tisdale gave his verdict on a game that saw the Grecians rescue a well-merited point with just moments remaining.
The visitors went ahead from a set-piece routine in the ninth minute which was rounded off neatly by Jake Jervis, but with barely 30 seconds remaining before the referee blew for full-time, Liam Sercombe struck an equaliser and gave the Grecians a valuable point.
The City manager was pleased with the all-round performance of his players throughout the match, and to have taken a result from the game when it looked unlikely to come.
“It was brilliant game where the atmosphere was fantastic, under really difficult conditions,” said Tis. “I’m really proud of the way my team played and delighted that we got that deserved goal at the end.
“Against the wind in that first half, we were terrific. We had three or four opportunities in that six-yard box where we didn’t quite get that touch on it or get to the rebound, and that seemed to go on to the second half.
“I always have some kind of prepared plan if we go a goal down, but it certainly didn’t include Scot Bennett and Pat Baldwin coming off injured at half-time at one-nil down – that certainly wasn’t part of the plan. We dealt with it pretty well and just kept going.
“No matter what I think of the way we play and the energy from a determined young team, we have to get a result and put the ball in the net. I think we thoroughly deserved a draw, and that’s now three games unbeaten which is another building block.”
Indeed goals haven’t been free-flowing at St James Park in recent months, and Paul was especially pleased that the goal finally came from his young side – and he is hoping for that to become a more regular occurrence for the developing side.
“We had two or three crosses where we didn’t quite get on the end of it; we had a rebound off the goalkeeper where they didn’t quite get on the end of it,” continued Paul. “You get so many chances, and you’ve got to put it in the net – as much as we say ‘that was unlucky’ and ‘that was close’, it can’t be a coincidence – you have to put it in the net.
“Ultimately they are good young players and they are going to be a really good team. But they have to put it in the net, and I’m just so pleased they managed to do it and I for one was jumping around at the end.”
Sercombe’s goal, deep into stoppage time, required composure on everyone’s behalf. It was Eliot Richards, on his debut, that began the move with a quick throw-in on the left and when the ball was worked to Sercombe, it needed a decisive but cool finish.
There was a slight touch of fortune for the midfielder as his effort took the slightest of deflections as it beat Trevor Carson in the Pompey goal – who until then had kept everything at bay – but Paul commended Sercombe for reaping the reward of a sensible decision in the dying seconds.
Tis continued: “The game is about keeping your head and doing the right thing, and that needed nothing clever or nothing fancy – just a good strong side-foot that to hit the target and make them save it. He hit the target with a solid side-foot – he didn’t try and blast it, and it took a tiny deflection and whizzed past their ‘keeper. It was exactly what was needed.
“The game was littered with bad decisions – that for one was a good decision. It was 30 seconds to go, make or break, and it was a strong side-foot.
“We hit the post in the 95th minute against Mansfield, we hit the post in the 93rd minute last weekend against Burton – I think we’ve had our fair share, and I think today we deserved it. One thing that you can’t say in the last five or six games is that we haven’t pushed it to the end – we have.”