Manager gives verdict on victory over Southend
Following a fantastic 3-2 victory away at Southend United, Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale was understandably delighted with the result and performance from his troops.
City led initially through Jimmy Keohane, only for two Mark Phillips headers to give Southend the lead. But two goals in the final ten minutes – stunners from Liam Sercombe and Eliot Richards – saw the Grecians take a battling win.
The game also saw another debutant through the City ranks, as Christy Pym was used ahead of the injured Artur Krysiak.
And ahead of three home games in eight days – against Morecambe, Rochdale and Wycombe – it gives City a much-needed boost.
“We created chance after chance and their goalkeeper kept them in it with some really good saves,” said Tis. “And Christy Pym made his debut – I’m sure they were talking about putting it in the mixer and crowding the six-yard box, which they did in the first half and got the goals from it. We played and played and played, and just kept creating chances. I’m thrilled – really thrilled.
“We deserved it – we’ve had lots of games during the past few months when we’ve hit the post or come close and you come away doubting yourself because you deserve something and you haven’t got it. Today we deserved it and we got it.
“We played really well – we kept the ball on the floor even though the pitch was awfully muddy and sticky. I’m amazed at how well the pitch played considering the weather we’ve had, so well done to the groundsmen here.
“Now we go into those next games four games unbeaten, we’ve got a fabulous new player in our team in Eliot Richards, and we’ve got players back in form as well as having Matt Oakley back in for the first time in four or five months. We also had another young player through the ranks making his debut – it’s a real fillip going into Tuesday’s game against Morecambe.”
The inclusion of Pym in the starting XI followed an injury to Artur Krysiak last weekend. After a week without training for the first-choice stopper, the decision went right to the wire before the 18-year-old was given the nod.
“We had to wait until half past one today,” Tis continued. “They went out and I deliberately left the number 1 line on the teamsheet blank, because I just had the feeling we might be speaking to Christy at the last minute, and we were.
“Sometimes when you make your debut at the age of 18, that’s the best way to do it. We got the win and Christy has come through his first Football League match, so well done him.”
Tis also praised the returning Matt Oakley, making his first appearance since October, for his contribution. Alongside teenager Matt Grimes, the midfielder controlled much of the tempo with his presence.
Paul continued: “I thought Matt Oakley and Matt Grimes controlled the first 20 minutes of the second half. They gave us a real platform – we weren’t doing all the pushing, but I knew that we would have an opportunity if we stayed in the game to add some energy at the end.
“Those two were fabulous in the centre of midfield, and it’s no surprise that Matt Oakley has played and we won again.
“He’s been sitting around for the past few weeks on the bench, and I’ve been trying to get an opportunity to play him in the reserves or something, but it got to a point where I didn’t think it was going to happen.
“At some point he was going to have to go and play. He hadn’t done much training, but that just shows you what a fabulous player he is. He can hardly train for four or five months and step into a game like today and hardly put a foot wrong.”
The winning goal, which came in the 87th minute, followed a wonderful bit of skill by Richards on the byline to get past his man, before working space to fire inside the near post.
Following a week or so spent with City’s newest addition, Tis has seen plenty of promise in the early days of Richards’ career.
“Eliot is such a talented player and we welcome him to Exeter City. I have to say, with what I’ve seen over the last couple of games, if we add one or two bits to his game then he could be one of those players who come to us and disappear onto a higher level.
“He has such good ability, and what a fantastic goal.”