Midfielder gives reaction to Stags defeat
Speaking after the 1-0 defeat to Mansfield Town, midfielder Matt Grimes said that Exeter City were determined to learn from the occasion and build on the positives ahead of next weekend’s game at West Country rivals Bristol Rovers.
There had been little to choose between the sides in the first period, but the Stags took the lead through Lee Stevenson just before half-time. Then the second half then saw Paul Tisdale’s side launch wave after wave of attack, with Mansfield camped in their own box for the majority of the play.
City huffed and puffed and threw pretty much everything at the visitors but they just could not get that crucial equalising goal, with three attempts hitting the post and Mansfield’s Alan Marriott pulling off stops from Liam Sercombe and Tom Nichols.
Grimes admitted that the team had been left very disappointed by the result. “I thought the lads gave it a really good effort and obviously we are all disappointed not to get the three points, especially at home against a team that are struggling a bit in the league,” he explained.
“But we can take a lot of positives from the game and we just have to move on to next week.
“We all felt a little bit hard done by because we had a lot of chances, especially in the second half, but we always look at the positives and the negatives, things we could have done better maybe to get the equaliser and then maybe the winner.
“The main thing we can take out of this is that we just have to look forward.”
The midfielder also conceded that the team couldn’t entirely blame bad luck for the defeat as they should have done better to stop Mansfield forward Stevenson from putting Paul Cox’s side into a 45th minute lead.
He continued: “It’s very frustrating to play in a game like that – I didn’t think we should have gone 1-0 down. We had a lot of the ball in the first half and I thought we controlled the game well.
“Maybe a few lapses in concentration lead to their goal but after that I thought we controlled well and were always looked to get forward.
“I don’t think anyone really had a bad game, I thought the team played well together.”
Although defeat was hard to swallow, there were two real positives for the 18-year-old. With Matt Gill sidelined, he made his tenth league start for the Grecians since coming through the youth ranks and signing a professional contract last year.
And another encouraging factor for Grimes was how much the crowd got behind the team.
It has been a difficult time at St James Park, with five defeats and just one point since the derby victory against Plymouth Argyle, but the City faithful were in great voice throughout.
“I’m delighted to have another start,” said Grimes. “I just hope I can keep playing well, impressing the manager and get a few more starts under my belt for the first team.
“I was also really pleased with how the crowd got behind us today. The fans were excellent when we were trying to get back in the game. That’s what we need, an extra boost to try and not only please ourselves but to please the fans too.”
Looking ahead to next Saturday’s game at the Memorial Stadium against Rovers, Grimes added that getting the first goal could be a key factor.
“I think that whenever we get the first goal we get a boost like against Torquay and Plymouth,” he continued. “The first goal in this league is so important. We just need to put this behind us, stick together, get amongst it and move on.”