Manager reflects on derby defeat to Pirates
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale was left feeling frustrated with a 2-1 defeat away at Bristol Rovers – and in particular because the match-winning goal was scored in the final minute of stoppage-time.
Having had a first-half lead pegged back instantly, City hadn’t been able to take any of the numerous chances they created in a good showing after the break, and consequently the teams were tied going into the dying embers of the game. But John-Joe O’Toole pulled out an acrobatic volley to steal a victory for the Pirates right at the death to break City hearts.
“We feel very disappointed about the result,” he said. “At one-all, you’ve got as much chance of winning it as losing it in a game like today. We went for the win and ended up with attacking players in midfield, but it was a cruel way to lose it to a late goal.
“It was end-to-end and I got the feeling both teams wanted to win it, which made for a good game. We had our chances, but that has been the story of our last month or two – we’ve lost games that we arguably should have drawn at least.”
City had taken a lead in the first period after Lee Brown accidentally looped the ball into his own net under the attention of David Wheeler. But Eliot Richards drew a foul in the box from Danny Butterfield within a minute, allowing O’Toole to level from the spot.
Tis is hopeful that City will, despite the result, be able to take a lesson from allowing a lead to slip within a minute.
“We have to learn our lessons, and our lessons are that we got a goal and you can be at your weakest when you’ve just scored,” he explained.
“That was a particular fragile moment for us so I’m upset with that, and that really was the turning point for us. We had some fortune with the first goal, so to concede straight from kick-off was particularly frustrating.”
The Grecians had the superiority for much of the second half and looked the likelier to take the lead, and in part because of the substitutions which saw the Grecians end the game with a very attack-minded side on the pitch.
Tis was complimentary of some of the individual endeavours, whilst acknowledging that decent performances without points to show for it is leaving a sour taste.
“I made an attacking substitution with two centre-forwards coming on to play, and ending the game with three forwards with 20 minutes to go,” Tis continued. “That was the state of my focus and my mind – I thought the tone of it was that we had every chance of winning it. I thought we had the ascendancy and that we might as well go for it.
“We’re not quite making that extra yard or getting that strike – whatever it is to make the difference. The most part of our game is okay – the players are fresh for every game and they’re fully motivated and they put themselves about – they’re not perfect but they’re certainly determined to play well. But we need a result or two.
“The players are giving everything and they’re doing better than the results we’ve had. But that counts for nothing – it’s about the results. Every now and then you’ll go through one of these runs – it’s not particularly pleasant. But there were plenty of good performances today such as Tom Nichols, Scot Bennett and Matt Grimes, and that gives us plenty of reason for optimism.”