Tis: “We had the chances”

Paul left ruing missed opportunities

Following a 2-1 defeat to AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow, Grecians boss Paul Tisdale felt that his side paid the price after squandering good chances to find the net.

The Grecians had gone ahead within minutes of kick-off as Matt Grimes’ corner was turned into the net inadvertently by Dons forward Jack Midson. However Luke Moore, twice a scorer against Exeter in the corresponding fixture last season, struck from close-range before the break.

Most notably Jimmy Keohane sent a volley over the crossbar from six yards in the first period as a chance to double a lead went begging, and then John O’Flynn smashed a good chance over from 12 yards early in the second period which could have seen the Grecians go ahead for a second time.

Whilst probably being the most noteworthy of the efforts, there were a raft of other chances that weren’t taken and ultimately City were left counting the cost as Kevin Sainte-Luce crossed low for Midson to turn in at the right end, as far as he was concerned, to net the winner for the Dons.

“I liked the intensity and the desire to win,” said Tis.  “The players showed bundles of energy, though it was at times a game of rugby today – there wasn’t much of a football match there today.

“I’m very proud of the way the players competed and put themselves about, but we conceded two goals and lost the game.  We had the chances to win it – especially at one-all, we had the chance to get that goal and we failed to do that and we conceded again from an attack of ours, which is very disappointing.

“I liked the way we played, but it’s about the result and that’s not what we needed today.

“We just have to keep pushing those players, believing in ourselves and working hard.  It’s all clichés, but we’ve got to keep at it.  I didn’t dislike us today but that’s no good really if you keep losing games.”

Two moments of controversy came and went in the first-half which arguably changed the shape of the game.  Tom Nichols appeared to be hauled down inside the box by Dons debutant Darren Jones in the first period, but the referee didn’t entertain the claims and weren’t handed the chance to make it 2-0 from 12 yards.

And on the stroke of half-time, a lunging two-footed tackle by Sammy Moore on Matt Grimes – which ended the teenager’s game and left him needing a trip to the hospital for scans – only warranted a yellow card from the official.

As well as the Wombles retaining their midfielder for the rest of the game, the blow was doubled as Grimes – who had been one of City’s standout players in the first period – had to be withdrawn and arguably that disrupted some of the fluidity that he had brought to the game.

“When the game is so lively, the weather conditions are so bad, the ball is bouncing about and the players are full-blooded and 100 per cent, it is very hard to make those decisions correctly,” continued Tis.

“But I thought we had a penalty and Tom is convinced it was a penalty, but it wasn’t given so we don’t dwell on it.

“And hopefully it is [Grimes’] game over and not his season.  He’s one of our best players at the moment, if not our best player over the past few games.

“Balls were being cleared and feet were left in and it was inevitable that it was going to happen.”