Manager gives verdict on Mansfield defeat
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale, like the St James Park crowd, was left scratching his head as to how the Grecians were undone by a 1-0 defeat against visitors Mansfield Town.
Lee Stevenson’s goal for the Stags, on the cusp of half-time, was game’s only goal. An evenly contested first half was followed by a second period where Exeter attacked in waves and simply could not, by hook or by crook, find the back of the net.
“It was a really good game of football – the game deserved more goals than the one goal that we got,” said Tis.
“I think we were on the better side of a performance – I don’t think we played poorly and I felt, as the players do, really frustrated that we didn’t manage to even get a draw.
“I suppose that’s what happens when a team hangs on; we’ve seen it once or twice in the last couple of weeks, like away at Cheltenham.”
The Grecians were a hair’s breadth from equalising on a number of occasions – and the post came to the rescue of Mansfield on no less than three times. Even with the Big Bank doing their best to suck the ball into the net, the visitors survived to take all three points back to the East Midlands.
And, as well as hitting the woodwork, Tis felt that his boys were ‘an inch away’ in a different sense of the analogy. He felt that the developing side are oh so close to being a success, but that they can’t claim to be until they begin finding a way of winning matches.
“We’re an inch away from being a really good team, but that last inch in the most difficult inch because it’s about defending at one end at a crucial moment, and it’s about putting the ball in the net,” he explained.
“It’s going to be a case of a step forward, a step back, two forward, one back – that’s how it’s going to go. I’m pleased with the players today, but I’ve made it clear to them – you can’t call yourself a good side if you’re a losing team, and if when you concede a goal you can’t score. That’s the vital part of the game.
“It’s about the details and the vital moments, and all of that put together. But we’ve got to keep going because we’ve got a promising team there.”
The home fans were certainly singing from the same hymn-sheet too. As City ramped up the pressure on the Stags’ goal in the second period, drawing plentiful saves from Alan Marriott, the supporters cranked up the decibels in kind.
Paul was delighted with the reaction of the crowd and the way they backed the young team as they went in search of what ultimately proved to be an elusive goal.
“There was energy there and was a vitality to the way we played – it wasn’t perfect, but there was a vitality to it, and that was reciprocated by our supporters,” continued the City boss.”
“It doesn’t take a lot, and it works both ways – it would have been hard not to support your team today, the way they took the game to Mansfield.”