City forward gives reaction after Argyle victory
A couple of months ago, Eliot Richards would never have dreamed that he would be bagging the winner in a Devon Derby.
The main reason for that, of course, was that he was a regular in the Bristol Rovers team, as he had been ever since he had graduated from their academy in 2011.
His move to St James Park came as part of the deal that took Alan Gow the opposite direction to the Memorial Stadium in the January transfer window, as the pair swapped clubs on loan.
And while it was a rather unexpected development for the 22-year-old, it was one that has worked out perfectly. Richards’ 83rd-minute goal against the Pilgrims was his fifth for City since joining the club, and number ten of the season overall - he has been relishing the chance of a fresh start with the Grecians.
“I’ve scored five goals now since I’ve joined Exeter,” said Richards after his goal at Home Park. “I don’t think I could have asked for anything better. I’m enjoying my football and luckily I’m scoring goals too.
“We’re one of the best passing teams in the league, and that suits me down to the ground – and we showed that again tonight.
“I was playing regular football for Bristol Rovers at the time when I was loaned to Exeter – it wasn’t as if I was cast out of the squad. But that’s football – it’s happened, and I’ve come to Exeter and I’ve enjoyed every minute since I’ve been here.”
The match seesawed, and eventually fell in favour of City. Reuben Reid’s penalty on the cusp of the interval had the two managers rethinking their half-time team-talks, but Liam Sercombe’s shot found the net via Tom Nichols’ nose before Richards slammed in the winner.
The second-half performance in particular showed a real maturity and the forward was pleased to have been a part of that fight-back and to take the spoils from Home Park.
“It was a great atmosphere tonight – the fans were tremendous,” Eliot continued. “We didn’t deserve to be a goal down in the first half, but the second half we fought back for the win and were able to send our fans home happy.
“We started the game really well on a nice surface, which suited us. It was unfortunate to give away a penalty, as they didn’t look like scoring from open play.
“We always thought that if we got the next goal that we would be back in the game – but we also knew we didn’t want to concede and go two-nil down.
“In the first half the ball was going up the pitch but we weren’t able to hold it up particularly well. But after the break we were linking well and getting runners beyond Tom Nichols – it all connected in the second half.”