Tis: “A hard-fought point”

Paul reflects on score-draw at Rodney Parade

Two goals within the space of a minute at Rodney Parade settled the game at 1-1 between Newport County AFC and Exeter City, and Grecians manager Paul Tisdale was pleased with the battling qualities that merited City a draw.

City led for around a minute after Harry Worley turned Tom Nichols’ cross into his own net, but it wasn’t long before Lee Minshull brought the scores back level by turning in from close range as a free-kick into the six-yard box wasn’t cleared.

On a surface that had particularly suffered over the winter period – in particular the goalmouth and right flank that City attacked on in the second period – the game required fighting qualities which City showed well.

Reflecting on the performance, Tis was pleased with his squad for a competent display which added another important point to City’s tally.

“It was a hard-fought point,” said Tis.  “It was a game where both sides were anxious at times – the pitch and the pressure weren’t conducive to football, and the referee did a very good job.

“We are disappointed that we succumbed to another goal immediately after our opener, but all things being equal, I’m pleased with how our players applied themselves.  They were very focused and they covered the pitch very well, which is what you need on a day like today.

“We finished the game strongly once again; in the last five or ten minutes we were looking to create opportunities to score.  I’m pleased today – every point is vital and there were so many good performances.

“It gives us a bit of a fillip going into next week’s game.  It’s a point – we wanted the three, but then so did Newport.”

In similar fashion to games at Burton Albion and Bristol Rovers, City went ahead through an own-goal and were pegged back soon after.

It amounts to something of a freak statistic, and Tis feels that it isn’t because the players switch off – conversely, the City manager felt that it was more to do with being overly keen as a collective.

“It’s heartbreaking [to concede to quickly] because it’s something we have discussed a number of times,” he continued.  “It is a very strange thing that has happened this year which has never happened before, and dealing with it is easier said than done.

“Quite clearly we’re not switching off – if you look that statistic, on first glance it looks as if perhaps the team loses concentration.  But it’s the opposite – we went over-anxious and over-eager and gave away a soft free-kick away by being too eager to the ball, and then we defended too deeply.  Those are signs of a team that are eager and determined to do well, but sometimes you’ve got to breathe.

“Apart from that our performance was very competent against a combative team – we had to match it.  Pound for pound we’re not their match, but we matched them in those stakes.”

Centre-half Jordan Moore-Taylor was one of the game’s outstanding performers and the Grecians boss picked him out for individual praise.

The teenage defender battled well against the experienced forward line of Chris Zebroski and Danny Crow and was clean with a few important and potentially goal-saving challenges in the box.

“Jordan Moore-Taylor was the pick of the players – he was very strong in defence for a 19-year-old,” Tis continued.  “John O’Flynn was great off the bench for the final 15 minutes and the rest of them were all very competent.

“We’ve given Jordan a few runs in the team to get him to this point.  He is a very talented player – he’s not your normal six-foot-four League 2 centre-half, but he’s a strong boy that is a very good footballer.  And now he’s matching his football with his ability to defend.

“He was particularly good in the box when they were endeavouring to get a penalty.  He didn’t dangle any long legs or overdo his challenges – he did enough that the referee could understand that he was doing a good job.  All round, it was a very sensible performance from a 19-year-old.”