Manager gives verdict on draw against Dagenham
Following Exeter City’s last-gasp draw against Dagenham & Redbridge at St James Park, manager Paul Tisdale commended his players for going right until the death in search of the equaliser.
City had been trailing 2-1 going into stoppage time – Tom Nichols had finished neatly in the first period, but a fine Luke Norris strike just after the hour got the Daggers back on terms before Medy Elito got them ahead after Brian Saah was brought down in the box.
But the Grecians weren’t going to throw in the towel, and the goal came with just seconds remaining on the clock as Eliot Richards turned in Matt Oakley’s low cross and Chris Lewington was unable to keep the shot out, sending the Big Bank into raptures.
The City manager felt that his team did well to keep plugging away until the final moment – as they have done in every game – and had benefited from a bit of foresight and a plan of action.
“We did so well to keep going,” said Paul. “We practiced yesterday how we would play if we were losing with 15 minutes to go, so we had something to fall back on and everyone knew what they were doing.
“Our players knew where they were supposed to stand and we had players around the ball – it went a bit route-one but that’s what it needed to be today, and we had players in the right place.
“We got a fortuitous equaliser with their goalkeeper making a mistake. You get perfectly crafted goals, then you get goals against the run of play, and then you get goals through pressure. Goals can come in a whole number of guises but ultimately when you apply pressure over a period of time, things can happen.
“It was a scrappy goal, but we had concerted pressure for ten minutes – and I’m glad it went in.“
On the balance of play, a draw was no less than Exeter merited and the equalising goal saved City the disappointment of defeat at the Park.
The game was played on a surface that was particularly lifeless, following a tough winter and a lot of football, and Tis was happy that the squad dug in their heels to get back on terms in the dying embers of the game.
“It was possibly our best performance for a long, long time,” Tis continued. “It was probably our best since the autumn so I’m really proud of the players today. We deserved a draw – it would have been a travesty if we had lost that game.
“I liked Dagenham and I liked the way their manager conducted himself, and I thought our supporters were really, really good. The conditions were probably at their most difficult of the season – this is always our toughest time of year when the mud starts to turn firm.
“I thought we played terrific considering. The players really gave everything and were tough today. If we had lost, I would have been feeling particularly sorry for ourselves. So I’m delighted we got the equaliser.
“We have had a good couple of days leading up to this game as a squad, in how we have pushed each other, trained and prepared for the game. It would have been a real kick in the teeth had we lost today, and we certainly deserved a draw.”