Manager gives derby day reaction
A derby victory is always a huge result, in whichever way it comes.
So for Exeter City supporters, a 2-1 win over near-neighbours Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday evening was a special evening at Home Park. Reuben Reid had put the hosts ahead from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time, but Liam Sercombe’s deflected strike was followed by Eliot Richards’ winner.
Coupled with the magnitude of every point at this stage of the season, when survival is the priority, the three points took on an even greater importance than the bragging rights – arguably.
But for Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale, there was an extra factor to be pleased about. It was a victory that had all the hallmarks of Exeter City’s style of patient, passing football on a carpet of a pitch. It was the manner of the triumph that stuck out for the Grecians boss - City played with a confidence in themselves that belied their league position.
“I’m delighted with the team and the way we played, and of course the result, which at this stage of the season is everything,” said Tis.
“I don’t think there will be too many teams near the bottom of League 2 that will play that way under this sort of pressure and in these circumstances – that’s what I’m proud about. Our team played their football and played so well.
“To concede in the 45th minute was galling, but the players believed they could come back into it at half-time and I have to say they played some really good football. We didn’t panic and we were ably enhanced with a super pitch to play on. It was a top quality pitch which did help us.
“We finished strong and we played our game, and that’s what I’m proud about.”
The win follows closely in tow behind a victory against Fleetwood last weekend, bringing a fresh wave of optimism through the club.
In truth though, the main change in these last two matches has been the scoreline, rather than the performances – indeed the City boss feels that the Grecians have been on an upward curve this year, results excepted.
“I don’t think we’ve been that far away from winning games over the last couple of months,” Paul continued. “It’s been an odd place to be on the Cat & Fiddle training ground, because we’ve been analysing games and have seen that our performances have improved greatly over the last two or three months – all the indicators we look at have shown that we are improving.
“But the main indicator is whether you score more goals than the opposition and that hasn’t happened. In the last week we’ve done that, and a key factor is that we’ve got every player in the squad fit which gives us options.”
The fact that Exeter came from behind to win was also a huge fillip for the 826 travelling fans.
Paul said the players felt that they had a win in them, even when they were trailing.
“When you’re behind and score a goal to go one-all, the dynamic changes extremely,” said Tis.
“We said at half-time that the next goal could win it – we knew that if we scored the first goal in the second half we could win it.”