Defender gives his account of score draw at the ParkGrecians defender Danny Butterfield was pleased that City were able to put on an impressive display for a bumper home crowd at St James Park against league leaders Luton Town – the only disappointment being that they had to settle for a draw.
The game threatened to be one of those long afternoons when Scott Griffiths gave Luton – who had won their previous seven League 2 games – a lead in the third minute. But Exeter controlled much of the game since then and reduced their visitors to sparing counter-attacks, and eventually got a well-merited equaliser with 20 minutes remaining through Tom Nichols.
Precisely 5,400 supporters were in the stadium including 1,043 from Luton, meaning that City were putting on a show for the largest home attendance at the Park to date in 2014/15. The crowd evidently enjoyed the display, and responded to the 'olé football' in the latter stages as Exeter showed great ability with the ball.
Danny was pleased with the way the team played in front of a large and vociferous crowd, but felt that the City fans would probably feel, as the players do, that the three points were achievable.
“We’ve got to look at it as a good point, but we’re certainly disappointed in the dressing room,” explained Butterfield. “The feeling is that the way we played today, we certainly deserved the three points. On another day, with the balls we’ve put in the box we could have had five or six.
“We’re frustrated at their goal, because we’ve been quite good with set pieces of late. That’s a frustration after keeping a clean sheet at Morecambe, so that’s something to work on at the training ground.
“But taking that out the game, I think we were by far the better team and certainly attractive for the fans to watch.
“It was maybe a relief that we did get an equaliser, but we certainly felt from then on that we were going to go on and get the winner. Obviously it never came, but we’ll remain positive as we’ve put on a performance like that against the league leaders in front of our own fans. They deserved that performance as well.
“I imagine that of the two sets of fans, Luton’s will have been pretty relieved to have got a point in the end. Ours will be going away disappointed that we didn’t take the three, as we are as players.
“We’re pleased that we put on a performance like that. We’ve got to keep the standards the same, and we’ll certainly be aiming to do that next Friday [against Warrington].”
Exeter’s reply on the 71-minute mark came from the penalty spot, as Nichols coolly converted in front of the travelling fans.
It was a lung-busting foray into the box from full-back Christian Ribeiro that saw Griffiths over-commit in the tackle and dangle a leg, and subsequently concede a penalty.
Butterfield was pleased for his defensive partner Ribeiro, a summer arrival that has quickly become a favourite at the Park, as well as Nichols for getting two goals in as many games with a calmly taken spot-kick.
“I think Ribs did really well again today,” Danny continued. “I’m sure he doesn’t like playing next to me at times when I’m calling him back and then telling him to get forward as well! He’s been a good asset for us.
“I’m pleased that Tom Nichols came on and scored the penalty as well. He’s had to be patient, but that’s two games that he’s come on and got a goal.
“We trust Tom – we know what he’s capable of from the spot. He often takes them in training and we had a lot of confidence in him putting it in the net, and we’re all pleased for him. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t get the second.”