Striker reflects on Rodney Parade drawGoalscorer Graham Cummins was left with mixed emotions after leaving Rodney Parade with a 2-2 draw against Newport County AFC.
On the one hand, a point wasn’t a bad return from South Wales – the Exiles had won four and drawn three of their eight home games of the campaign to date and hadn’t been beaten on home soil since the opening weekend.
However all three points had seemed the likelier outcome when Cummins’ fine strike opened a two-goal margin. His bending effort doubled City’s tally after Tom Nichols won and scored a penalty, but goals in quick succession by Yan Klukowski and Max Porter had the hosts level within six minutes of the restart.
Exeter dug in and killed Newport’s resurgence, and went close to getting their noses back in front – indeed Matt Grimes hit the post with a free-kick and Christian Ribeiro had what looked a certain penalty waved away.
“Before the game we would probably have taken a draw, because a draw away from home is always good in this league,” Graham explained. “Especially at Newport, because not many teams come here and get a draw.
“But when you’re two-nil up it feels like a loss when you come off – it was a crazy couple of minutes after the break. We had done very well in the first half and I felt we should have had another penalty towards the end, but that’s the way things go.
“We knew that after half-time they were going to come out very strong – you have to try and weather the storm for the first 15 or 20 minutes of the second half, and unfortunately we couldn’t do that and prevent from conceding the two goals.
“To throw away a two-goal lead does feel like a loss, but overall it is a good point when you look at it.”
It was the first time that Graham Cummins and Tom Nichols had partnered each other in attack from the kick-off, and each of the forward pair got their name on the scoresheet.
Nichols, receiving from Liam Sercombe, burst into the area and drew a clumsy challenge to earn a penalty – and netted the opener emphatically from 12 yards.
And five minutes before the break Cummins cut in off the left flank and bent a perfectly-flighted effort into the top corner on the far side, leaving Exiles stopper Joe Day stranded.
Graham was pleased with the way he and his strike-partner worked together, as well as being pleased to see the 21-year-old hitting a vein of form for the Grecians.
“Tom is the nominated penalty-taker here, and especially after he scored against Luton, you can’t really take him off them! He scored again today and he’s got a good record.
“He’s got confidence at the moment too because that’s three league goals in three league games for him, so he’s on a good run.
“I thought we played well together – it’s a new partnership and it takes time to gel, but we got a goal each which is a decent return.
“And I haven’t scored for a while – Ollie Watkins often comes up to me after games and says, ‘You always go on the outside of your man – try and come inside,’ – luckily it went in the spot where I was trying to hit it.
“When you’re a striker, goals give you confidence – so I’ll take that confidence into next week against Shrewsbury.”