Manager gives his say on 3-2 win in AccringtonExeter City manager Paul Tisdale was understandably delighted to see his team come out on top in a five-goal thriller against Accrington Stanley at the Crown Ground.
There was entertainment in abundance on display, and City edged out their hosts that had had an exemplary home record going into the game.
All three of City’s goals came from homegrown players: Liam Sercombe opened the scoring for City with a powerful controlled finish; Tom Nichols doubled the lead after half-time with a powerful hit; and Matt Grimes scored what would prove to be a decisive third from a 30-yard free-kick
And despite having to watch a level of drama that could heighten one’s blood pressure over the course of an hour and a half, Tis was more than happy that the team got the right result.
“We were for a while the 2-2 specialists – so 3-2 is a lot better!” Paul said. “If we win every game 3-2 and we score goals and the players enjoy the football, and if the supporters enjoy the entertainment, I’ll sacrifice my anxiety for the good of the game.
“It was another cracking game. The goals were brilliant – there’s no hint that we’re not a creative team; we’ve certainly proved that we are. We’re an attacking team and we can score goals.
“Every goal had its merits today. Matt Grimes’ free-kick was of a level higher than League 2, and he has done it regularly. Tom Nichols’ strike was just a sweet-as-a-nut powerblaster.
“The first goal was the one that had all the craft really – it was an overlap from Craig Woodman and an absolutely sublime checked pass by David Noble to keep the ball in play at the dead-ball line.
“Liam arrived where he has been asked to arrive – late and at the penalty spot. He got there with a really, really classy and controlled finish.”
Accrington played a key part in the spectacle with a lot of resolve and energy, pulling goals back through John O’Sullivan and Seamus McCartan.
It meant that Exeter had to grit their teeth and put bodies on the line to shut out the equaliser which Accrington were craving.
Tis felt that having to cling on will only have positive repercussions and grow the team’s belief that they can ride oncoming storms.
158 supporters made the long, long journey up to Accrington for the Friday-night fixture and Tis also paid tribute to their support.
“We have been used to putting teams under pressure ourselves this year, so it does us no harm having to do that at the end of the game,” Tis continued.
“It is good for the feel-good factor to know that you can hang on. We did it on Saturday [against Shrewsbury], albeit for four minutes at the end of the game. We blocked shots and defended our goal, and we did it today for the final ten or 15 minutes.
“It had a bit of everything today – and we had over 150 supporters that got up here by hook or by crook. Well done them – thank you very much, and it made it that much more enjoyable being here.”
The result – which is an eighth League 2 win in a dozen games for the Grecians – takes Exeter to within goal-difference of the play-off positions ahead of the Saturday round of fixtures.
And while Paul was keen to highlight the magnitude of the task that still lies ahead, he was pleased with seeing his team on the upward curve.
He was also hopeful that another dramatic win would prompt a good turnout for City’s next game against Burton Albion on Saturday 6th December at St James Park.
“We can do no more than win each game in front of us – let’s not forget that we’ve still got 27 games to go,” he said. “We haven’t yet played 20 so we’re not yet at the half-way stage.
“In the first week of September we were playing Oxford at home in what was I was told was a six-point relegation clash – that seems a long time ago now.
“We’re not there yet and we’ve got a long way to go – if we can climb 15 places in the last two or three months, then we’ve got every chance of nudging a couple more over the next month or two.
“But it’s step by step – it’s a very tight league and there are plenty of teams trying just as hard as us who are entitled to play for three points like we do.
“It’s Burton next week – I would imagine we will get a really good following. We’ve got another team at the top of the table coming to play us with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in charge; Ryan Harley, Clinton Morrison and Alex Nichols are into the frame, so it looks rosy.”