Manager enjoying upturn in formFollowing a fourth straight win for the Grecians against Dagenham & Redbridge on Friday night, manager Paul Tisdale was enjoying the upturn in form with Exeter.
All four of Exeter’s wins have come by 2-1 scorelines – though all have come in slightly different manners. Similarly to the first of the run against Cambridge, Exeter had to come from behind to defeat Dagenham.
The run of results boosted Exeter back into mid-table, a far cry from their position at the foot of the table just a month ago.
“It has been a nice ride over the past three or four weeks,” Paul said. “We’ve gone from the bottom of the league when we were playing Oxford at home and everyone talking about it being a six-pointer with doom and gloom.
“We stuck to our football and got our rhythm going. Many different players have contributed – it’s not just been the same 11 – and we’ve played some good football.
“Different players are scoring and we’re doing it a slightly different way every game – we’re adapting to each game and the players are doing great.
“We have to make hay while the sun shines and enjoy it, but not get too carried away because we know what it was like four weeks ago when everyone was talking about us getting relegated.”
It could have been different for Exeter at Victoria Road – the first-half performance left a lot to be desired for the Exeter manager.
But Paul revealed that their position at the break – trailing by a goal and playing within their capabilities – made his instructions at the 15-minute break simpler than usual.
“Dagenham were on top – we were slow on the ball and didn’t play well enough,” he continued. “Every half-time is different and in eight years I’ve discussed different things in every half-time.
“But today was quite simple – it was ‘we’re not playing well enough’. Our game hadn’t changed but we were doing it too slowly and we were a bit sloppy with our play and wasted it too often.
“The players who have been responsible for our play like Matt Grimes, Matt Oakley and Danny Butterfield didn’t play well enough in the first half and I told them they had to improve it.
“We made a few nudges in midfield and whatever, but we got ourselves going.
“When you’re a goal behind it makes life simple because you know what you have to do. When you’re a goal up it’s a little less simple because there are decisions you have to make – you can go for a second or try to hold it as it is.
“A lot of the time you can make a decision that can go against you but when you’re losing it’s simple – you’ve got to go for it. It’s a simpler team-talk when you’re 1-0 down than when you’re 1-0 up.”
The winning goal came from a bulleted header by Arron Davies in the 94th minute, securing a dramatic three points.
Often an unsung hero for Exeter, Tis praised the midfielder’s qualities which aren’t always as apparent to the spectator but contribute so much for the team.
He also praised the support – 402 fans turned out and provided vocal backing for the Grecians and helped inspire a victory.l
“Arron deserved his goal – he’s a manager’s dream,” Paul explained. “He can play so many positions and he can react to the tone of the game.
“He can pass it, he can keep it, he can pick it up – he’s not everyone’s cup of tea because his talents aren’t so obvious. He’s not blood and thunder but he’s such an invaluable player for me. He played three or four players today and got his goal, so well done Arron Davies.
“And the fans were brilliant. You would hope they would be excited by our performance – it’s a team effort and one works of the other.
“We play well and they like it, and they support well and we like that. It’s a two-way thing.”