Tis: “Very encouraged by the performance”

Manager gives verdict on draw with the U’s

Grecians manager Paul Tisdale was pleased with the way his team performed in a 1-1 draw with Oxford United at St James Park, and predicted brighter times ahead if they can keep up that level of performance.

City went ahead in the opening minutes when Alex Nicholls was felled in the visitors’ box by stopper George Long, allowing Graham Cummins to open his Grecian goalscoring account from 12 yards.

However Callum O’Dowda arrived at the back stick to power in Joe Riley’s low cross with quarter of an hour played, with what turned out to be the only other goal of the game.

So while Tis and the team were disappointed not to get the three points that their display merited, Paul was upbeat on the basis of the showing.

“I’m very encouraged by the performance,” Paul said.  “We did enough to win it today with our threat on goal.  We did really well and it was the best we’ve played this season I think.

“We had shots on target and threats from our set-pieces as well.  We looked at it and had threat – there were a couple of really good set-piece opportunities when Oxford had to scramble to clear the ball.

“I think we played really well and we played to our strengths.  We made mistakes but I’m starting to see the pattern that I need.  There were a few links today that weren’t quite right but I have identified them.

“It’s only a point today – we did enough to win it and I’m sure they’re delighted with their point.  We feel a little bit frustrated that we didn’t get a win but we did a lot today and put pressure on their goal.

“Some of it is still trial and error and I’m still waiting to see what I need during the games, and the frustration is that I haven’t been able to see that until now.  But I’ll be making some assessments and adjustments off the back of it, but we’re looking at a decent side.

“The players have wanted to do well every week and they wanted to do well this week, but we’re just in a situation where we’ve got a bigger squad to work with and we’re able to make adjustments from the bench and we have some competition for places.”

David Noble, who was signed on loan from Oldham Athletic the day before, came off the bench in the second half and slotted straight back into the Exeter midfield in the same way that he did in his first spell with the club.

Paul was pleased to welcome his former midfielder back into the mix and is looking forward to having his presence available going forward.

“He’s a very, very competent player to come and add to our squad,” continued Paul.  “He fits what we do and we know him very well – there’s no risk involved.  He’s going to fit in very well and I’m very pleased that he is here.

“Any good team has a depth to the squad and we have to have players that play to the ilk that we are promoting here, which is fluent football.

“David will add to that and help us and be another option for us.  He’s an experienced player that knows us, knows the players and knows the area.  There’s no bedding-in period – I can’t wait five or six weeks – he’s in and he knows what he’s doing.

“He’s a real football – like any player he’ll have his weaknesses, but he has a lot of strengths and he fits what we do.  You could see that in an instant today.”