Defender gives assessment on victory over NewportGrecians defender Christian Ribeiro felt that the three points earned with a 2-0 win against Newport County AFC at the Park has put Exeter City right in with a chance of taking one of the play-off places at the season’s end.
City now have 61 points and lie just a single point behind Newport, who occupy the sought-after seventh-place position with five games remaining.
A perfect return from the Easter weekend – which stretched Exeter’s undefeated run to eight games – has put Exeter into serious contention of taking the season beyond the final weekend on May 2nd.
City’s next three games are against better-placed teams than themselves but Christian feels that the team can meet the challenge ahead.
“I think we have got some more cup finals to go,” he said after the victory. “We’ve got Shrewsbury next weekend and then Wycombe on the Tuesday, followed by Southend. So we’ve got three of the top sides again to play in the period of a week.
“It is going to be really hard physically, but we’ve got to get through it. At the minute our season is very much alive and we’re planning to take it all the way to the end, so we’ve got to make sure we’re in the best shape possible and keep doing what we’re doing.
“Hopefully we can have a really exciting end to the season.”
The win against the Exiles was certainly hard-fought and by no means a given, with the teams deadlocked until the 76th minute. Substitute David Wheeler put on the afterburners to latch onto a through-ball from Clinton Morrison to net the first, before Wheeler was felled in the box late on by Ismail Yakubu to allow Ryan Harley to seal it for the Grecians.
Ribeiro felt that the three points were well earned by an Exeter side that continued working until the end.
He also felt that a clean-sheet was a just reward for a team that defended as a unit and kept the Exiles quiet for the most part.
“On the balance of play I think we deserved it,” Christian said. “I think it was a big game due to the positions in the league and at the end of the season everyone really needs each point.
“But we did really well. To have a clean sheet is great for the whole team – everyone defended really well today. It wasn’t just the back four; the whole team put a good shift in and we had some really nice breakaway goals as well. So it was a really good day for us.
“It has been a team effort. Being part of the defence, I’ve noticed that the way we defend now is much, much better and it’s no coincidence that we’ve gone on this run because we have tightened up on a few things.
“And now the quality that we do have going forward is really paying off. If we carry on as we are, we could have a really exciting end to the season.
“Newport are a big, physical side and they’re going to put pressure on you. When it was one-nil, everyone is probably a bit wary that they are going to sucker-punch us with a long ball in and one of their big lads getting a header or getting in.
“But I just felt it wasn’t going to happen today. You could sense that in the team that it was going to be a clean sheet. And we have good players on the ball, so when we had the chance we could bring it down and quietly build our way up the pitch.
“More often than not we played some good football out there and drained them mentally a bit and you could see by the end that they were desperate to get off the pitch, which is a good sign generally.