Striker on a draw with Cambridge at the ParkGrecians striker Tom Nichols was left a little disappointed to have got one point rather than three with a 2-2 draw against Cambridge United at St James Park.
The feeling wasn’t so much because Exeter weren't able to take a late lead and complete a turnaround in the same style as the 3-2 win against Shrewsbury earlier in the season, but more because they had to recover a two-goal deficit to get anything from the game in the first place.
City had trailed to a Robbie Simpson goal at the interval, and a Craig Woodman own-goal doubled the visitors’ advantage.
However Tom Nichols’ left-footed effort began the fightback, before David Wheeler equalised with a towering header with minutes remaining.
“It’s mixed emotions really – we’re really pleased with how we played in the second half, but we know the first half was nowhere near good enough,” Tom said.
“We should be beating teams like that. We came off feeling a bit disappointed that we didn’t get all three points. If we can play like we did in the second half, we can beat anyone.
“It’s easier said than done, because when you’re two-nil down, what choice have you got? You have to go for it – and that’s a lot different when it’s nil-nil. You can’t be that open. They naturally sit deeper and deeper [with a lead].
“So it’s easier to say play like that than it is to do it – but we do need to start better than that, because that first half wasn’t good enough. We know that and we’ll be working on that to improve it.”
City’s second-half chances came when they simply overloaded and overpowered the U’s defence, and kept piling on pressure.
It meant that visiting goalkeeper Chris Dunn was kept busy and eventually was twice beaten.
“We had a lot of numbers further down the pitch than we did up front – it was a bit lonely up there at times,” explained Nichols.
“But in the second half we got the numbers up the pitch and we got the goals and looked a lot more threatening. It was a lot easier for me to have more bodies around.
“I was a bit isolated at times, but we still created chances and looked dangerous. We’re a very good attacking team. We score two and concede two – that’s the way we are at the moment.”
Nichols’ goal, his 11th of the season, would have been nothing more than academic if it wasn’t followed up with an equaliser from Wheeler.
So the Grecians forward was pleased that his goal contributed to a useful result come the final whistle.
“It’s a bit difficult to celebrate a goal when you’re still not winning the game,” he continued. “But it was nice to get the goal – I saw Clinton get the ball and he’s a very clever player, so I just ran forwards and thankfully the goalie let it go through his hands.
“It was nice to get it, and more importantly we got the second goal. If we don’t win the game and I score, then it’s not a great achievement really. But we got something out the game tonight.
“Cambridge did have a few chances in the second half, but it was mainly us. Once we got that first one, you could hear the defenders saying, ‘we’ll sit on this’ – and even when we scored again, they were still saying ‘we’ll take a point now’. “