Manager gives verdict on draw with BuryExeter City manager Paul Tisdale was complimentary of his team’s work-ethic and togetherness following a battling draw away at Bury.
Daniel Nardiello cancelled out Arron Davies’ opener on the stroke of half-time, and the Grecians had to withstand heavy pressure at times throughout the match to prevent the Shakers from completing a turnaround.
The introduction of David Wheeler, Ryan Harley and Graham Cummins in the later stages saw the Grecians have some opportunities to get their second, but a frantic finale saw no further goals.
And Tis – who was also full of praise for the impressive style of the hosts – was left pleased with a solid team effort and a good point in the context of the season.
“We set up to defend our half and to try and to try and catch Bury on the counter-attack, and largely that’s what we did,” Paul said. “We expected to absorb lots of pressure.
“We couldn’t afford to lose the game today because of the state of the league and where we are just outside the play-offs. Both teams needed to win it, so I think we’ve both come off a little bit frustrated but also relieved we haven’t lost.
“The players were set up to defend and work very hard for each other and they did that. We had the odd opportunity which we hope you are going to take.
“I think with about 25 minutes to go they made their changes and we made ours, and I think for the first time the game was poised where we had as much footing in the game as they had. For the first hour they had the flow of the game – they are a very good side.
“For the last 25 minutes it was our game against theirs and two or three times we went over the top and in on goal, and we defended the last five minutes extremely well. The further we get from today’s game, the more pleased we’ll be with a point.
“The focus today was to play as a team and be hard to beat and to take our chances if we had them. We pretty much did that, so well done to the players.
“They all did their shift – they made mistakes, but they didn’t half put themselves about and they’re together.”
New arrival Jamie McAllister made a Grecians debut, playing for an hour in his first appearance in a screening role ahead of the defensive line.
Paul was pleased with what he saw in that time from his new recruit, as well as the unity of his team for the common cause.
“Jamie had a specific job to do – to defend in front of the defence,” Tis said of McAllister. “It’s not his natural position and it was his first game on a tough pitch. He hadn’t played much football for a long time, so that’s a big ask for someone in his mid-thirties to do that.
“He did it for the team, and so did so many others. It was a big shift today – a lot of the energy was about staying together as a team rather than being about hurting the opposition.
“So well done to the players – I’m really proud of the way they put themselves about today and well done to Jamie for making his first start for us.”
With the clock ticking down towards stoppage time and the game tied at a goal apiece, David Wheeler was released down the left and put on the afterburners to get in on goal.
Cutting across his man, it seemed that he was clean through to attack Nick Pope’s goal – only to be impeded by a defender attempting to recover as he shaped to shoot. And much to his bemusement, the City man picked himself up and saw no decision given by the officials.
City, whose disciplinary record was the best in the professional game in England last season, were denied what appeared to be a clear decision which could have swung the game back their way.
Tis pulled no punches in his assessment of the decision and the seeming lack of justice for his team.
“We ask our players to stay on their feet, and it’s a travesty when a player stays on his feet when he’s being clipped as he’s shooting and the penalty isn’t given,” he said.
“I believe the referee played on from ten yards earlier – I don’t see what the advantage was to play on.
“It incenses me when a play stays on his feet, is about to shoot and is clipped from behind and can’t hit the trigger. Do we have to send players hurtling to the floor to have a foul? Do we have to tell our players to dive and roll around in order to get a decision?
“It’s a sending off if it’s outside the box, and it’s a penalty if it’s inside the box. To get neither with five minutes to go is a travesty.”