Davies: “We’ve got to stay positive”

Midfielder looks back at draw with Oxford

Exeter City midfielder Arron Davies was left disappointed to have only come out with a single point from a trip to the Kassam Stadium – but was hoping that the team can keep their chins up going into the final stretch of the season.

Davies had scored Exeter’s equaliser in the first half to cancel out Danny Hylton’s opener, and Alex Nicholls looked like he had grabbed a late winner for the Grecians – until James Roberts struck in stoppage time to earn the hosts a point.

While a draw looked like a fair result going into the final few minutes, he was left frustrated that City were unable to hold on after getting a late raid and ended up having to settle for one point rather than three.

“It’s gutting – to go two-one up with two or three minutes left to go, the lads were absolutely buzzing,” he explained.

“We just had to see the game out and clear the ball and get it anywhere except where it went.  We needed to get it out of box and into their half somehow.

“To be fair to their lad, he put it into the only place he could have put it – it hit the inside of the post and went in, so it was gutting.

“But we’ve got to stay positive – obviously we’ll be down now, but come Monday we’ve got to be at it again.”

Davies’ goal came after Exeter had had to do a lot of defending in the first period – Tom Nichols cleverly won a free-kick on half-way, which allowed Craig Woodman to rake a ball forward to Graham Cummins, whose nod-down was tucked away by the Welshman.

He had begun the game at right-back, but moved to join David Noble and Liam Sercombe in midfield after Scot Bennett was withdrawn through injury and Christian Ribeiro was introduced to replace him – and profited from being in an advanced role to get his second of the season.

“[Oxford] started well but we grew into the game and changed shape a little bit when Scotty came off, and I thought we played some good football,” he continued.

“I like playing in the middle – we had Nobes sitting, so me and Sercs could push on a little bit.

“I could see Woody making eye contact with Graham to play that ball long, and I just gambled – he took one off the back of the head for me off the defender, and it fell nicely for me and I put it in the bottom corner.”

Four points from back-to-back away fixtures appeared on paper to represent a positive return – but Davies admitted that the team had harboured hopes of gaining maximum points.

City can continue a push up the table next weekend with Tranmere Rovers the latest side to visit St James Park, so Davies and the team are already looking on to that fixture.

“We should have had six points – we’ve got to be demanding of ourselves,” he explained.  “The manager demands it and the staff do too, so we’re bitterly disappointed.  We’ve got to set our standards high and that’s what we’re doing.

“We go into a home game next week against Tranmere and we’ll be looking to get three points and get up that table.

“It feels a bit like a defeat today, but it’s not.  Can we stay unbeaten now for a run – we’ve done it before this season, can we do it again?

“We’ll go into next Saturday with the fans behind us.  It’s a good game for us to have – we’ve beaten them once this season; I know it’s going to be a difficult game but we’re looking forward to it.”