Manager keen to get the points ticking over againFollowing a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Tranmere Rovers, manager Paul Tisdale stressed the urgency of ensuring that the Grecians’ points tally gets ticking over again in the near future.
Despite Exeter controlling much of the play in the first period, Jennison Myrie-Williams turned in a header from the narrowest of angle – but City were back on terms soon after through an Alex Nicholls free-kick.
However Rory Donnelly put the visitors back ahead after the break, and despite Max Power having a penalty saved by Christy Pym for Rovers, the visitors staved off a late rally from the Grecians and held out for the points.
City remain ninth in the Sky Bet League 2 table and within three points of the play-off zone, as Newport, Bury, Stevenage and Plymouth all fell to defeats as well. But while Paul wasn’t overly concerned about his team’s display, he was more intent on making sure that Exeter keep up the pressure and overtake some of the teams above them.
“On the whole I thought today was a really good performance,” he said. “I’m disappointed that we have lost but I’m not worried about the way we are playing.
“I’m worried about not getting points and the gap between us and the play-offs widening, of course. I’m concerned because we want to be in those play-offs.
“There are things we can do better and things we can improve on. But on the whole, with four players out that probably would have started, I thought the team played well.
“That’s life – I’m certainly not cross with the players. We’ll analyse bits and pieces and try to make improvements.
“I’m disappointed about the result but not the performance – but as I said to the players, we’re getting to the stage of the season where it’s about results more than performances.
“But I know as well as anybody that performances will bring the right results if we can make some good decisions on the pitch and put the ball in the back of the net and keep them out at the other end, and it’s as simple as that.
“I don’t want to be in a situation where we run out of games and we end up just adrift of the play-offs, so we have to get points.”
Myrie-Williams’ opening goal came before the half-hour mark –the Grecians had been largely on top in the first period but hadn’t been able to squeeze the ball into the net.
And when Donnelly scored Tranmere’s second, after Nicholls had equalised for Exeter, the visiting side were able to quieten Exeter’s attack for the remainder of the game. In the final ten minutes the hosts had a flurry of chances but couldn’t quite force the ball in.
Among those efforts were a venomous half-volley by Liam Sercombe which cannoned off the bar and a late header by Tom Nichols which saw Liam Ridehalgh placed perfectly to clear from under the bar.
And Paul was not critical of the endeavour and will of his side and felt confident that they can retain their ambitions of pushing for a play-off place.
“The first goal was really against the run of play,” he continued. “I don’t think I’ve seen us start that well at home for quite a while – we started with real intent and I thought every player was at their game.
“It would be really off of me to criticise the players for the way they went about their job today – the goal was against the run of play. It was great to get straight back into it, but to concede just after half-time again wasn’t good and knocked the stuffing out of us.
“Liam’s was a lovely shot, and we had one cleared off the line in the last minute – we had a go. I’ve not seen us capitulate or give up this year – of course we left ourselves a bit open at the back, but why not? We had a go at it.
“Last week I was very fair when I said that we probably edged the game but the opposition will think it’s a fair result because they put everything into it.
“Today, a draw would have been a fair result based on the flow of the game over 90 minutes. But it’s not, and we don’t want to be that side that comes unstuck too often.
“But I’m more than pleased with the general performance of the team. It shows me that the team has the right intent, energy and purpose. We’re still hoping that we can turn performances into results and I’m certainly not giving up on the side.”