Manager gives match reaction after win in CheltenhamExeter City manager Paul Tisdale was delighted with his team’s performance as they secured a 2-1 win at the expense of Cheltenham Town.
A 14th goal of the season for Tom Nichols opened the scoring for the Grecians, and the points looked secure when Graham Cummins grabbed his sixth of the campaign in the closing stages.
An own-goal just before the 90-minute mark gave the hosts some hope and made for a nervy finish for the Grecians, but a hearty defensive display helped the visitors to secure the points.
And Paul was pleased with the way the team executed their game-plan by playing the difficult conditions in the most appropriate manner.
“I’ll repeat what I just said to the players: take a deep breath,” Tis said. “When the dust settles and we look back on the 95 minutes of the game, you’ll say what a competent, team-orientated and decent performance that was.
“The last five minutes was surreal. It just shows you, and I say it all the time, that one can become two – so don’t let the first one can go in.
“I know it was an own-goal, but it’s hard to play against six players in your D and the ball being pumped in, and a hundred balloons in the way and the sun in your eyes on a terrible pitch against a team that is panicking.
“Overall I was very proud of them because they played very competently. After ten minutes of the game we settled and understood the game and the pitch and we played very appropriate and competent football.
“I explained to the players before the game how I wanted the game to be played. Having watched the warm-up and the pitch and getting together at ten to three, and we had another chat about it. And they did exactly what I asked them to do, again.
“Someone like Ryan Harley, who you envisage to be a certain type of player, ran and got close to the ball and did everything for the team. That was symptomatic of the way we played.”
Paul had made three changes to the starting XI when he handed his teamsheet to the referee at 2pm – but before kick-off, an injury in the warm-up to James Hamon meant that Christy Pym came in at late, late notice.
The stopper made a critical save in the dying seconds to deny Joe Hanks what would have been a dramatic equaliser, and Paul praised the teenager stopper for his all-round game, as well as that all-important stop.
“Christy had a very good performance,” he continued. “It’s tough when you’re not expecting to play and then 25 or 30 minutes before kick-off you’re told you’re in.
“He played really well and then that save at the end was fantastic. That’s as good as you’ll see, that last-second save down to his left.”
Cummins, starting his first game since January, capped a fine display by following in a spillage from Arron Davies’ shot and doubling Exeter’s advantage.
The manager also reserved praise for his striker after he made a telling contribution to the victory.
“The players gave Graham a round of applause on the bench when he walked into the dugout, and the players gave him and Christy a round of applause in the dressing room,” Paul continued.
“Graham had real energy about him today and I’m so chuffed he got his goal. He ran around and played for the team, and if you’re going to put a run together and build something, you need competition.
“He has had to sit it out for a while, but he did really well today – so well done him.”