Manager reflects on points shared with the ShrimpsExeter City manager Paul Tisdale wasn’t too disheartened with taking just a single point from a home fixture against Morecambe.
A 1-1 draw meant that Exeter sealed an unbeaten month of March, and stretching an undefeated run to a sixth game. Other results however mean that City are now five points shy of a play-off place with seven games remaining.
The Grecians could have been empty-handed as the visitors led for over an hour, as teenager Aaron McGowan’s first goal in professional football put the Shrimps ahead on the counter-attack. However sub Alex Nicholls fired in what proved to be the point-earning goal with ten minutes remaining.
“It’s a valuable point and I’m really pleased with the way we played,” said Paul as he reflected on the game.
“You could see how strong the breeze was today – we controlled the game pretty well in the first half considering we were against that strong breeze. We didn’t trouble their goal too many times but we had really good control of the game.
“But they played really well and it was a good football match. They were well drilled into what they wanted to do and they passed the ball nicely.
“They broke away and scored a really good goal – it wasn’t a fluke or particularly bad defending; they just beat two or three of our players and ended up with a nice finish.
“I will think at one-nil down at half-time we had a really good chance of winning the game. In the past we have been too disappointed in conceding a goal in the first half and we’ve gone on to concede two and given ourselves too far to come back from – that’s a criticism I’ve had too often.
“Today we got in at half-time at one-nil down and I thought we had a chance of winning the game.”
Nicholls – who had been introduced from the bench early in the second half after Christian Ribeiro went down with an injured groin – put in a lively shift as well as scoring City’s goal.
Lee Holmes and Tom McCready made their first starts in City colours and Graham Cummins and David Wheeler also bolstered the attack in the second period with a double substitution, and the manager was happy with his options in attack.
“It was nice to have that strong bench,” continued Paul. “The squad has been building during the season and getting stronger, and I had options today.
“It was really nice to put Alex Nicholls on in that attacking wide-right area and Graham [Cummins] and David [Wheeler] down the middle.
“Unfortunately I timed it pretty badly – Lee Holmes got cramp about a minute after the last substitution so he played the last 15 minutes with cramp in both calves. But as far as debuts go, it was a pretty good performance from him as well.”
One attacking option will be unavailable for the next three games, however. The afternoon ended a few minutes early for Tom Nichols, however, as he became the first player in almost a year to have been shown a red card for Exeter.
Tisdale missed the incident, in which the striker hit out at an opposition player after the ball had gone.
“All I saw was the referee lift the red card,” he continued. “Apparently he has flicked out at the player.
“His game was a little untidy at times today and maybe that frustration built off the back of his game not being as tight as it could be.
“I didn’t see what he did but I’ve been told that he flicked out at the player, and it’s a pretty soft way to earn yourself a three-match ban.”