Exeter City 1 Hartlepool United 2: Match reaction

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale left disappointed by second goal conceded against Hartlepool United

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale was left disappointed after his team conceded two goals in the space of a couple of minutes to lose at home to Hartlepool United.

The Grecians had controlled a large part of the match, but were hit with a sucker punch on the 73rd minute as Lewis Allesandra’s low cross ricocheted into the path of Michael Woods who volleyed home from eight yards out.

Tisdale was not pleased with how his team started the second half, but he was even less happy that, having surrender their advantage, they were not able to hold firm and stop a second Hartlepool goal hitting the back of the net.

“I thought we were very effective and strong in the first half,” he said. “I don’t think we started second half, right from the kick-off virtually, quite as resiliently as we had in the first half.

“There was possibly a little change there, but we got to 60 minutes and then 65 minutes and you think ‘I don’t want to change much’. They were getting on top a little, but we felt reasonably secure.

“Any goal is a disappointing goal, but when we conceded one I thought ‘just hold strong for five or 10 minutes and let the game settle again’. So, to lose a second in two or three minutes, that’s a worry.”

Asked if he could put it down to a lack of concentration, Tis added:

“It is impossible to say (what caused it),” he said.

“There are 22 different players out there all thinking different things. I don’t think I can put my finger on one particular thing, but we cannot allow that to happen again. We have to make sure we don’t forget it.’”

City were not helped by injuries going into the game as Lee Holmes, Troy Brown, Troy Archibald-Henville, David Wheeler, Ryan Harley and Joel Grant all missing from the starting XI.

However, Tis was not offering that as an excuse for the defeat.

“We have just got to get on with though, because we have got three or four that are going to be out for more than a week or two and the games are coming thick and fast,” he said.

“What is frustrating is we had a solid month through pre-season with hardly a change in the team and then, within two weeks, we have got four definite starters that we are missing.

“That is what we are in for; that is the setup. It gives youngsters a chance and Kyle Egan came on and made his debut today, so well done him.

“Matt Jay came onto the pitch again and Connor Riley-Lowe seemed to be my most experienced player on the bench to bring on. It was good to see those players come on and give them a run out, but as a team we needed to be resilient and robust and we didn’t have the full hand.

“There will be other teams that have to deal with a similar situation and we have to get on with it. We were 1-0 up and we had a throw-in to defend on 70 minutes and we should have done better.”

Taking the positives out of the game, heading into Tuesday night’s home match against Crawley Town, Tis was pleased for McAlinden to get his first goal for the club and thought the other summer signing - Pierce Sweeney, Lloyd James and Robbie Simpson - all performed well.

“They were all strong and robust in their play and, probably, didn’t deserve to be on a losing team,” he said. “It is good that they have settled in so well and their standards are of the level we need. We just have to endorse what we have done well and pick ourselves up and go for Tuesday.”