Tis: 'We are proud of the players'

City manager pleased with effort of youngsters as club tries to cope with injury crisis

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale says he is proud of the players for how they are sticking together as a squad despite the club going through a severe injury crisis.

The Grecians were without seven first team players for Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at home to Portsmouth, which meant youngsters Jordan Tillson, Pierce Sweeney, Connor Riley-Lowe, Ollie Watkins and 15-year-old Ethan Ampadu all started the match.

Tillson was then injured 20 minutes into the game at St James Park, forcing Tis to change of tactics without a replacement for him on the bench.

However, the players stood up to the challenge for 85 minutes of the match before a controversial penalty decision cost them.

“I don’t often say it, but I thought we were unlucky, to put that much effort in and get that far, to lose a penalty to such a weak decision,” said Tis.

 “We spent of lot of time working on something and then Jordan Tillson gets injured early and we had to change it.

“It is a tough ask when you are starting against the likes of Portsmouth with, possibly, your entire frontline and your entire backline out injured, but I was really impressed with the way the players stuck to it and the effort they put in. We are not having the best of time with our availability at the moment so Jordan Tillson going off after 20 minutes was certainly not handy.

“We started with Lee (Holmes), David (Wheeler) and Robbie (Simpson) missing from the front line and Woody (Craig Woodman), Troy (Archibald-Henville), Jordan (Moore-Taylor) and Tom (McCready) all missing from the backline.
“So, it is a big ask on those players (that have come in) and I thought they stuck to it really well. They worked really hard at it and I’m proud of them.”

City had to defend for large parts of the first half as Portsmouth had created more opportunities, but as the game wore City started to threaten and thought they had a good shout for a penalty turned down when Joel Grant was tripped from behind as he tried to get on the end of a cross from Jake Taylor.

“I certainly didn’t want to be defending the whole game, but the opposition had a lot to do with that and they pinned us in but we stuck to our task,” said Tis.

“I thought second half we had our opportunities and before they scored we had two or three where we were very close to getting on the end of things. We could have easily have got something, but they are a very, very strong side and to get that far into a game and to lose a penalty to such a decision when we think we had value for a decision at the other end it is particularly disappointing.

“However, we are very proud of the players and how the squad, albeit with limited availability, is sticking together and how hard they are working.”