Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale praised his players for holding their nerve on Saturday as they fell 2-0 behind at Cheltenham inside the opening 15 minutes.
The Grecians battled back to level the game before half-time, with goals from Jordan Moore-Taylor and Reuben Reid, before a second-half penalty from Reid and a fantastic finish from Jake Taylor put them in command.
A late goal set up a nervy finish, but it was the strength of character his side showed at 2-0 down which pleased Tis the most.
“I have to say well done to the team, the squad and the staff as we kept our nerve,” said Tis. “I actually thought we started really well. That might sound odd after we are 2-0 down so early on but you get a feeling on the bench of how focused and confident your team are and I thought they looked pretty good for the first 10 minutes.
“Cheltenham scored from an exceptional cross and you have to give credit to the opposition because they had done something in their preparation to try and work that wide right position and they capitalized.
“Perhaps in other years I would have immediately changed something but I didn’t feel we needed to. I thought we needed to just stand firm and I like the way the team got together after that second goal. I was really impressed with that.”
Tis admitted it was all about getting the next goal and praised keeper Christy Pym for a save he made with Cheltenham two goals to the good.
“I said to Andy Tillson, who was stood next to me, ‘I don’t care if it is the 24th minute, the 44th minute or the 84th minute, we have to score the next goal’,” he said. “The art of coming from 2-0 down – yes you have got to score two goals at least – is making sure you don’t concede another one. So, well done Christy for saving that. I will have to look at the overall defensive display and say that conceding three goals is too many though.”
Tis also praised the pairings of Jordan Tillson and Lloyd James in midfield and Reid and Liam McAlinden up front.
“I thought the midfield two were exceptional – Lloyd James and Jordan Tillson,” he said. “They were absolutely brilliant as a pair. And, because we had two in there – in past years we have had three – it meant we could have two strikers. It was the two strikers who stood out. Anybody watching today will have noted how well Reuben and Liam played as a partnership. That bodes well.”