Assistant manager, Matt Oakley, was pleased with Exeter City’s display as they ran out 3-1 winners against Heybridge Swifts to progress to the second round of the FA Cup.
Two goals from Jayden Stockley and a late finish from Liam McAlinden sealed the win for the Grecians against a Heybridge side who showed real battling qualities at St James Park.
With City in a commanding position with a two-goal lead, the non-league side rallied to pull a goal back through Samuel Bantick, but for McAlinden to take the game away from the visitors allowing for less of a nervy ending in front of the City fans.
Following the match, Matt said: “It’s a banana skin ready to happen for us, when you see the draw come out, but I’m very pleased with the result and the second half performance.
“We had a very difficult time at Warrington (in the 2014/15 season) after conceding after a few minutes and we couldn’t break them down after that. That’s something we talked about before the game so I’m very pleased.
“They put us under pressure and probably came out of the first half with a little bit more confidence than we did.
"We started the game very well. I’m pleased with the start but we slowly lost our confidence with the ball and a few misplaced touches meant they grew in confidence and they came into it.”
With the away side leaving City goalkeeper, Christy Pym, with little to do in the first period, the Grecians struggled to force chances of their own as the half wore on.
Matt continued: “They didn’t test our goal too much, I wasn’t too worried about it but I felt we needed to tighten up in certain areas with our attacking play in wide areas.”
City’s first goal came from a set-piece and Matt said he was pleased to see that hard work on the training ground paid off during the match.
He said: “It was a fantastic ball by Lloyd, we worked on our set pieces yesterday just as a reminder and the runs were fantastic, Pierce getting across the front post, Jayden in behind and Troy and Jordan coming in round the back. Sometimes you need a set piece to change the game and that was what it was.”
Despite City’s advantage, the away side battled back as they got themselves on the scoresheet late in the match, and Matt praised the visitors for their approach.
He continued: “They scored a good goal from a good cross, a really good attacking goal from them and at that point it gave them a lift and we had to settle down for five minutes.”
But with City’s advantage halved, Matt decided to make changes to the City XI as they went in search of a third goal.
“Lee Holmes came on and started to carry the ball to take us into the final third,” he said.
“That was the start of it as we added Kyle Edwards and Liam McAlinden. When you make substitutions and they make an impact it’s a great thing for me and it was great for the team, to add that in the last period because it could have been a difficult 15 minutes with them coming back into it.”
The Grecians will be ball number 40 in the hat for the second-round draw on Monday evening.