Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale was pleased with his side’s ability to respond as they fought back to beat Cheltenham Town 2-1 at St James Park.
After Carl Winchester gave the away side the lead, goals from Robbie Simpson, who made his first start of the season as he continues his return to full fitness, and youngster Jordan Storey saw to it that Tisdale’s side continue their push for promotion from Sky Bet League Two.
Following the match, Tis said: “I’m really pleased, it was tough, and most games in League Two are tough. It was a close game; the pitch is energy-zapping for 95 minutes, but we got a late goal and I thought we played a really good game today.”
Despite falling behind, the Grecians had looked promising throughout the first half and Tis credited the players for their ability to respond to going behind.
He continued: “It’s about the ability to respond, we always want to do it, but it’s having the ability to do it. We responded really quickly.
“Cheltenham are a really good team, of late they have picked their performances up and we were worried about them. They look a really fluid team, so I can see why they’ve upset some teams.”
“We started the game really well, albeit they scored, but I think we had a good first half. We came out in the second half and picked up our game a bit. We were value for our second goal. We had a solid nature about us, the players understood my instructions”
Tis was also full of praise for Robbie Simpson, who netted his second goal for the club, and impressed in his link-up play with Jayden Stockley, as well as his excellent finish on the volley from Jake Taylor’s cross.
He continued: “It was great to see Robbie out there for his first start, he did so well, he was brilliant. He has been out for a long time, it’s his first start since he was injured here 13 or 14 months ago, and not only did he play well but he scored a really good goal.
“Well done, Robbie Simpson. I think the whole club is delighted for him”
Tis also thinks the City backroom staff should be credited for how they have helped Robbie during his return to full fitness after he suffered a severe leg injury last season against Blackpool.
“Ade Saunderson, the physio, has worked really well with him over a long period of time, so has Peter Riou, the doctor. Matt Taylor and Mel Gwinnett have run the under-23 team this year in the Premier League Cup which has been invaluable to us because Robbie has played in many of those games.
“He has played really well and those type of matches have given him the opportunity where he can be selected. It’s great to have him back in the starting XI.”
City’s winner came courtesy of youngster Storey, who found his second goal for the club after he netted against Port Vale away from home recently. And Tis feels, though Jordan had an excellent performance in defence, he must continue to work hard.
“His primary job is to defend.” Tis said: “It helps when a player can go up and be useful from set pieces.
“His major objective is to play well enough to be selected next week, he’s a young player and he cannot start dreaming of anything else. He has played well enough today to be considered for selection at Cambridge and when he plays there he has to do enough to play the next game. Matt Taylor is his mentor and I’m sure he will not let him off the hook”
The Grecians currently lie fourth in the Sky Bet League Two table with six games to play, leaving many feeling optimistic going into the remaining fixtures.
Tis said: “It’s great, it’s exciting, a high-quality problem. It’s better at this end of the table than the other and we are enjoying it. We have players out, but I sometimes see it as a positive that you can include other players in the squad because everyone feels part of it. We have plenty of players out today who have been regular members of the starting XI or the bench. I hope everyone is enjoying it.”