Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale praised the balance his players struck as they put in an impressive performance to beat Chesterfield 2-1 at home on Tuesday night.
The victory, which came courtesy of a Jayden Stockley header and an own goal from Alex Whitmore, moved City two points closer to third-placed Wycombe Wanderers in the automatic promotion places.
The Grecians went into the match as strong favourites as Chesterfield currently sit bottom of the table with two wins from their last 12 matches. However, Tis knew it was never going to be as easy as some people predicted going into the match.
“I thought we made it a very positive performance,” he said. “It could have been a very, very difficult game and I think the balance we had between being confident enough to play football – and we did play some really good football – and our speed to the ball and our toughness was really good. We didn’t take anything for granted.”
City had to wait until the 37th minute to nudge themselves in front as Jayden Stockley met Jake Taylor’s cross to head home. The Grecians had had the better chances up until that point but had to be patient to unlock a Chesterfield side who also threatened at times themselves.
“It was always going to be that way and we discussed that before the game,” said Tis. “People may have thought that it was going to be all us, but it was never going to be the case and actually when you see that they are a team that has beaten some of the teams at the top of the table – Luton, Notts County and us – I don’t think we were under any illusions it was going to be an easy game.
“We had to make it so and we built our performance during the game and, other than that goal and that edgy minute or two, I think we covered the pitch really well and we had a sharp performance about us.”
City made it 2-0 when Whitmore turned Hiram Boateng’s cross into his own net, but the Grecians then conceded a goal six minutes from time to set up a nervy finish.
“I thought it was more likely that we were going to score the third but that it easy to say,” said Tis. “We would have liked to have kept a clean sheet and made it a less nervy last 10 minutes, but I thought the players played really well. They got the balance of their mindset just right. I don’t think we were over-confident, I don’t think we were nervy. We had it just right and it is business time and now we have got Saturday on our mind.”
Saturday sees City host Crawley Town, while Wycombe play league leaders Accrington Stanley. So how does Tis see the battle for the final automatic promotion spot?
“It is three games to go and we are two points closer to Wycombe,” said Tis. “It is what it is, we are in fourth place, if they win every game then we are in the play-offs or, well we haven’t even done the calculations as we are thinking of third.
“We just have to keep on the heels of Wycombe as we don’t want to take anything for granted. We are two points off Wycombe, with three games to go and we can do no more than win our three games. If they win all their three games then fair play to them, they deserve it. We just have to be ready if they don’t.”
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