Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale was pleased with his side's display despite slipping to a narrow defeat away from home against table-toppers Luton Town.
A strong defensive display from City, who were without six recognised defenders due to injury, battled against Nathan Jones’ attacking side, but came unstuck when a Harry Cornick shot deflected off Jordan Storey and in.
The Grecians thought they had salvaged a point in the dying minutes, but for a foul on Marek Stech by Robbie Simpson as Liam McAlinden tucked the ball home.
Following the match, Tis said: “We are disappointed to have lost the game, I thought we put a lot of effort into today. On the balance of play, they deserved to win it. That aside, I’m really pleased with my team and the way they put themselves about.”
Luton, who pose a strong attacking threat and have often scored plenty of goals over the course of the season were frustrated by the Grecians as Dan Seaborne and youngster Jordan Storey did well alongside Kane Wilson and Dean Moxey in a back four.
He continued: “It was a big challenge for us. Recovering from Wednesday night’s game was difficult, we have issues in our back four, as you can see. Six members of our back four were all missing today, and to defend as well as we did with three at the back at the end. With Wilson, Storey and Moxey, it shows a lot about how the squad pulled together.”
Tis praised youngster, Storey, for his assured display as he made his league debut alongside Seaborne in the heart of the City backline.
Tis said: “A great experience for him. That’s the benefit of having a squad, development of young players and a proper reserve team. A couple of months ago, he was probably seventh choice centre back, and a couple of months later he is starting a game.
“That just goes to show the way we work. Even if he was seventh choice you still have to develop the players, and Matt Taylor and Andy Tillson have done a brilliant job with him.
“The way the reserves function, really correctly, means players like Jordan can step up and play. Well done to him, it will boost his confidence. I’m sure he will be disappointed that we lost because he is part of this team but he will go home today pleased he has had his chance and done so well.”
On the injured players, Tis remains hopeful that he will have more to choose from come next weekend’s match with Wycombe Wanderers at St James Park.
He said: “Jordan Moore-Taylor, Troy Brown, Luke Croll, Troy Archibald-Henville, Craig Woodman and Pierce Sweeney were all injured today, and Ryan Harley was also missing. The hope would be that we can get some of them back for next week’s match, which will be crucial, against Wycombe.”