Exeter City manager Matt Taylor says his side have to be better and cut out conceding poor goals if they are to give themselves a chance in matches.
The Grecians were undone by James Norwood’s two finishes at Prenton Park, and in a game where City did create a few good opportunities, they were unable to find the net.
Following the match, Matt said: “Obviously, I’m disappointed with the result. At times I was pleased with the performance, but it means nothing when you give the opposition a foothold in the game with the goals we conceded.
“The sending off puts us to bed, and at 2-0 down we had no way back. Credit to the lads who stayed out there, they gave it everything and still created one or two opportunities.
“The basics and fundamentals of League Two football, and defending your lines at the right time, first contact is absolutely key and what comes off the back of that and for the first two goals we didn’t do that, and it proved costly.
“The simplicity of it is what hurts the most, the goalkeeper’s kick, then a knock down, they hit the post and not one of our players followed it in. We have got to be better, I’ve got to look at the personnel that I’m selecting because it’s happening too often, teams aren’t cutting us open, they’re not creating clear cut opportunities through good play. We’re giving them opportunities, and ultimately, we’ve given them a foothold in the game.
“At times we were on top in that first half and we should really have gone in level, if not, then possibly ahead. To do that so early on in the second half, it’s so difficult to get back into the game, you work so hard all week in terms of your route to goal and how you’re going to score goals, and ultimately the sending off, off the back of the second goal, there was no way back into the game for us.”
Matt also believed the sending off of Dean Moxey was a harsh decision as the full back was given a second yellow card for handball, despite not facing the ball.
The City boss continued: “I said to the referee coming off that Dean had his back to the ball, so he didn’t know where the ball was, and it’s hit his hand, there’s no disputing that fact, but to book him which meant a sending off.
“It’s disappointing in terms of the first booking because of dissent, we let the referee and the opposition affect us today, our reactions weren’t quite sharp in terms of our mind. Our senior players have to lead some of our young players, we’ve got some young boys out there because we are a little bit short on numbers. I need more from the group.”
The Grecians are without the likes of Troy Brown, Hiram Boateng, Christy Pym and Lee Holmes, amongst others, due to injuries, but though admitting his side are slightly short on numbers they had the ability to take something from the game against Rovers.
Matt said: “If you have six or seven first team players out injured then you’re going to look light, but in terms of that game, those players out there were good enough today. That’s why it hurts even more. If you weren’t good enough then you accept defeat, but we were certainly good enough at times today. Maybe we needed one of our early chances to go in just to settle us down a bit. I said to them, you have to give yourself a chance in football and that’s by doing the basics.
“All we can do is hope that those players who are out injured come back to fitness soon. Hopefully we’ll be okay in a short period of time. It’s going to be opportunities for players to come in, I must admit I was pleased with Archie Collins coming in today. He had a good game in difficult circumstances, but when you have players like that on the pitch then you need bodies to help them out.”
Up next at St James Park:
City take on Cambridge United on Saturday, January 26 in a 3pm kick-off. Ticket prices are cheaper in advance. Click here to buy online.