Exeter City manager Matt Taylor said the Grecians struggled to control the game as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Forest Green Rovers.
Reece Brown’s effort and a strike from Liam Shephard put Mark Cooper’s side two goals to the good before a bizarre occurrence saw Aaron Martin find the net from a clearance as goalkeeper Robert Sanchez miskicked.
Following the result, the City boss said: “Obviously, it’s disappointing, we never really got going and we looked short of energy and ideas to be honest. We lacked real quality, that’s one of the most frustrating things from myself today.
“We can’t say that too many times this season, we‘ve shown better that what we’ve shown today, certainly in possession we had no control in that game whatsoever. Credit to Forest Green, they moved us around. They had the ball the majority of the time because we couldn’t keep it, top to the bottom of the pitch in the middle of the park, we were slow to it in terms of winning the ball back, and when we did win it, we didn’t use it wisely.”
Despite conceding to a good finish from Brown who curled an effort in with his left foot from just inside the City area, Matt believes his players could have defended better in the build-up to the opening goal.
He continued: “It was symptomatic of our game today, we weren’t tight enough, didn’t quite have that extra yard in our legs to get tight enough to affect the player.
“He’s cut inside and it’s a good finish but you allow someone to cut inside your 18-yard box and hit the target and it’s gone in the top corner.”
With the Grecians coming into the game after long trips to Grimsby Town and Crawley Town respectively, and though some of his players have struggled with injury and illness, Matt thought the side fielded today should have turned out a better display.
He explained: “We can talk about the 1000 miles that we’ve done this week in the two games, the illness in the camp and the injuries, but there are no excuses in terms of that because those players that I put out on the pitch today should have been good enough to put in a better performance than that.
“Even when we tried to get back in the game, we didn’t really look like getting back into it if we are being brutally honest. The chances we created were few and far between and they weren’t real chances at all.
“We didn’t quite have the edge to get after the ball even if it wasn’t the perfect ball. Football is never perfect, it’s a game riddled with mistakes and we let our own mistakes affect us today which is disappointing from my point of view.
“We didn’t quite stand up and be counted when needed. The second goal, you’re chasing the game slightly, and you play in a slightly open way, but it’s a good finish from the lad but still we could’ve prevented it.”
Goalkeeper James Hamon came into the starting line-up following an injury to Christy Pym, and Matt credited the keeper for his assured performance between the posts for the Grecians.
“I’m pleased with Hammy (James Hamon), he is a good goalkeeper, he’s been patient and waited for his opportunity. He looked cool and calm under pressure, he was composed and made some good saves.
“He was one of the few who came out with credit today. We’ll assess Christy’s injury, but he’s been a big player for us, but no problem as James Hamon stepped straight in and did well today, I was pleased.
“We’re not too sure about the extent of it yet (Christy’s injury)), he got injured in training on Friday, he did try this morning in a fitness test, but he was nowhere near in terms of his ability and kicking. It depends how he settles down this week, we may have to send him for a scan, but it just adds to the list that is starting to grow.”
Despite the defeat, Matt was also keen to look at the bigger picture with the loss being the first for 11 games in all competitions.
He said: “Every time I’ve come in here after we’ve won, I’ve not been too high, we know exactly what we need to do in terms of where we want to get to, and today is no different.
“It was a poor performance, but in the general scheme of the way the season has started, then we’ve been quite bright in the way we’ve gone about it and generally had energy about us. Anyone who was here today could see we were lacking in certain areas, not only energy but certainly quality as well.”
Up next at St James Park:
City take on Tranmere Rovers on Saturday, March 2 in a 3pm kick-off. Ticket prices are cheaper in advance. Click here to buy online.