Exeter City manager Matt Taylor says the players will learn from the experience of conceding a 97th-minute equaliser away at Port Vale on Saturday.
The Grecians defended resolutely for most of the second half, having taken the lead through Nicky Law’s 48th-minute goal, but when a corner was swung into the area deep into time added on Idris Kanu managed to nod home from a yard out after the ball had come back off the crossbar.
Many of the City players and fans were left feeling aggrieved at full-time as the fourth official had indicated that there would be a minimum of five minutes’ stoppage time and the game was a minute and a half over that when Vale scored. However, Matt didn’t want to get drawn into that debate, instead focusing on his team’s excellent performance and the lessons they could learn from it.
“It is obviously disappointing,” said Matt. “When you concede in the seventh out of five added minutes you have got to ask certain questions but, that aside, I thought our lads were excellent today.
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“It was a really good performance, in a difficult place to come and play, and on the scale of the chances we have had the best opportunities in that game. We could have possibly killed them off or seen the game out a little bit better in the second half, but they (Port Vale) put us under pressure and we were just a little bit unlucky at the end.
“We got the first touch (on the cross) they got the second touch and then it has hit the bar and the one player is in the right place at the right time.
“We are still a young team, in terms of the time we have had with them as a group, and they will learn how to manage a game a bit better than that in the future. I have just said to them that certain aspects of the play have got to be on the outside of the pitch when you are holding on a little bit. You have got to get your bodies in the right place and keep the play on the outside. However, we will be better for it and that is a good thing.”
City had chances to take the lead in the first half as Jake Taylor, Hiram Boateng and Law all went close but it was perhaps Vale who came closest to an interval lead when Tom Conlon’s 20-yard strike was superbly tipped onto his crossbar by Christy Pym.
Nicky Law celebrates his goal
That forced Matt into a few half-time words of advice to his players about being more patient, with the possession and territory they had.
“I felt we needed to create those chances closer to their goal, to be honest with you,” said Matt, reflecting on the first-half display. “We had a lot of chances in and around their box but not close enough to their goal.
“So we just gave the players a little bit of direction in terms of being a bit more patient on the outside of the pitch in the second half and that showed in terms of the goal.
“We want to score more goals like that. We want more tap-ins in and around the six-yard box and that goal was symptomatic of the way we played. It was a nice big pitch, it was a little bit sticky and a little bit dry at times, but we can’t have any complaints today. Sometimes in football you don’t get what you deserve but a point at Port Vale away, when they are in form, is not a bad point.”