Exeter City manager Matt Taylor praised his side’s display following their 1-0 win over Mansfield Town at St James Park.
Ryan Bowman’s early goal was the difference between the two sides as City battled against a strong Town team who dominated the ball for large periods. Despite that, a resolute defensive performance ensured that City would take all three points on the day.
The City manager explained: “I thought it was a proper performance, I thought we started the game really well and got our reward in terms of a bright bit of thinking and movement. It was a really good finish from Ryan (Bowman) with the goal and we limited them to half chances if that.
“One flashed past the post early on. They had a lot of possession and a lot of balls at our back line, but I thought we dealt with it really well. Lewis (Ward) hasn’t been troubled too much and we’ve not been able to say that in the last couple of home games. I’m delighted because I feel that’s a seriously strong team that we’ve played against today with some good players at this level. We hit the crossbar ourselves and I’m not sure how the header didn’t go in off the post and then a block on the line. We’re looking a threat at certain times, we’ve got to keep on building, but it’s a start to hopefully what is going to be a good week.”
The winning goal came about just five minutes in when a quick throw in from Dean Moxey found Bowman in space before he fired home.
“He’s bright and Ryan is bright. It was a good finish, he hit it cleanly, and when you score early it settles you down, but you want the second one to go in at some stage,” said Matt. “As a manager you’ve got to look if the opposition are creating chances and I didn’t quite feel they were making enough clear-cut opportunities for us to change it too much. Woody (Craig Woodman) came on and brought some extra experience but I thought physically we dealt with what they threw at us. We were quick to the second ball, if we didn’t win the first one, we were quick to the second ball and withstood a bit of pressure but no real chances.”
The win puts City on 14 points from their first six matches in Sky Bet League Two, and Matt wants the side to continue building.
He explained: “I’ve just said to the players, when does it stop being a start. We’re six games in now and we’ve just got to look to maintain it. We know we’ll be tested, and we know we’ll come up against difficult opposition who will put us under pressure, and we’ll get beaten at times and we’ll draw games.
“We’ve got to keep trying to play forward, move forward and be a forward-thinking club. The site of that was the first goal, Deano picking it up and being bright in his body and throwing it forwards for Ryan who was on the move. I want this group of players to move forward and Tuesday night will be a test of that. We’ll see how they come in on Monday morning because I want them to attack the training session on Tuesday.”
Matt Jay turned out a man of the match performance in midfield as he came into the starting XI for the injured Nicky Law. The City boss says Nicky missed out on the game following an obscure injury.
He said: “It’s a strange one, he slept funny and woke up on Friday morning with a crick in his neck and he couldn’t move. As much as we got him on the drugs, the heat and the acupuncture and the ice, everything you can think of. His movement got better but just not enough to play a difficult game of 90 minutes of League Two football. It’s a strange one, you speak about things that you expect as a manager, but one of your players comes in on a Friday morning and he could barely move. His partner dressed him on the Friday morning, so it says where he was.
“Matt Jay came in and did a really good job like he did when Jake (Taylor) was injured last week and that’s what I need. I need people putting their hands up, I was pleased with Jack Sparkes on his home debut, I know a lot has been spoken about him, but it was a different type of role for him. He was defending as much as he was in an attacking sense, but I’m delighted for him to get that monkey off his back and hopefully he feels part of this group.
“It was a League Two game of football, there were a lot of balls bouncing around the centre of the pitch. They shouldn’t expect too much different, the start of the season is probably a time where a lot of good football gets played on the ground, but not against Mansfield and not against ourselves because we’ve got physical players. I thought we matched it to a certain extent today and, like I say, to come up against a team like Mansfield and limit them to short or little chances, I’m delighted.”
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