Exeter City manager Matt Taylor was delighted that his side picked up all three points at Morecambe as the Grecians continued their unbeaten start to the League Two season.
The Grecians led 2-0 with goals from Jake Taylor and Lee Martin before Jim Bentley’s Morecambe rallied to bring the score level through Lewis Alessandra.
But despite being pegged back, City were able to win it in the 85th minute through a late Nicky Law strike.
Following the match, the City manager said: “We got three points, which is what we came here to do, which is always a good starting point. We played some fantastic attacking football in the first period, but I felt we were a little bit sloppy or short in our overall game. I could sense a bit of danger even at 2-0 up and we’ve, not let Morecambe back into the game, but the lad (Lewis Alessandra) has smashed one in and we didn’t get enough pressure on the ball."
Following a midweek trip to Oldham where City picked up a 0-0 draw, the City boss felt the trip north earlier in the week could well have influenced the player’s performance at the Globe Arena.
He continued: “Maybe the toll of the week just started to take a bit out of the player’s minds as much as their bodies. Morecambe got a bit ahead of steam and caused us some problems in that second period and it was a pretty even second half. I still felt we had a little bit of quality on the pitch if we could get the ball in the right place and Nicky has come up with that.
“I’m sat there and delighted to start with and then I feel the emotions of disappointment, and anger to a certain extent, that we’ve not controlled the game better at 2-0 up, but this is a tough place to come. Morecambe are a good experienced League Two side with a good manager as well. They weren’t going to just lie down and let us dictate the game. We had to take their opportunities away from them in that period and try and get in at half-time and take control of the game in the second half.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that, but the character and resilience showed through towards the end and I’m delighted it’s three points at the end of a hard week. The players are physically and mentally drained, as are some of the staff and the supporters to an extent. Full credit to those fans who have made the trip today, and also the ones who made the trip on Tuesday. That’s one hell of a commitment and it doesn’t go unnoticed, believe you me. We’re pleased we could get the three points for them.”
Matt brought on Alex Fisher to help the physicality up front as City looked to go back ahead, and Tom Parkes also came in to help sure up the defence for the last minutes of the game.
On the changes, the City manager explained: “Dean (Moxey) has had a bit of a niggle, so he was getting through the game as much as anything, so it wasn’t so much a tactical change, more a physical change. I felt Alex (Fisher) may cause an extra physical presence in the opposition box and luckily, we won a free-kick in a good area and we were competing for that first ball and it’s broken to Jake who has set up Nicky. You’re never too sure who to put on at certain times of the game, but I just felt that if we were going to score then it would come from a cross. I wanted that physical presence right at the top of the pitch, Deano has been struggling and Tom was ready for most of the game, not just the second half.”
The Grecians thought they’d gone 3-0 up in the first half when Lee Martin found the net, but for the goal to be ruled out for offside, and shortly after the home side found the net. On the decision, Matt felt it was the correct call to rule out the goal.
“I’ve not seen if it was offside, but I think Lee did get a touch, I gave the linesman praise on Tuesday and I probably have to do that again today, said Matt. “I felt we maybe didn’t have it in our bodies to get out to players quick enough and close down the ball, we invited shots, deliveries and crosses into the box, and it was probably the state of the way we were as a team today.
“Attacking wise in the first half that was the best we’ve played, probably off the back of the confidence we got from Tuesday night. But if we’re going to be successful this season then we have to control that game better than we did. It reminded me a little bit of the Yeovil game last season where it was so one sided and then it’s a little bit of brilliance from them or poor defending from us and it evens it up straight away and they get momentum back. I felt we were stronger in the game towards the finish, which is a pleasing side, but we’ve got to rest some bodies who have had a physical and demanding start to the season. We’re five games in, no one can judge us after five games, not even after 10, 15 or 20, so we’ll see where we are in the months to come, but I’m pleased we got the three points.”
The Grecians now sit on 11 points from their first five outings and it’s been a positive start to the campaign, and thought pleased with the win, Matt feels slightly aggrieved to have dropped points against Oldham and Swindon Town.
He continued: “I feel that, the late one against Swindon although that was probably deserved, and I felt we dropped points on Tuesday night. But when you go away to Oldham and Morecambe in the space of four or five days then you’d probably take four points. As disappointed as we were on Tuesday, this probably makes up for it to a certain extent.
“I’d have been really disappointed if we’d only got three points from the three games because I felt our performances have improved significantly. You can’t tell me that we weren’t creating chances in that first period and there’s a ruthless side to this team which I want to keep working on and keep drilling into the players.”
The Grecians now set their sights on a home match with Mansfield Town next weekend after they’ve recovered from an intense week of matches. And Matt says the players will rest up before going into the next match with some positivity.
He said: “When you’re winning games and playing well you want to keep at it. The players will have Monday off on the back of the travel. I’m not sure who does the fixtures, but it wasn’t a kind week to us. Hopefully we’ve come through it unscathed in terms of injuries. They deserve Monday off, and I’d like to think the supporters deserve Monday off with the bank holiday, because like I said it’s a hell of a commitment. We’ll train them hard on Tuesday and Thursday and Friday we’ll prep for the next home game. We’re not in a bad position, you always look and think: ‘would we have taken it five games in?’ I’m stood here slightly disappointed that we’ve not got more points on the board.”
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