Exeter City manager Matt Taylor said his side’s win over Crewe Alexandra away from home was “a big three points” as they managed to put themselves back into the play-off places in Sky Bet League Two with a 2-1 win.
The Grecians won the match with a heavily deflected Jake Taylor effort and a brilliant finish from Matt Jay at the Alexandra Stadium in what was a performance which presented a number of positives for the City boss.
Matt explained: “I thought we controlled large parts of that game and we looked a real threat. We had some real power at the top end of the pitch and our shape was relatively good for the majority of the game.
“We let them back in it early in the second half and it was a poor goal from a defensive point of view considering we’d worked on it this week. We knew (Chris) Porter would pull to the back post and we didn’t get enough pressure on the cross and they’re sometimes difficult to defend against because he is a handful.
“To bounce back from that, I was delighted with the boys, the character, the personality and the endeavour of the group and they showed real intensity to get to the ball. We know Crewe are in good form at the moment and they’re a very good team at home in the league this season so that is a big three points for us.”
Following a draw with Carlisle United and a narrow home defeat to Bury Matt was keen for his side to get back to winning ways and manage the match appropriately, which is something the Grecians managed to do with a dominant display for much of the 90 minutes.
Matt continued: “We’ve not been in bad form ourselves and part of my team talk before the game today was that we have got to turn these performances into points. People keep on speaking about the business end of the season, but it is coming down to that and every point is so important. Crewe have been on a good run and they could become a rival for the play-off places. It was important to put a marker down today, a solid away performance, and Carlisle was a good away performance, but we didn’t pick up the three points that we wanted, and I thought we were value for the three points today.”
The Grecians were also missing key personnel due to injuries with Nicky Law, Lee Martin and Jonathan Forte all suffering from injuries over the past week or so. And Matt praised those who came into the side, especially the likes of Ryan Bowman and Matt Jay.
The City boss continued: “It's testament to the group and the staff. Nicky picked up an injury on Thursday and Lee Martin wasn’t fit enough and Jonathan (Forte) has trained once since his injection, so hopefully the injection will have a benefit to him, and he’ll be fit and available from now on.
“Credit to Ryan Bowman who led the line again, he was physical but he’s mobile, which is one of the reasons that we signed him. I said to him before the game: ‘If you’re a defender and you’re up against someone who is stronger than you and can run faster than you then you’re in for a difficult afternoon,’ but he’s got to keep using that body as best he possibly can and we need to give him good service because he’s a handful.
“MJ’s (Matt Jay) finish was a sign of real quality, and maybe we got a bit of luck because I think it was an own goal from what the lads have said. But you put the ball in that six-yard box, that was a criticism I had of the team last week that we have got to put the ball in the six-yard box and ask questions of the opposition and mistakes are made at this level. First half you saw how we defended the six-yard box compared to Crewe and we went in at 1-0. The second half was all about grit and determination, plus a bit of quality as well.
“Anyone who has watched us recently has seen our performances have been where they need to be, it is about results and results boost confidence. The spirit has been there throughout the season and I can’t ask for anymore. MJ probably typified that today in terms of coming into the team and doing a specific job in midfield. He’s been frustrated this season, but he’s made a mark today and I got value out of him, and he’s got the shirt now and it’s up to him to keep hold of it.”