Exeter City manager Matt Taylor was left disappointed following a narrow 1-0 defeat at Newport County AFC despite his side turning out a determined display in south Wales.
Jamille Matt’s goal in the second half was the only difference between the two sides who shared chances, and the Grecians could perhaps count themselves unfortunate after Ryan Bowman saw his effort crash against the crossbar and Dara O’Shea also had his goalward header turned away well by County keeper Joe Day.
Following the defeat, Matt said: “We were tough, we dug in, and it’s so disappointing. If you ever describe how that game was going to go it would have been down to a set piece and we’re really disappointed to concede a goal like that.”
On a difficult surface to keep the ball down, Matt explained that he expected the game to be of few chances.
He continued: “We were in the right place at the right time for the majority of the game. One challenge and it’s fallen to the lad inside the box and he’s finished it off. There was nothing in the game, everyone who was here could see that, on a difficult surface, in difficult conditions to play football in.
“We had a few half-chances and limited them to half chances. That’s why it’s so disappointing, it’s a difficult pitch to create clear-cut opportunities, you’re not going to play free-flowing football in conditions like that but any football that was played was generally played by us for the large part. I can’t hide my disappointment about the goal but I’m still proud of the group in terms of the way we committed to the game.
“It was going to take something special, a mistake or a set piece. We generally defend wide free-kicks pretty well, as we do with corners, that’s why it hurts even more because I can’t fault their effort and endeavour. We were committed to the way we wanted to play today which was a battle.
Matt brought Kane Wilson into the starting 11 following his return to the club on loan from West Bromwich Albion.
The youngster, deployed on the right-hand side of midfield, impressed his manager with his tenacious running and energy.
Matt said: “He ran, he was physical, and he was quick to the ball, he has a youthful enthusiasm about him which means he can travel with the ball. I thought it was a really good battle between him and their wing back (Dan Butler), he got man of the match, but Kane wasn’t far behind that. I was pretty pleased with Kane.”
The Grecians will now turn their attentions to Cambridge United who make the trip to St James Park next weekend as the they look to return to winning ways.
Matt said: “It was always going to be fine margins and unfortunately it hasn’t gone our way. You go 1-0 down and you start chasing it and our usual style of chasing the game was to play football, but the ball didn’t move quickly on the pitch or cleanly. It’s bitterly disappointing but we’ll pick the boys up and we go onto the next.”
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.