Matt Taylor praised his side’s second-half performance against Torquay United as the Grecians recorded a 2-1 victory at Plainmoor.
Torquay, who had been unbeaten in pre-season before today’s game, started the match the brighter and took the lead when Manny Duku curled a shot into the bottom corner from 18 yards out.
The City players protested that Dean Moxey had been tripped as the striker stole possession back on the edge of the box, but Matt Taylor admitted, while he was disappointed with the decision not going their way, the goal was symptomatic of City’s start.
“First half we were put under some severe pressure, at times and we withstood it to a large extent,” said Matt. “However, I am disappointed with the goal because we felt there was a foul on Deano (Dean Moxey) and it was a little bit of an example of something lacking in terms of the mindset of where the danger was coming from.
“Torquay played pretty direct and a physical running game and we were on the back foot in the first half.”
Torquay had a couple more chances to extend their lead, but City managed to get back on level terms, with Tom Parkes scoring from a corner, and then turned the game around in the second half with an improved performance and goal from Randell Williams.
“It was great to get back into the game with a set-piece just before half-time and then second half I thought we were the better team,” said Matt. “We were a lot more comfortable. Our field position, our team shape and our connection was hugely improved on the first half.
“In the second half, we looked a lot more like ourselves. Randell Williams, Nicky Ajose and Ryan Bowman were a lot more of a threat and had more of the ball and it meant our backline were doing most of their defending on the halfway line as an opposed to around the 18-yard box.”
It was a moment of quality from Nicky Ajose that opened up the home defence as he played a reverse pass into Randell Williams in the box to leave the winger with a simple finish to score. However, it was the performance of Ryan Bowman in the second half that impressed Matt the most.
"You only get the moments off the back of winning the first contact and I felt Ryan Bowman did that a lot better second half and the team almost took their position off the back of Ryan’s physicality,” said Matt.
“He was a wrecking ball in that second period. First-half I felt we were a little bit soft at times at the end of the pitch. They have got to put their bodies in the faces of centre-halves and those had a difficult second period, certainly against Ryan.
"That is the way he has got to play and he was excellent for us last season and his mindset has got to be the same for us again this season.
"That creates space and then you have got the likes of Nicky (Ajose) and Randell (Williams) running into a bit of space and if you have got those players on the ball in those areas, they should hopefully create and execute some of those chances."