Exeter City manager Matt Taylor was pleased with his side’s display following a 3-0 win over Colchester United at St James Park in Sky Bet League Two.
Matt Jay, Lee Holmes and Nicky Law netted for the Grecians in what was an excellent display as City bounced back from two consecutive defeats.
On the result, Matt said: “I’m very pleased. It wasn’t perfect in the first half, sometimes it’s more difficult to play with a strong wind on your back and the expectation is on you to attack, create chances and hurt the opposition but it’s not that easy.
“Any balls which are slightly over hit go out of play or through to the keeper. The first half was more difficult than the second half but the players really stuck to the task, did the jobs we asked them to, and MJ’s (Matt Jay) goal capped off a good performance in the first half, without really hurting the opposition, and then second half we played some really good football.”
The Grecians largely dominated the opening stages in terms of possession but couldn’t quite create enough clear-cut chances, until Matt Jay stepped up just before half-time to send a fierce strike into the far corner.
On the goal that put City ahead, Matt explained: “It was a good time to score, there wasn’t necessarily a frustration about the place, but perhaps a bit of anxiety in terms of we had the wind at our backs and people may be thinking that we should have created more chances, it’s never quite as straightforward as that.
“That was a gusty wind today and we had it going against us in the second half, but it meant we had an option behind in that second half for Ryan (Bowman), Holmesy (Lee Holmes) and MJ to chase and that really hurt Colchester in the second half. A really good finish, three good goals, but it’s very much onto the next.”
Matt also praised the attacking intent from the Grecians as they burst forward a number of times, particularly in the second half, through the likes of Kane Wilson, Nicky Law and Hiram Boateng.
“We’ve got good attacking players in Holmesy, Nicky and MJ,” said Matt. “I thought Ryan Bowman led the line really well today with his physicality and he was mobile as well and caused a lot of problems. The goals capped off that performance, but Christy Pym still had to make four or five really good saves and Kane Wilson will get the plaudits for his attacking play, but he still got back and headed balls away from underneath his crossbar. The players did their jobs and that was the foundation for a good performance.”
Another positive performance from Ryan Bowman saw him help create Matt Jay’s opener, and it was a display which the City manager was delighted with.
“He’s not been available over the last couple of weeks because of a groin injury and we missed his physicality and his running,” said Matt. “We’ve got to look after him over the next nine or 10 games, so we’ll look after him this week and hopefully he’ll get a bit more work into his legs going into Notts County next weekend. I spoke last week about being weak at the top and bottom of the pitch and Ryan is a physical presence who we have to play to at times, but like I say it was almost easier to play to him in that second half because balls weren’t running out of play.”
Matt was also delighted for Christy Pym, who kept a clean sheet after pulling off some fantastic saves, one of which saw him get down well to block a goal-bound effort from Sammie Szmodics just after half-time.
On the City keeper’s performance, Matt explained: “Colchester are a good attacking team, I’m not saying they’re not good defensively, but they’ve got some really good attacking players and they’re going to test you.
“First half we were relatively comfortable, but second half Christy has made four or five top class saves at important times as well. That’s why he’s one of the best goalkeepers at this level, if not the level above as well, so we’re lucky to have him and he’s got to keep on producing that. You couldn’t foresee it was going to be a clean sheet, but when he made a third or fourth save you just felt it might be our day.”
The match saw Hiram Boateng make his first start for the club since suffering a hip flexor injury back in October last year, and Troy Brown also made a return from a long-term knee injury to see out the final 10 minutes of the match. And Matt is pleased to see key players returning at a crucial time of the season.
He said: “Hiram has been out for so long, so we saw glimpses of him from the start of the season. He’ll get better and better with games; we’ve managed him as best we possibly could in terms of playing half a game and then another and a bit of reserve game time as well. He was ready to start today, he’s not the animal from the start of the season but he’ll get there so we just need a little bit of time with Hiram. Every time he gets through a game unscathed then that’s a bonus.
“It’s the same with Troy, he helped sure up that back line, he’s a personality and a presence back there and with Dara being away next weekend with Ireland, then I need to look at my options in that position.
“You win 3-0 at home and everyone is happy. It’s off the back of two disappointing results but we are going to get stronger, I’ve said it time and time again. As long as the current group stays fit. We spoke about Hiram and Troy, but Lee Martin hopefully is not too far away. Dean Moxey was almost a bit of a risk to play him today because he hasn’t done much training over the last two or three weeks, so I was delighted he got through it and he was excellent again. We need our best players on that pitch to give us a chance, and like I say, the lads did their jobs today which gave us a chance and a platform for those goals.”
Up next at St James Park:
City take on Mansfield Town on Saturday, March 30 in a 3pm kick-off. Ticket prices are cheaper in advance. Click here to buy online.