Matt Taylor said he could not fault the effort of his players as his Exeter City side were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Cheltenham Town.
The Grecians had the majority of the play and created the better opportunities in the match, but the game ended up in a bit of a stalemate against two good sides playing a similar formation and style of play.
“We were playing on the front foot and trying to play the ball in and around the opposition area, it just didn’t quite fall for us today,” said Matt.
“When it is a match up with two good teams like that it is always going to be decided by one real bit of quality, which we didn’t quite have today, or one or two mistakes or a bit of luck.
“We forced a mistake in the first half, we just didn’t quite capitalize on that moment. That was one of the few moments where the game actually seemed to open up.
“Full credit to Cheltenham, but my boys have got to be pleased with that performance because Cheltenham are a good team and we have limited them to barely a sight of our goal for that 90 minutes.”
That defensive display was particularly pleasing for Matt. Cheltenham went into the game as the second highest scorers in the division, but Jonny Maxted in the City goal wasn’t troubled to any great extent.
“It was the same last week as well,” said Matt, recalling the display at Cambridge United where the Grecians held the hosts out until the 93rd-minute of the game.
“I have said to the players then, that is two strong defensive displays, especially on the back the two poor goals we gave away at Bradford.
“We have got to keep on moving forward, but I can’t fault that group of players. It felt a bit more like winter football. It was going to be a match of few clearcut chances because it was a match up with two teams playing in a similar sort of formation and both teams seem to suit that formation. There were a lot of one-v-ones all over the pitch a no team seemed to come out on top of those.”
City were certainly the better side in the match though, and considering the Grecians have a number of first team players out, that was another pleasing aspect for Matt.
“We were tough and we were strong,” he said. “We didn’t take a backwards step, we still tried to play forward and get forward, we just probably ran out of a little bit of legs second half, but if this is the weakest we are personnel wise, it was always going to be quite an industrial performance today.
“That is no disrespect to my players on that pitch, it was always going to be that type of performance because we did not have our so-called flair players. However, that is no problem because we still looked a good team today.”
🎟 UP NEXT AT SJP 🎟
Tickets are on advance sale for City's home match against Crawley Town on Saturday, February 29 in a 3pm kick-off. Click here to buy now!