Exeter City manager Matt Taylor praised the attitude and endeavour of his players as they picked up all three points at home to Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.
The Grecians took the lead through Ryan Bowman after 11 minutes but were made to work hard for the victory in the second half as an even game saw the visitors test the City defence on a few occasions.
“It was important we won that game,” said Matt. “We have been 1-0 up at half-time on numerous occasions this season. So it was important that we saw it through. I thought it was a good performance.
“First half we played some excellent football and might have been a bit unlucky to only go in 1-0 up, but the game was there second half and it was pretty even for large parts.
“Jonny (Maxted) has made a couple of saves and defenders have put their bodies on the line, but you have got to do that side of it to win games of football but I can’t fault anything in terms of the attitude and endeavour of the group today.
“Fish (Alex Fisher) has come on and made a difference, Nigel (Atangana) has come on and made a difference. Forest Green are a good team. They were top of the league for a reason and that is two good teams, who hopefully will be close it come the end of the season, going head to head. It is still early days but it is important we beat teams in and around us.”
City created the better chances in the first half and could have been two or three ahead by the break, but after the interval it was their dogged and determined characteristics that shone through.
“They (Forest Green) are a possession team and they use the ball really well and move you around. So in terms of the way they play we had to be so sure and concentrated in our minds and then invite them into certain areas of the pitch,” said Matt.
“I felt we got better defensively as the game went on. Jack Sparkes had a difficult first half of the game against a mobile wingback, but his heading ability and his defensive attributes in the second half got him through that game. And that is learning how to win games of football for an 18-year-old lad and that is impressive, so I am really pleased for Jack and I am delighted for the rest of the bunch.”
The clearest chance for Forest Green after the break came when a cross from the left found Aaron Collins unmarked in the box but Jonny Maxted produced a top class save to deny him.
“That is what he is there to do,” said Matt. “He has made those saves time and time again since he has come to the club. We can’t just talk about Jonny though. He will make those saves in his time and Lewis (Ward) has made those saves so far this season. It is part of winning any game of football.
"You need a little bit of luck. I actually felt we were on the receiving end of a couple of questionable decisions. Certainly in the first period where we pinched it high up the pitch and the referee took an easy option in giving a free-kick against us. So there is some frustrations from that part of it, but the players have to take huge credit.”