Exeter City manager Matt Taylor was delighted with his side’s performance against Ipswich Town as they beat the League One side 2-1 at St James Park in the Leasing.com Trophy.
Matt named a number of youngsters in the starting XI, with Jayden Richardson, Alex Hartridge, Will Dean, Jordan Dyer, Will Dean, Joel Randall and Ben Seymour, all featuring in the game. However, they battled hard and defended the City boss superbly and aided by some more senior pros in Nicky Ajose, Jake Taylor, Matt Jay, Ryan Bowman and Lee Martin, the team managed to cause an upset and book their place in the final eight of the competition.
“It was incredible really,” said Matt. “I thought we were the better team. We played on the front foot. The young players stood up to everything that was thrown at them and there were some really big senior displays as well. So, there was a really good balance in that team.”
“They were four very young lads at the back,” he added. “Jayden (Richardson) has played a lot of games recently and so have the other boys out on loan, so physically they were draining towards the end, but they defended the box so, so well. If there is any ever clips of what our team is built on at the moment, then it was when Ipswich broke on us and there was bodies on the line and blocks here and there and getting out and still working their feet. I was delighted with that back group. I have just said to them that was our foundation for a bit of success. Some of the senior players in front of them Nigel (Atangana), Jake (Taylor) and Matt Jay really drove that team on as well.”
Matt was also delighted with the performance of Nicky Ajose, who after a long spell out through injury, got his goal with a well-taken finish. And then there was a nice moment for Lee Martin to score against his former club in injury-time to win the game.
“He (Nicky) is so, so important for us,” said Matt. “I want my centre forwards scoring goals and Lee Martin come on and scored again and Nicky (Ajose) got his goal and that is what he’ll do, but I thought his work rate out of possession was key for him today.
“Everyone has got to keep on buying it to that and he has got to keep on doing that. I thought he offered real value for the team and any chances that are in the box you want them to fall to Nicky Ajose. In terms of the first half, I couldn’t fault them. I just wanted a little bit of cleaner play. Second half it was always going to be difficult, with physical levels and you were looking at their bench before the game and you were waiting for some of those big guns to come on. However, we still had the opportunities. We were still trying to win that game and it might have been a ricochet or a bit of a luck for it to fall to Lee (Martin) but I certainly felt with deserved it.”
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