City boss Matt Taylor says Saturday’s defeat to Port Vale at St James Park was ‘frustrating’ for his side and says improvements have to be made ahead of next weekend’s trip to Mansfield.
Goals from Tom Conlon and Devante Rodney downed the Grecians at home for the first time since last September, in a game where City had a number of chances to get on the score sheet.
“It was very frustrating,” Taylor said.
“The scoreline is 2-0 and their two goals hurt me more than anything, but the way in which they came out on top too often in terms of the competitive aspect of the battle is disappointing in my point of view.”
Early on in the game, in an incident which also mirrored one from last weekend’s draw at Salford, a defensive error was pounced on by Ryan Bowman who was taken down by the last defender. This could have been a pivotal moment in the game, but the referee was unmoved and Taylor says his side cannot let moments like that dictate their game.
“I haven’t seen it back but that was one of our better opportunities, along with two for Ben Seymour in the second half.
“If you put the incident in context of where the game was then we’ve created the better opportunities, but it was far too easy for them to score and get ahead in the game.
I felt they were on top in too many of the individual battles, and that soon became a collective. We still moved the ball at times, but we played a little bit more at two down and we need to do that from minute one.”
Another contentious decision was a potential foul on midfielder Archie Collins in the build up to Vale’s second goal. After City failed to make the most of a corner, Collins was shoved from possession, which allowed Port Vale to attack. The boss was keen to rule out luck, and insists his players must do better in these situations.
“It is too easy to say we were unlucky in that respect. We had the chance to put the ball into the box and we had the chance to get it clear and we didn’t.
“Archie is not a young lad to us anymore, he’s played 80 odd games for us so he knows he can’t dwell on the ball in the middle of the pitch or you’ll get countered on too easily.”
A number of great chance were missed by the hosts, who could have registered a goal or two had they found their shooting boots. A mix of inaccuracy and a few wonder saves from Scott Brown meant that City failed to register a goal in a home league match since a goalless draw wit Colchester in January. Taylor felt his side did well to create chances against a good side, but has issued a warning to his attacking players.
“Put the ball in the back of the net. If you want to keep playing, put the ball in the back of the net. If Ryan Bowman wants to keep playing, put the ball in the back of the net.
“It’s not rocket science,” he added.
“We have to work so hard to create chances like that against a well-drilled side and we still have, which is positive. There were times today when we looked ok, but ok is not good enough.”