Paul Tisdale thrilled as his Exeter City side show resolve
PAUL TISDALE felt that Exeter City's 2-1 win at Northampton Town on Saturday showed just how far his group of players have come in the last 12 months.
It was in October of last year that the Grecians travelled to Sixfields and came away on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline, but there was no repeat on Saturday as Tisdale's steely side came from a goal down to win with goals from Scot Bennett and John O'Flynn.
"That wasn't us last year. It didn't happen. We have probably won more games coming from behind than we did in the whole of last year," Tisdale said. "I don't know what the statistics are, but of course, I am very pleased.
"The players are getting better and we have a lot of players that are better than they were this time last year and I think we are able to match horses for courses a bit rather than rely too much on clever play to get our rewards."
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Tisdale added: "We were determined to be as forceful as they were against us and try and compete with it. We had more competitive edge to us than we have this season so far.
"It is early days but I am beginning to see a team with more resolve and we had a bench today of real quality.
"I had lots of options and I had no injuries going into the game, Jamie Reid was back from international duty and John O'Flynn was available, so every player was fit.
"As a manager, you then have the chance to drive your team and make changes. I brought two players off that were doing OK, Jimmy [Keohane] and Alan [Gow] had both had good games, but it provided me with some freshness and some power. I had that luxury today.
"It was a big game with a lot of effort and I am enjoying the fact we are only playing one game a week!"
The Grecians were hit by a Northampton storm in the first 20 minutes, but the Cobblers could only score once, despite all their dominance.
"I have to say that they are the best side we have played this season so far," admitted Tisdale. "It is a cruel world and I don't think they deserved that off the back of how they played because they didn't deserve to lose.
"I don't think we started that badly, we knew what it would be like, we just couldn't cope with it. I don't think I could label our team hesitant or slow to start, they were phenomenal and their start was so dynamic, it blew the game their way for 15 minutes. But it's impossible to play like that for 90 minutes.
"Like last week it was down to us weathering the storm and prevented the second goal, Artur Krysiak made some very good saves and we defended the box well, so we managed to keep the score at 1-0, rather than concede the second and the third, as we did last year."
After Bennett had equalised, O'Flynn won it in dramatic style with a goal deep into stoppage time.
"You don't very often get a game like that where both teams want to win it in the last five minutes, but we kept going and kept going with our intensity," Tisdale said. "There was a real sharpness to our counter-attacking and I am very proud of them. We deserved the opportunity to win the game and it went our way.
"The one thing we didn't do quite enough was play the ball in behind their back four. They tried to play quite high and press us, but we eventually managed to do it twice in the last five minutes and got our rewards from it.
"Sam Parkin deserved a goal for all his effort, but it was a sublime finish from John O'Flynn, although it was made by the passes of Arron Davies and David Wheeler."