Paul Tisdale thrilled as Exeter City show their resilient side to take maximum points
"Bloody brilliant!" proclaimed a beaming Paul Tisdale to the small gathering of Exeter press after Saturday's 1-0 win at Bradford City.
The City chief had just watched his side produce a master-class in defending to claim three precious npower League Two points with a 1-0 win at Valley Parade courtesy of Jamie Cureton's first-half strike.
There has been plenty of criticism of Exeter's defending in recent weeks and soft goals have been a common theme throughout the campaign prior to Saturday. Little wonder the Exeter boss was so chuffed with his troops then.
"A 1-0 win away was exactly what we needed and was better than a comfortable win because it shows to the players themselves that they can grit out 50 minutes of threatening football that we had against us in the second half," he said. "It was terrific, and I am really pleased.
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"It was a great goal from Jamie and there was lots to say about it. We got up the pitch really well with some good football, it was a great cross from Craig Woodman and Matt Oakley showed all his experience with that knock-down. That was class and then Jamie knows exactly what to do in that situation.
"That was us at our best when we are away from home. Bradford were entitled to change and the second half was never going to be the same as the first. They couldn't allow us that much space with Alan Gow, so they matched us up and we were stuck in our own half, but that's what happens sometimes. We went defensive, but I am not ashamed of that.
"It was the type of performance that we needed at Southend when we were 1-0 up with 20 minutes to go. We didn't get it, but the players need to believe in themselves. It's all very well proving to people we can do it, the players have to prove to themselves they can do it. We stuck it out, it wasn't pretty, but we did what we had to do and those performances are a big fillip for any team."
Tisdale admitted thoughts of his and Exeter's last visit to Valley Parade did cross his mind at half-time. Then, back in September 2008, the Grecians led by the same score only to crash to a 4-1 defeat in the second half.
"It was the first thing I said to the players at half-time and the last thing before they went out," Tisdale said. "It was a very similar first half to the last time we were here and then we came out and were battered in the second half.
"Phil [Parkinson] did everything in his powers to make that happen and they did give us that kind of threat in the second half, but we managed to see through it."
Things do not get any easier for the Grecians as they head east to leaders Gillingham next. Looking ahead to tomorrow's game, Tisdale said: "Our physio is going to have a tough couple of days because we have four or five that are packed in ice and bruised and battered.
"But, if you want to be a successful team, you have to go to these places and meet the challenge. We have gone a long way to achieving some satisfactory points and it will be a big challenge at Gillingham."