NERVY FINALE AWAITS MARK
MANAGER Mark Yates is bracing himself for a nerveshredding final day decider after Cheltenham Town kept alive their hopes of securing an automatic promotion place.
Russ Penn scored his first league goal of the season to lift the Robins up to fourth and leave Exeter’s play-off dream in tatters.
Cheltenham must win their last game of the season at home to Bradford and hope that Rotherham lose at home to struggling Aldershot.
Yates said:“I asked the players to take it to the last game of the season and they have done that.
“If results don’t go for us next Saturday we can hopefully go into the play-offs in a positive frame of mind. Next week promises to be a nervous day for a few teams.
“This was a big win for us today and a real professional job.
“We started the first half really well but were too open after that. They had great movement and threw caution to the wind. Fortu- nately, though, they didn’t create too many clear-cut chances.
“The second half was a different story and we were in control. We tweaked a few things at halftime because we knew if we were a little bit more compact they would struggle to break us down.”
Penn struck the only goal of the game after five minutes, his angled drive from 12 yards catching keeper Artur Krysiak unsighted and bobbling into the bottom corner.
Exeter came close to grabbing an equaliser after a snap-shot from Jamie Cureton flashed inches past the far post.
On-loan midfielder Lawson D’Ath let fly with a shot that sailed past the post and Jamie Reid fired a shot wide after Cureton teed up the young striker.
Despite Exeter knowing they needed to win to keep their season to alive, they rarely looked like breaching a well-drilled Cheltenham rearguard.
Jimmy Keohane blasted the ball over the crossbar after Scot Bennett’s cushioned header fell invitingly into the substitute’s path. And the Irishman was left holding his head in horror when his closerange pile-driver was acrobatically tipped over the top by Brown. And that was about it.
Exeter boss Paul Tisdale said: “It’s disappointing and there are plenty of reasons why that is the case.We have been left wanting in one or two areas of our game.
“I am really pleased with the way the players and the squad have committed to the season and I thought it was a fantastic effort again today from a group that has been depleted by injury of half a dozen definite starters.
“We had young players coming into the side and I thought they played really well today, especially in the first half and it summed up the season really.We have lost to Cheltenham twice, have played extremely well on both occasions, but haven’t scored.”