Red Devil Rooney’s patience prevails
CRAWLEY boss Mark Yates believes Luke Rooney’s persistence is paying dividends after the midfielder came off the bench to snatch a deserved point with a sublime lob.
It looked like Crawley, who have never won against Exeter in 12 attempts, were going to experience more St James’ Park heartache.
Alex Nicholls fired Exeter in front and Sonny Bradley replied for the visitors before Tom Nichols fired the hosts ahead on the stroke of half-time.
But Rooney, who has been frozen out in recent games, had the final say and Yates was full of praise for the 24-year-old.
He beamed: “He has gone past two or three and sliced it into the top corner.
“It was a terrific goal and we deserved a point. He has been out of the side recently but we know the quality he has got.
“We fought tooth and nail to get him this summer and he needs to keep producing the goods. He has been really patient and we think a lot of him.We kept plugging away.We have come a long way since the start of September and it is pleasing the progress we are making.
“If we carry on like this, we could put ourselves in a tidy little position.”
Exeter broke the deadlock after eight minutes thanks to a stunning finish. Nichols sent Nicholls darting into the area and he unleashed a blistering shot off the underside of the bar.
But Crawley hit back on 28 minutes when Simon Walton swung over a corner and Bradley rose highest to send a powerful header past Bobby Olejnik.
A rapid Exeter breakaway almost put the hosts back on front before half-time. Nichols burst forward and threaded the ball into the path of Clinton Morrison, who was denied by a brilliant fingertip save by Darryl Flahavan. Then on the stroke of half-time Nicholls flicked the ball up onto his left foot and unleashed a dipping leftfooted volley past Flahavan.
And neither side looked like scoring in the second half until Rooney scored a stunning 30-yard lob in added time. Exeter boss Paul Tisdale said:“I’m disappointed and we got what we deserved.They were a goal behind and had nothing to lose.They are going to go direct and throw caution to the wind.
“You can’t stop the opposition from putting pressure on, but what you can do is play better when you win the ball back.We needed to score another goal but we let them come back at us far too often.Then you run the risk of that type of thing happening.
“It happened against Stevenage and it happened again.We only have ourselves to blame.”
STAR MAN TROY BROWN Exeter