Red Devil Rooney’s pa­tience pre­vails

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Bamsey

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.”



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