AN­FIELD CASH FOR GRE­CIANS

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP THIRD ROUND - By Ryan Wal­ters

WITH money in mind, Liverpool’s lev­eller at St James Park was the ideal fi­nale for Ex­eter City – but man­ager Paul Tis­dale couldn’t hide his frus­tra­tion at let­ting vic­tory slip.

The Gre­cians hosted an al­most un­recog­nis­able Liverpool side on Fri­day night and came within 20 min­utes of book­ing their place in the FA Cup fourth round.

Tom Ni­chols and Lee Holmes each found the net ei­ther side of a Jerome Sin­clair strike, be­fore Brad Smith earned the Premier League out­fit a home re­play.

Vic­tory would have earned Ex­eter £67,500 in prize money, but the trip to An­field will see them pocket an es­ti­mated £700,000, and Tis­dale was able to see the bright side.

“I’m a foot­ball man­ager and I want to win games,” he said.

“When you’re 2-1 up and de­fend­ing a lead with ten min­utes to go then you’re dis­ap­pointed, but we got a draw against a very good side and have a re­play at An­field. We have no in­vestor so ev­ery penny counts. At the end of the day we've put on a re­ally good show.”

Man-of-the-match Ni­chols added: “We didn’t park the bus, we gave it a real go and we’ve now got a trip to An­field.

“The boys were bril­liant and we thor­oughly de­served the draw. The fans have been dif­fer­ent class for the last four or five games. All credit must go to them, the at­mos­phere was un­be­liev­able.”

Liverpool boss Jur­gen Klopp made 11 changes to the side that beat Stoke in the Cap­i­tal One Cup semi-fi­nal first leg on Tues­day night amid a mi­nor in­jury cri­sis, and there were a hand­ful of un­fa­mil­iar faces on show in Devon. They were be­hind af­ter just nine min­utes when Ni­chols stuck out his leg to meet Jamie Reid’s low cross and poke the ball past Adam Bog­dan.

Sin­clair soon lev­elled things up, slot­ting home from 12 yards out, but the Gre­cians were ahead again on the stroke of half-time. Lee Holmes went across to take a cor­ner and sent an in-swing­ing cross di­rectly into the back of the net, Bog­dan mak­ing a com­plete mess of it.

But full-back Smith spared his side’s blushes a quar­ter of an hour from the end, cap­i­tal­is­ing on a weak clear­ance from Jor­dan Moore-Tay­lor to vol­ley past Bobby Ole­jnik and se­cure the re­play.

“It was very dif­fi­cult with the pitch but Ex­eter did re­ally well,” re­flected Klopp. “They played foot­ball in parts and per­haps that’s be­cause they knew which ar­eas to play in and where it was pos­si­ble.

“We had a few good mo­ments but it was re­ally dif­fi­cult for us. What was sur­pris­ing was that in a few one-on-one sit­u­a­tions they were more ro­bust than us so we have to work on that. There were at times too many easy flick-ons but we need to keep learn­ing and im­prov­ing as a team.

“The first goal was very un­lucky for us and it was Ex­eter’s first of­fen­sive sit­u­a­tion – we were weak – and the se­cond one was dis­ap­point­ing.

“Now we have drawn and we have to play again and I can’t be­lieve the num­ber of games we have to play.”

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