Walk in the park for Paul’s Gre­cians

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Thomas Han­nah

EX­ETER may have a rep­u­ta­tion for play­ing neat, at­trac­tive foot­ball; they also dis­played an­other side to their game yes­ter­day.

Vic­tory at Hartle­pool was thanks to a dogged dis­play on a hor­ri­ble day in the north-east – the sort of per­for­mance, and re­sult, that wins you pro­mo­tion.

Ex­eter boss Paul Tis­dale said:“It was a re­ally im­pres­sive win, with­out play­ing fan­tas­tic foot­ball. We worked well to get the open­ings. It’s three in a row which is pleas­ing and now we have some form.

“It was a dif­fi­cult day, we have missed Lee Holmes for the last week or so from train­ing, but he came back in and it was a chance play­ing him there in that for­ma­tion.

“We wanted play­ers in po­si­tions who could do some­thing – and Lee cre­ated the open­ing goal for us.

“A strong wind, low sun and the con­di­tions, a bumpy hard pitch makes it hard. The first goal gave us a chance to hold on.’’ And hold on they did. The opener came when Joel Grant took pos­ses­sion deep in­side his own half and was able to turn un­chal­lenged to break away.

He fed Holmes and his tasty cross from the left was met by Alex Ni­cholls, who got across his marker to head in.

The first half was a des­per­ate af­fair and the home side only sparked into some life when sub­sti­tute Nathan Thomas got on the ball.

From the left wing, he was di­rect and cre­ated a num­ber of open­ings, but there was a lack of at­tack­ers in the penalty area.

The clos­est they came was when de­fender Chris­tian Ribeiro chested the ball to his own goal­keeper Bobby Ole­jnik from close range.

Fel­low cen­tre-back Jamie McAl­lis­ter headed over his own bar from a Jor­dan Richards cor­ner, but it was 86 min­utes be­fore Pools man­aged a shot on tar­get of any note.

Left-back Jake Car­roll sent a low drive at goal­keeper Ole­jnik from dis­tance.

The Gre­cians broke away, Ni­cholls crossed and Grant got to the ball first to turn into the net from close range. Pools protested the ball didn’t cross the line af­ter it hit the bar, but the goal was in­stantly awarded.

It capped Pools’ sev­enth home de­feat of the sea­son. And boss Ron­nie Moore said :“We started well out there. The tempo was high, but we didn’t cre­ate too much. Then we huffed and puffed.

“There was noth­ing in the game in the first half, but their lad gets a free header in for a goal.

“In the se­cond half Nathan [Thomas] was a con­stant threat, he needed more ball, and the strik­ers have to be on the front foot.

“The crowd were be­hind us, but once we go two down it doesn’t mat­ter as we have lost 2-0.”



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