Gre­cians end home hoodoo at last...

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

PAUL TISDALE ex­pressed re­lief and de­light in equal mea­sure as Ex­eter be­came the last side in the top four di­vi­sions to tri­umph at home.

The Gre­cians went into the game hav­ing won just three times at St James’ Park in 2016 and with­out a vic­tory since April.

But youth prod­uct Ol­lie Watkins bagged a dou­ble to give the home faith­ful some­thing to shout about head­ing into the fes­tive pe­riod.

It wasn’t the sim­ple vic­tory the score­line sug­gests with Ex­eter hav­ing a stran­gle­hold on the game in the first half be­fore hav­ing to weather a storm in the sec­ond.

Nonethe­less Tisdale was thrilled with a win that ex­tends his side’s un­beaten run to four games.

“I am de­lighted, as I am sure you can imag­ine, as the home record was spo­ken about again here,” he said. “It had to come at some point and thank­fully it did.

“It was hideous to watch! I en­joyed the last two min­utes, but it was hard work and the boys have de­served it in terms of the way they have gone about their work.

“Mans­field are a very strong team and they didn’t half put us un­der pres­sure in the sec­ond half. They out­played us, but we stuck to it and it was a great per­for­mance.”

Watkins struck the opener in the 19th minute, ram­ming home Lee Holmes’ cross.

The hosts al­most dou­bled their lead but Rhys Bennett’s last­ditch clear­ance de­nied Reuben Reid his 100th ca­reer goal.

Ex­eter carved out a steady stream of first-half chances with Holmes and Watkins both go­ing close.

But Mans­field stirred from their slum­ber af­ter the break only to watch in frus­tra­tion as Troy Brown and Jor­dan Moore-Tay­lor made goal-sav­ing blocks.

Jake Tay­lor wasted a chance to seal it be­fore Watkins made sure with an ac­com­plished 90th-minute fin­ish into the bot­tom cor­ner.

Mans­field were re­duced to ten men in stop­page time when Malvind Ben­ning picked up a sec­ond yel­low card.

Stags boss Steve Evans said: “You saw the best and worst of us. In the first half we were nowhere near the level we should be at, but we dom­i­nated the sec­ond half.

“But you can’t miss the chances we missed. There were open goals and sim­ple head­ers – it was costly.

“You sim­ply can­not ex­pect to turn up at half-time and ex­pect to win any foot­ball match what­ever league you are play­ing in.”


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