Grecians end home hoodoo at last...
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.”
STAR MAN OLLIE WATKINS Exeter