WHEELER FOR­TUNE FAVOURS GRE­CIANS

Vis­it­ing winger nets win­ner

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Daniel Shel­don

PAUL Tis­dale was left thrilled as Ex­eter etched their way into the play-off pic­ture with an im­pres­sive win over pro­mo­tion ri­vals Portsmouth.

The vic­tory for the Gre­cians saw them ex­tend their un­beaten run to ten matches, a run which in­cludes eight wins and two draws.

David Wheeler fired in his 11th goal of the sea­son early into the sec­ond half to move one ahead of Ol­lie Watkins as the club’s top scorer.

And Tis­dale praised his team’s abil­ity to stick to his game plan.

He said: “First and fore­most it was three points for us and keeps our mo­men­tum and our form go­ing.

“We were solid and built this vic­tory on team­work and no one tried to do their own thing, ev­ery­one played to the plan.

“We had ev­ery­one in the right place at the right time and we were tough and hard to beat which again gets us a clean sheet.

“It was a bril­liant fin­ish from Wheeler.

“It came about with some pin­ball stuff and just fell to him. It wasn’t our most beau­ti­fully worked goal but Wheeler took it won­der­fully well.

“The play­ers stood re­ally firm

and de­fended re­ally strongly and at 1-0 with 15 min­utes to go it was ei­ther go­ing to be a draw or a 2-0 vic­tory.”

The home team started brightly and were re­warded with their first chance of the game in the sixth minute.

Carl Baker’s low cross was met at the near post by the in-form Conor Chap­lin but the 19-yearold was un­able to di­rect his back-flick on tar­get as it went just wide of the post.

Ex­eter re­sponded with an ef­fort of their own min­utes later when Reuben Reid weaved his way into the penalty area be­fore his shot was de­nied by goal­keeper David Forde.

The Gre­cians had an­other chance on the stroke of half-time when Watkins at­tempted a spec­tac­u­lar over­head kick, but his ef­fort didn’t chal­lenge Forde.

Ex­eter’s per­sis­tence was re­warded 12 min­utes into the sec­ond half when they took the lead through Wheeler.

The ball fell to the winger in the box af­ter re­bound­ing off Pom­pey’s Danny Rose into the path of the 26-year-old, be­fore he saw his at­tempt soar into the roof of the net.

Portsmouth man­ager Paul Cook re­acted im­me­di­ately to the goal as he brought on Gary Roberts and Ja­mal Lowe two min­utes later in an at­tempt to ig­nite some­thing.

And they al­most had their equaliser in the 72nd minute when Gareth Evans had his sting­ing shot saved by Christy Pym in the Ex­eter goal.

Lowe, 22, al­most turned into the hero in the fi­nal mo­ments of the game but he couldn’t keep his header down af­ter Kal Nai­smith’s cor­ner.

The Pom­pey boss was left with no ex­cuses fol­low­ing the re­sult, which saw his side slip fur­ther be­hind the au­to­matic pro­mo­tion spots.

Cook said: “I don’t think any team had the as­cen­dancy and from a Portsmouth point of view it was one of our poor­est per­for­mances for a long time.

“We didn’t dom­i­nate the ball like we have done at home be­fore and nat­u­rally the fans got frus­trated which I un­der­stand.

“We aren’t go­ing to kid our sup­port­ers, it was a very poor, poor day for us.

“I’m not a man­ager to come out and crit­i­cise my play­ers but it took Ja­mal Lowe to come on off the bench to of­fer any kind of in­di­ca­tion that we might get back into the game.

“That is very sad for me, my staff and my play­ers that a young boy has to come off the bench to lift 17,000 Pom­pey fans.”

ON FIRE: David Wheeler cel­e­brates his goal

PIC­TURES: TGSPHOTO

RIS­ING HIGH:Jor­dan Moore-Tay­lor climbs over Michael Smith. In­set, Craig Wood­man of Ex­eter City and Carl Baker of Portsmouth tus­sle off the ball

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