Tis: Keep calm and reach the play-offs

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

MAN­AGER Paul Tis­dale chal­lenged his play­ers to hold their nerve as Ex­eter’s play­off hopes suf­fered a blow with a first home de­feat since Novem­ber against Ac­cring­ton.

Sea­mus McCar­tan broke the dead­lock in the 11th minute after dis­patch­ing a 20-yard free-kick for his fourth goal in his last six games.

And Ac­cring­ton sealed their fourth away win of the sea­son thanks to Matty Pear­son’s sec­ond-half header as John Cole­man’s side moved nine points clear of the drop zone.

Ex­eter re­main in the play-off places de­spite win­ning just one of their last six games and Tis­dale urged his side to re­lax as they at­tempt to re­cap­ture the form that saw them go 12 games un­beaten be­tween the end of Novem­ber and be­gin­ning of Fe­bru­ary.

The Gre­cians chief said: “It wasn’t good enough.

“We con­ceded two poor goals, we were edgy and were try­ing too hard. We rushed things too much.

“I am dis­ap­pointed but there are ten games to go and we have to keep our nerve.

“We need to find a way of get­ting some form back and re­turn to our best.

“We looked stressed but we can’t panic. We have to re­lax be­cause we have won noth­ing.

“Achiev­ing a play-off spot is our base­line and we will do it by trust­ing each other and play­ing to our best. We didn’t do that here.”

Ac­cring­ton seized the early ini­tia­tive and got the break­through when McCar­tan lifted a free­kick over the Ex­eter wall and into the top cor­ner.

The Gre­cians fi­nally came to life in the 41st minute and David Wheeler’s header forced Marek Ro­dak into a stun­ning one-handed save.

But Pear­son wrapped up the win in the 71st minute after head­ing home McCar­tan’s deep cor­ner.

And Cole­man chal­lenged his side to fin­ish the sea­son with a flour­ish.

“We wanted to put them un­der pres­sure early on and we scored a great free-kick,” said Cole­man.

“I was dis­ap­pointed with our pass­ing in the first half and there were some harsh words at half-time.

“We asked more ques­tions in the sec­ond half and de­served to win. But Ex­eter are a bright team and they will be in the mix at the end of the sea­son.

“For us, we have to be mind­ful we are in a rel­e­ga­tion fight but we have got to be look­ing to fin­ish as high as we can.

“If we can fin­ish strongly, we can climb to a re­spectable po­si­tion in the ta­ble.”

M

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