Grecians show that there’s no hangover
PAUL Tisdale hailed his side’s mean streak as Exeter dismissed fears of a play-off hangover thanks to Reuben Reid’s early goal.
The Grecians stormed into the play-offs last season, having been bottom in November only to see their promotion dreams go up in smoke following defeat by Blackpool at Wembley.
But Exeter suggested they will be a force once again after a slick firsthalf attacking display was followed by a gritty defensive performance after the break.
Exeter chief Tisdale said: “The three points come first and the performance was certainly in a bracket that warranted a result.
“We were very committed, quick to the ball and aggressive with our approach.
“It was full-blooded and we got the early goal. We would like to have gone two-up, but we expected the onslaught and there were some big defensive performances out there.
“Pierce Sweeney made a brilliant challenge under the crossbar to preserve our clean sheet. That was as good as a goal.
“It was a good performance all round. We need to keep the tone and vigour we had last year which got us into the play-offs.”
Exeter were gifted a third minute penalty when Jake Carroll suffered a rush of blood and handled Jordan MooreTaylor’s cross.
Reid’s soft spot-kick was easily saved by David Forde but the striker reacted quickest to ram home the rebound.
David Wheeler almost put Exeter further ahead with a glancing header, which came back off the post.
A flowing Exeter move ended with Lloyd James ballooning the ball over the top when he should have hit the target.
And when Liam McAlinden arrived in the box to meet James’ cross, he opted to go with his head and the ball flew over.
Cambridge boss Shaun Derry made two changes at the break and his side carried a greater threat.
Luke Berry came the closest to rescuing a point but his volley flashed over the crossbar.
Cambridge went into the game boasting the best opening day record of all League Two teams but Derry said: “You can’t legislate for that start.
“It was an error out of the blue, a moment of madness that cost us the first goal.
“But as disappointed as I was with the handball, I was equally as disappointed that we didn’t react from Forde’s penalty save.
“You don’t want to lose your opening game, but we have seen a lot of positives.”