Gre­cians show that there’s no hang­over

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

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.”

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