Danny Coles was delighted to notch a second derby win of the season on Saturday as Exeter City emerged as 3-1 victors against arch-rivals Plymouth Argyle at St James’ Park.
The win comes after City also beast Bristol Rovers on home turf on the opening day of the season. It is in stark contrast to last season, when Paul Tisdale’s side picked up just two points from 18 against Westcountry opposition.
Saturday’s win was all the sweeter given that it came against the Pilgrims, but Coles has no intention of stopping there and is targeting more derby success this campaign.
“It was a great win for us,” the Exeter captain said. “Like I have said in previous interviews, we knew last year our derby form wasn’t right. We didn’t get the results for the supporters and we are determined to make sure we keep getting results this season.
“I think that showed on Saturday where there was a lot of passion and a lot of fight from the boys and at the crucial times, the front boys were clinical in the second half and that was the difference.”
Arron Davies put Exeter in front with a thumping shot from 20 yards that flew into the top corner, but Luke Young levelled for the Pilgrims with a brilliant free kick.
But a moment of individual brilliance from Alan Gow set City on their way seven minutes from time before Scot Bennett wrapped up the points in stoppage time with a deserved goal after such a hard working performance as a makeshift striker.
“To have the legs to do that, to get the ball, play the one-two, get in the box, turn the kiddie [Paul Wotton] and then reverse it on the goalkeeper was unbelievable,” Coles said.
“Scoty is very clever with his movement. He gambles on things, he is very good at bringing other people into play with his hold up play and his flicks, he doesn’t just flick it and hope, he flicks it into an area where he knows defenders don’t want to go and where our players are going to go.
“I suppose that is the beauty of him playing in defence before. When he is flicking it on, he knows where the defenders don’t want to go. He is doing a great job for us up there and long may that continue.”
All the goals came in a fantastically open second half in which Argyle certainly played their part. However, the Grecians felt they should have had a first half penalty when Hamsa Bencherif clearly handballed inside the box after a Tommy Doherty shot had been blocked by Guy Branston.
It was the one talking point from a close first half, but City’s quality shone through in the end with three fantastic goals after the break.
“They were unbelievable goals, weren’t they? Arron’s went into the top corner, Alan put his in the top corner and then Scoty... incredible,” Coles said.
“Tis [Tisdale] said to us at half-time that we didn’t make enough passes which was exactly right. We made more passes in the second half and that made the difference.
“Once we start passing against teams, especially in this league, they struggle to get near us and we opened them with that in the second half.
“Obviously, there were a couple of great bits of skill from Alan on a couple of the goals, but it was the difference.
“I think the first half was 50-50 to be fair, but it was a massive performance from the boys.”
Coles also had a new defensive partner to get used to with former Crystal Palace and Southampton man Danny Butterfield debuting at right-back. The 33-year-old looked a really classy act, but his impressive performance did not surprise Coles.
“It goes to show the calibre of Danny really,” he said. “Obviously he has had a fantastic career and made a lot of appearances and I don’t think there was any doubt that he was going to just slot straight in. He was fantastic for us and long may that continue.”
WATCH THE GOALS AND HIGHLIGHTS HERE: