AN all-action performance from John O'Flynn was the catalyst for Exeter City's 2-0 midweek win over Wimbledon, according to manager Paul Tisdale.
The City boss was full of praise for his striker, who was given a recall to the starting line-up to partner Jamie Cureton up front.
O'Flynn's running and movement caused problems for Wimbledon throughout the 90 minutes. And although it was a cool finish from Cureton that put City into a first half lead, Tisdale was left in no doubt who the star performer was at the half-time break.
"I know Jamie scored the goal, but I did pick him (O'Flynn) out as the stand-out player of the first half. He epitomised what I think we needed."
O'Flynn did eventually get his goal in the second half, which Tisdale said was what the player needed as a reward for the hard work his has put in off the pitch in the last six months.
"He had a very disjointed year last season. I think he thoroughly deserves that type of performance, because he has completely dedicated himself to being mobile and fit and being all-action," he said.
"You need energy in your side and that comes from all sorts of types of player. His energy was from constant running and we have not really had that in the side since Adam Stansfield. Someone who is just going to drive and drive 90 minutes.
"I haven't seen a more dedicated professional at Exeter City for a long time, if not at all since I have been at the club."
It was O'Flynn's tenacity to steal possession off Dons' Yado Mambo that created the first chance of the match after six minutes.
He played the ball into Cureton on the edge of the box, but the City striker scuffed his effort at goal, allowing Seb Brown to make an easy save.
O'Flynn was in the thick of the action again on 18 minutes as he was sent tumbling to the ground by a clumsy challenge from Will Antwi in the Wimbledon box, but no penalty was given.
Frustrations grew further as Cureton had a close-range shot blocked and Liam Sercombe dragged a half-volley off target. Home fans must have been thinking it would be another hard luck story for the Grecians as missed chances and poor refereeing decisions cost them.
However, on 31 minutes the breakthrough came. Alan Gow played an excellent pass into the feet of Cureton and the 34-year-old showed all the composure needed to drill a shot across Brown and into the far corner of the net.
Wimbledon improved at the start of the second half, with substitute Stacy Long sending a couple of efforts narrowly off target.
However, slightly against the run of play, it was O'Flynn who made sure of the points. He was in the right place to sweep home a Scot Bennett header from a hopeful ball into the box. It was a scrappy goal, but one that delighted Tisdale.
"We have been talking to the players about scoring some ugly goals," he said. "I don't quite know what Scot Bennett was doing up in the six-yard box for that type of forward pass but he was. It was nice for me to see that type of goal because we need to score more of them."