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Tis pleased with a point and players' mental toughness

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

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AN 84th minute penalty from Alan Gow saw Exeter City extend their unbeaten start to 2013 to four games as they snatched a point from the Devon derby at Plainmoor.

Torquay United, looking to pick up their first win since December 1, started the better and took the lead when Rene Howe scored from the penalty spot after 15 minutes.

But a patient and gutsy second-half performance from City saw them eventually get back on terms when Gow was sent tumbling in the area with six minutes to go.

"It was a good game and a really good performance by the team," said Paul Tisdale. "We are getting stronger and stronger mentally.

"There was a lot more resolve and our decision making when we were a goal down was very good.

"They (the players) played the tactics well. Whether the tactics were right, were not for them to decide, but the players did what they were asked to do and made a lot of big decisions."

Tisdale made a number of changes to the starting line-up handing Giullem Bauza his first league start of the season.

Matt Oakley, Jimmy Keohane and Gow were all dropped to the bench, despite recent good performances.

Tisdale defended his decision saying that, on a heavy pitch, it would have been better to introduce the in form players when the game became stretched in the second half.

However, his plan was slightly disrupted by the fact that John O'Flynn, one of the in form players who did keep his starting place, went off injured after nine minutes.

"John O'Flynn getting injured was a big blow for us, because he is on top form and with Jamie (Cureton) being off the pitch as well it meant we were short in that area, said Tisdale. "It was always going to be the case that Matt Oakley, Alan Gow and Jimmy Keohane were going to come on in the second half. I hoped that they were going to come on at 0-0 or 1-0 to us. I certainly wasn't planning to play Alan Gow as a lone strike, but you have to adapt as a team."

City were dealt another blow after quarter of an hour when Tommy Doherty handled the ball in the area. City players appealed that he was pushed, by Rene Howe, in the lead up to the infringement, but Tisdale had no complaints.

"It was a long way from me, I couldn't see the handball but I was told he did hand ball it. Some of our players believe Tommy was pushed prior to the handball, but what can you do? The referee gives it and you have got to take it. The Alan Gow penalty, was it a penalty? What difference does it make. The referee has given it so you move on."

After the introduction of Gow at the start of the second half, City were much better. Keohane tested Michael Poke with a back-heel and Gow sent another effort narrowly wide of the left hand post.

"The players came in feeling that they could have won it with five minutes to go and I sort of agree with them in a way." added Tisdale.

"I'm pleased with the way we got the point, but I think everybody just feels a little frustration that perhaps we didn't win it."

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