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Tisdale satisfied with hard-won point as conditions conspire against Exeter

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 04, 2013

Exeter City

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Paul Tisdale felt that Saturday's goalless draw with Aldershot Town was a point gained rather than two dropped for his Exeter City side.

The Grecians were not helped by playing into a low, blinding sun in the first half or by a pitch that was heavy and not conducive to the brand of football Tisdale's team like to play.

Add to that the style of play of Dean Holdsworth's side, a fussy referee and 90 minutes where every bounce of the ball seemed to favour the opposition, it was a largely forgettable afternoon at the Park, where the fare was none too pleasing on the eye.

"We would like to have won the game, but we defended extremely well. It's a point gained and I'm satisfied," Tisdale said.

"I said to the players at half-time that I was really pleased with them because they stood up and they weren't pushed around. They defended the box extremely well again – that is one goal we have conceded in open play this year now – and we had a couple of shots at goal, which was a fraction of the shots we had on Monday.

"We picked it up in the second half and we tried to build something in the second half and became more attacking as the conditions became more neutral and we continued to play against a side that are very tough and very resilient.

"I think they have lost only one of the last nine away games, taking aside the FA Cup games, and it was very hard to penetrate on a pitch you couldn't pass on.

"The pitch was lifeless today and it was the first time it has been difficult to play on. It has dried out and we actually needed some rain on the surface to speed it up, so the conditions were very difficult."

Tisdale added: "It's really hard because the pitch is lifeless and bumpy and the game is all about one or two passes and hit it forward. Danny Coles has lost every toss and we are desperate to play a game where the sun is not in our eyes!

"It is reminiscent of the days when [former City captain] Chris Todd used to lose every toss as well, so I am hoping we can crack it at the toss and give ourselves a chance on a day like today.

"They put the ball in the air with long throws and the long free-kicks, which they were good at, and we defended those situations extremely well. But to then get the ball on the deck and move it crisply when it has been moving slowly is difficult, so I'm asking the players to adapt their game.

"You're hoping to pick on something, be it a mistake or to beat the offside trap, but when we did beat the offside trap in the first half, we needed Jamie Cureton to stand still because Guillem Bauza was in, but he [Cureton] made a step towards the ball and got flagged.

"We say that, in that situation, the striker needs to be more overt with his attempts not to go for the ball. Those moments are important."

The City boss elected to start top scorer Jamie Cureton against the Shots, after leaving him out of the side and on the bench for an hour of Monday's derby defeat. That decision led to much criticism of Tisdale's selection, but he felt that choice was justified with Exeter creating even fewer chances against the Shots.

"It just didn't happen for us today and it makes a nonsense of the ridiculous comments we had on Monday night about not playing with an out-and-out striker when we had three times the shots on goal on Monday night.

"We played against the referee and we played against a lot of supporters that do not believe in the side. When you put those things together, it makes things incredibly difficult."

Tisdale denied that he was unhappy with some of the comments from supporters in the Old Grandstand, when he was seen to react in their direction at the full-time whistle.

"No, I was thanking them for their wonderful support," he said. "If that is seen in any other way, I was only going the extra yard to let them know how wonderful their support has been and to let it continue."

In Pictures: Exeter City v Aldershot

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