Reflections on opening day defeat at Exeter
Manager John Ward saw his side go down by the odd goal in three in Saturday’s opening fixture at Exeter and had this to say afterwards.
“It was a frustrating afternoon, really, because I felt we were capable of going back home with something from the game.
“It might not have been all three points, but we could easily have shared the spoils with the home side.
“However, we got a little bit excited, at least one or two of our young boys did, and went on to try and win the game when the score was 1-1.
“We need to calm down at times and know how to get a win or a point.
“However I don’t think my team could try, or work, any harder. We looked pretty well organised, but were a little bit loose in possession at times and that cost us the second goal.”
Rovers didn’t play particularly well in the opening 45 minutes, but their second half performance should have seen them take a point. Only a goal line clearance by Danny Coles, from a last minute John-Joe O’Toole effort, denied them.
“We worked hard to get back on level terms and while Exeter boss Paul Tisdale might say that his team deserved the win, had it finished 2-2 I don’t think anyone could have complained. It didn’t happen for us, though, so we have to pick ourselves up and go again.”
There were positives to take from the performance, particularly the display of young Alefe Santos, on as a second half substitute.
“Alefe Santos will be bouyed by his deliveries into the box and his trickery on the wing. He’ along with the other young lads in the squad are going to be good players but, at the moment, I don’t think I’m going to
get, say, six consecutive games out of them and we will need to use them sparingly.”
Rovers’ first goal of the new season was scored by Eliot Richards.
“Eliot has a goal in him and he enjoys that front position. That’s why we changed things when we took Mitch off.”
With ten players on the injured list, and none of them set for an immediate return, John has no scope for changing things.
“We can’t bring anyone else in because of the wage cap, so we go with what we have.
“I’m not complaining, the situation is what it is, and I don’t think I could have done any more with the side I put out there today.
“Now we look forward to Tuesday, and the match against Watford. It’s a great game for our boys, though I just wish we were going into it with a point or three on the board.”
John’s full post match interview, and also one with Mitch Harding, can be heard on Gas Player.