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We used our bench correctly this time – Matt Taylor hails Exeter fightback

Bolton Wanderers v Exeter City – Sky Bet League Two – University of Bolton Stadium
(Image credit: Tim Markland)

Exeter manager Matt Taylor joked he used his substitutes correctly this time after his side staged a second-half fightback to clinch a 2-1 FA Cup first-round replay win over Bradford.

The tie was being played for the third time after the first replay was declared void due to Exeter inadvertently using six subs.

And, fittingly, it was a second-half replacement, George Ray, who settled the contest.

Bradford were in complete control in the first half, but only had Lee Angol’s superb strike to show for their efforts.

And a much-improved Exeter fought back to win in the second period, Tim Dieng equalising and Ray grabbing the winner nine minutes from time.

“I can’t repeat what I said (at half-time) because I’ll get into trouble in relation to that,” Taylor said.

“The players were frustrated and they were disappointed. No player wants to play poorly, but I just felt there were too many poor performances.

“We were deep on the pitch and around our own 18-yard box for a long period in that first half and I was delighted to get in at half-time at 1-0. I said to them that it had to stay 1-0 and it did.

“The early goal in the second half then settled any nerves and from then on, we were on the ascendency.

“Sometimes you have to endure difficult moments and that first half was certainly a difficult moment. Bradford dominated us.

“The conditions in the first half played a small part in that, but we were too far away from the blue shirts.

“We had more purpose and more intent in the second half and were the better team.

“We got stronger as the game went on and were able to utilise our bench in the correct manner this time around. But we’ve come away with a win, which I am delighted about.”

Bradford boss Derek Adams felt the tie should not have been replayed back at Exeter’s St James Park ground.

He said: “We had so many good opportunities and we didn’t take those opportunities.

“What has happened is it allows Exeter to get back into the game in the second half and two set-plays, which we don’t defend well enough, and they get the win.

“I do think the game should have played at a neutral venue because we have had to travel back down.

“We had done nothing wrong, the officials had made the mistake and allowed the sixth substitute to be put on to the pitch. Coming back here and having to play the game again is not the fairest outcome.

“It is a long journey back for us, not one we would have wanted to have done.”

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