Evatt | We Must Learn Our Lessons

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Ian Evatt rued the lack of sufficient reward for a dominant first half and an ‘unacceptable’ few minutes at the start of the second as Wanderers left Exeter City with just a point, writes Pete Oliver.

The Whites did enough before the break at St James’ Park to potentially threaten a repeat of the 7-0 scoreline they pulled off when Exeter were beaten at Bolton in November.

But Evatt’s men scored only once through Paris Maghoma and then found themselves 2-1 down by the 49th-minute.

Wanderers were stung by two Sonny Cox goals with the first a real sucker-punch and it took an 87th-minute equaliser from Eoin Toal to rescue a 2-2 draw as the Whites slipped out of the automatic promotion places into third spot in League One.

“The first the first half was extremely dominant,” said Evatt. “We played really well, had lots of control and really spent most of the half in their third of the pitch. We just need more reward for that. One goal wasn't enough for the amount of dominance we had.

“In the second-half we just gave ourselves a mountain to climb. For the first goal individual mistakes happen and I'm never going to be one to chastise any individual. This is a group where we are together and when things happen and we do concede goals like that we have to pick ourselves up re-set and make sure it doesn't happen again.

“We didn't reset. We felt sorry for ourselves and three minutes later we had gone 2-1 down. That few minutes was unacceptable. It's tough to take. I can't deal with one (lapse), but not two, and that's on everybody because we did not reset well enough.

“We had to rally and find some sort of equilibrium with ourselves again and then in the last 15 minutes we were completely dominant. We got an equaliser and looking likely to go and win it.

“But we have to learn our lessons from that three minutes of the second-half and from the first half as well. For all our dominance, we have to score more goals.”

Toal’s fourth goal of the season completed a second comeback of the week as Wanderers extended their unbeaten run to three games as they now prepare for big back-to-back games against Oxford United and promotion-rivals Derby County in the coming week. 

Injuries are hitting hard with Victor Adeboyejo picking up a hamstring problem and potentially joining strike-partner Dion Charles - whose return has been delayed by a slight setback - on the sidelines.

But Evatt insists that Wanderers must stay positive and united as they look to stay in the thick of the promotion picture. The Wanderers boss added: “Every point is vital and we haven't got any given right to win any game, especially away from home.

"This has been a tough place to come for a while now but we had the game in the palm of our hands. We're thankful that we didn't lose it, but also frustrated that we didn't win.

"It is still tight and things can change really quickly, and now we have to focus on Oxford on Tuesday.

"It's going to go down to the wire, we know that, so we have to keep going forward, with the international break coming at a really important time.

"We are where we are and for us, it's staying together. Togetherness is key throughout the whole club.

"A point is important but we have to make sure that in the next two big games, we're ready to get the right results. There's a long way to go yet and we have to just keep moving forwards."

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