CARL Fletcher called it ‘a good day’ but his post-derby interviews suggested he felt it was close to being a great one.The Pilgrims came away from St James Park with a point after Joe Lennox’s first goal in senior football midway through the second half cancelled out Liam Sercombe’s 34th-minute opener.
Joe’s curled shot came during a period of Argyle dominance which lasted most of the second half, sandwiched in between a jittery re-start and a nervy end following defender Maxime Blanchard’s sending-off.
Fletch said: “In the grand scheme of things, an away point in a derby game on the back of a home win last week is a good day.
“[Exeter] are in the play-off [positions] and they are there on merit – they are a good side, so we knew it would be tough.
“I was disappointed to go a goal down in the first half. We were in control of the game, and I think the goal was a little bit against the run of play.
“In the second half, we came out on the front foot and we did well. We put them under a lot of pressure and got the goal we deserved.”
The game was nearly up before that when, in a rare breakaway, Exeter striker Jamie Cureton was played in on goal by Argyle half-time substitute Robbie Williams’ indecisive header.
“We rode our luck a little bit,” said Fletch. “Jamie Cureton didn’t have his finishing-boots on today, which we’re delighted about.”
After that let-off, Argyle gradually upped the tempo to take charge of the game, and increased the pace with the introduction of forwards Nick Chadwick and Warren Feeney.
Fletch said: “You don’t want to go too gung-ho too early on. If you try to get an equaliser straight away, it could be 2-0 before you know it and game over.
“We had to still be professional and keep our shape, but once we got the ball down, we were on top.
“We made a couple of substitutions when we needed the goal. You want your subs to give you a little bit of impetus and it did.”
Despite the dominance, the Pilgrims could not find another goal and all but settled for a draw after Max was sent off for a second yellow card, bringing down John O’Flynn.
Fletch shad no arguments about referee Andy Woolmer’s decision. He said: “We didn’t mark properly at the throw-in; [O’Flynn]got through too easily; and Max has taken one for the team.”
The French defender will miss Saturday’s trip to Accrington, with Durrell Berry among those in contention for a recall.
Durrell could not win his place back following a suspension which saw him sit out the previous weekend’s 2-0 victory over York as Fletcher decided to go with the same defensive unit.
“It was a really tough decision and I wasn’t sure all week,” said Fletch, “but the back four did so well last week.
“It was our first clean sheet in a while and we won the game, so it was case of sticking with it.
“I spoke to Durrell and he understands. He’ll be looking for his opportunity to get back in, which he’ll probably get now Max is suspended. That’s the way football works.