Port Vale manager Darren Moore has urged his relegation-threatened side to put their disappointment of surrendering a two-goal lead against Exeter into their next outing.

Ethan Chislett and Baylee Dipepa both got their names on the scoresheet to put the Valiants firmly in charge at half-time, but two goals for Millenic Alli and one each for Zak Jules and Luke Harris earned the Grecians a 4-2 victory.

Moore was appointed Vale manager in February with the aim of beating the drop from League One, but his team are now three points from safety with just three games remaining – starting with the visit of Wycombe on Tuesday.

“It’s about putting all that energy and anger into Tuesday,” he said.

“I think that’s the only way really because ultimately coming against and fighting against each other, that’s not the way.

“It’s a case of sticking together and making sure that we take an opportunity to put the wrongs of the second half – and I only talk about the last 40 minutes here – right on Tuesday.”

Vale’s final two fixtures see them travel to Bolton before playing host to Cambridge on the last day of the season.

“We have to keep going because just when we think that we’ve figured this game out and this industry out, it can just turn its head,” Moore said.

“And that’s the thing, when we all surmise how things are going to go, football has a knack of turning things on its head, which you saw today from the first half to the second half.

“It’s just a crazy game that we work in but, again, we have to apply ourselves really because we know what we have to do on Tuesday.”

Exeter remain in 12th place, on 58 points, despite extending their unbeaten run to eight matches.

Manager Gary Caldwell was delighted with the character shown by his side to turn the game round after the break.

“The less said about the first half, the better,” the Scot said.
“The second half was probably one of our best performances of the season, the way we understood how to win the game. And there was no change, we didn’t change anything tactically.

“We obviously made a couple of personnel changes and made more throughout the second half, and I thought all the finishers were outstanding.

“But second half, the way we attacked – the speed, the physicality – we could have scored more goals. I thought we were outstanding.”

Exeter last suffered defeat in early March and Caldwell was full of praise for his team’s form since then, winning five and drawing three.

“We’ve had options from the bench so when things aren’t quite going to plan, we have people who are ready and able to come on and make an impact on the game,” he said.

“In the first half of the season we didn’t have that often enough for a number of different reasons, but in the second half of the season we have.”

Port Vale remain in the League One relegation zone after surrendering a two-goal lead to lose 4-2 against in-form Exeter.

Goals from Ethan Chislett and Baylee Dipepa put the Valiants firmly in charge at half-time, but two goals for Millenic Alli and one each for Zak Jules and Luke Harris earned the visitors – now unbeaten in eight matches – victory and leaves their opponents three points from safety.

Vale came close to opening the scoring in the 13th minute when Ben Garrity was denied by Viljami Sinisalo from close range after bringing down Chislett’s measured pass over the top.

And the hosts went in front just after the half-hour mark as a cleared corner was volleyed home brilliantly by Chislett from outside the area.

Their advantage was doubled in the 40th minute, with 17-year-old Dipepa cutting in from the right and guiding a left-footed shot past Sinisalo.

Alli nearly pulled a goal back for Exeter within moments of the restart, but his attempt from Yanic Wildschut’s delivery was saved by Connor Ripley.

The striker did find the net, though, in the 57th minute, with his deflected effort looping over Ripley.

Substitute Jules brought the Grecians level 10 minutes later, firing the ball in from Ryan Woods’ corner, and the comeback was complete in the 79th minute as Harris smashed a volley beyond Ripley from Pedro Borges’ lovely flicked pass.

Alli tapped in from Ilmari Niskanen’s cross late on to add extra gloss to the scoreline.

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter wants his team to take the experience of winning in France into their tough Champions Cup meeting with Toulouse on Sunday.

The Chiefs fought back to beat Bath 21-15 last week to book their spot in the quarter-finals but now have the challenge of facing five-time champions Toulouse at the Stade Ernest-Wallon.

Exeter are underdogs heading into the clash but are familiar with the feeling of winning in France, having kicked off their Champions Cup campaign with a thrilling 19-18 victory over Toulon in December.

Baxter knows the size of the task ahead of his team but thinks the result earlier in the season has instilled the belief to do something similar this weekend.

Speaking at a press conference, Baxter said: “The Toulon game was something that created an element of belief of ‘we are doing the right things and heading in the right direction’ amongst the players and you need that.

“I think it gives the players an element of belief that we can do it, go over there and play the big sides, but I also think it gives them a level of looking forward to it because, without doubt when you go and experience the atmosphere, the noise level at the end of the game was incredible for anyone who was there.

“That’s created the excitement and nervous anticipation around the squad this week in training which is exactly what you want to be.”

Exeter responded well to beat Bath on Saturday after they were thrashed 41-5 at the hands of Sale the week before.

Baxter revealed the players had clear-the-air discussions prior to their win last week, but the Chiefs boss now wants his side to back up the result with another good performance.

He added: “As a team the lads have got to do the hardest thing to do in sport and get to a really competitive level for two weeks running.

“At the same time that’s how you win trophies, winning trophies or big games is when you put back-to-back big performances in semi-final to final or last-16 to quarter-final, that’s how things have to happen if you want to win.”

France’s key man Antoine Dupont will be in action for Toulouse and will undoubtedly be highlighted as a key threat for Baxter’s men to deal with.

Baxter said: “If you know the opposition nine is a particular threat in the team, the focus isn’t necessarily on the nine it’s the things that allow him to be a threat.

“Dealing with Dupont will be very difficult if we don’t deal with the other platforms but that goes for any decent player.

“If we can challenge them in that way, that’s how you potentially limit his opportunities. You can create an environment which is harder for him to show it, that’s how we have to approach the game.”

Richie Wellens blamed his side’s lack of experience after his Leyton Orient side, who finished with 10 men, drew 2-2 with Exeter at Brisbane Road.

Orient were holding a comfortable two-goal lead with Ollie O’Neill and substitute George Moncur on the scoresheet.

But the context of the game changed when Brandon Cooper was forced off with injury during the second half leaving Orient, who had already used all their substitutes, to battle out the final 20 minutes a man down.

Orient were then penned in and around their own penalty area and the Grecians finally broke through a resilient rearguard action with a Millenic Alli header before Will Aimson got the final touch to Tommy Carroll’s shot to salvage a point.

“I thought it wasn’t a great game in terms of quality,” said Wellens.

“Both teams gave too many turnovers, especially us. When we go into a 2-0 lead and down to 10 men, it’s a problem. But it should only be a small problem and we just lacked experience.

“The schedule and the amount of extra time we’ve played is hard for everyone and I think every single club have lost a lot more players this season. For us, losing another two players to injury tonight was not ideal. We always wanted to give Dan Agyei half an hour but losing two players made us run the risk with substitutions.

“We’ve got certain players out of contract and some players are not improving, so we’ve got some decisions to make in the summer.

“The game tonight was comfortable for us but the injuries and the lack of bodies we had before tonight was severe. But it’s extreme now, we’ll have a patched-up team for Derby on Saturday.”

Exeter boss Gary Caldwell admitted it was a hard-earned point.

“We had to work extremely hard for the point to come back from behind,” he acknowledged.

“I thought the first half was fairly even. We started the game well but then Orient came back into it. I wanted a bit more intensity and I thought we got that second half.

“The two goals we gave away were extremely poor from our point of view and they didn’t create many chances outside of them.

“Late on I thought we created enough chances to win the game, so it was great fight and spirit from us to keep the unbeaten run going. It’s another point on the board but we wanted more so we now need to look at the remaining three games to see what we can take out of them.

“We put a lot of balls into their box and it was a backheel I think from our centre-half Will Aimson for the equaliser from a brilliant short corner, but at that moment we were creating lots of opportunities.

“But to be 2-0 down and come back, I’m delighted.”

Exeter scored twice in the final eight minutes to earn a point as Leyton Orient were forced to play out the final stages with 10 men due to Brandon Cooper’s injury.

Ollie O’Neill and George Moncur scored for the hosts but the Grecians salvaged a point through Millenic Alli and Tommy Carroll.

The deadlock was broken in the 36th minute by O’Neill, who scored direct from a corner on the left when his set-piece delivery eluded everyone in a crowded penalty area and found the far corner of the net.

The Os doubled their lead in the 64th minute when O’Neill intercepted an intended clearance and fed unmarked substitute Moncur, who slotted the ball home from close range.

After Orient, having used all five substitutes, were reduced to 10 men by the loss of Cooper, Exeter camped in and around the opposition penalty area and reduced the deficit when substitute Alli headed home on 88 minutes.

Four minutes later, a Carroll shot nestled in the back of the net from a deflection off an Orient player.

Stevenage manager Steve Evans says his side will not give up the fight for a Sky Bet League One play-off place despite going down to a 1-0 defeat at Exeter.

An error by goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond, who saw his clearance charged down by Exeter striker Sonny Cox and finished off by Reece Cole, led to the only goal of the game and the defeat leaves Evans’ men six points adrift of the play-off places with four games remaining.

“It’s a harsh result,” he said. “The goalkeeper has made a huge error, he got away with it twice with a lack of focus, lack of concentration. He’s been very good for us, but that wasn’t his normal self today.

“We are chasing the game then, but we create wonderful chances. (Alex) McDonald is through one-on-one and puts it in the keeper’s arms; Jamie Reid, who has been phenomenal for us, misses what you’d call a simple header and we have had two or three off the line.

“We have dominated the whole second half and it is disappointing, but it is not just today where we have dropped out of the play-off race, it’s been over four or five weeks because if you don’t score goals, you don’t win football matches.

“Football is a strange game and if someone had said to me when I joined this football club two years ago we will be five games from the end of season at Exeter and disappointed not to put yourself back in the play-off group in League One, you’d have thought you’re in dreamland. But when you have achieved something, you always want more.”

Exeter boss Gary Caldwell was delighted as his side moved into the top half and, with 54 points, they are all but certain of playing League One football again next season when things looked much bleaker for the Grecians just before Christmas.

“It takes time and fortunately, this football club understands that because this season has not been a linear process, there have been highs and lows and I think if you give people who are working extremely hard the time to make it happen, then you can see the results,” Caldwell said.

“I did my pro licence with Steve Evans, I know how competitive he is, how many promotions he has won and he always builds successful teams and they have had an incredible season.

“We knew we were in for a tough day and had to stand up to their physicality and they are pushing for a lot in terms of what they can achieve this campaign, but I thought we stood up to it and our character, our determination and our team spirit was incredible.

“But we have to be better. There are areas of our game where we have to improve and recognise where the space is, where the free player is. But to be able to do that from a winning position is far better than losing, so full credit to the players for that.”

Exeter moved into the top half of the Sky Bet League One table with a 1-0 win that dented Stevenage’s hopes of making the play-offs.

After a cagey opening, it was Boro that created the first chance with Alex MacDonald finding himself with only Viljami Sinisalo to beat, but Exeter’s Finnish goalkeeper was equal to a shot that was straight at him.

Exeter responded with Luke Harris sliding in at the near post to poke a Dion Rankine cross at Taye Ashby-Hammond, while Reece Cole was off target with a curling shot from 20 yards out.

However, the deadlock was broken in the 39th minute when – for the third time in the game – Sonny Cox charged down a clearance by Ashby-Hammond and Cole cleverly guided the ball into an empty net from 25 yards for his seventh goal of the season.

Former Grecian Jamie Reid almost equalised at the start of the second half, but Sinisalo made a brilliant double save, while Rankine smashed a good chance into the side netting from an acute angle for Exeter.

Reid was off target with a glancing header as Stevenage pushed for an equalising goal, but other than a cross that flashed across the face of goal, they rarely threatened Sinisalo in the Exeter goal.

Exeter manager Gary Caldwell felt the draw was a fair result as his side failed to capitalise on a near-perfect start in the 1-1 stalemate with Charlton.

Ben Purrington’s sixth-minute goal against his former club was the first time Exeter had scored in the opening 15 minutes of a home league game since October 2021 but they let Charlton off the hook by sitting on that lead.

It came back to haunt them as Chuks Aneke’s header went in off Grecians defender Cheick Diabate with just three minutes remaining and it could have been worse for Exeter had Alfie May’s stoppage-time strike not hit the upright.

Caldwell said: “I think it was probably a fair result. I think both teams might think they could have won it.

“I want us to be better over the course of the game; I thought our start in the game was fantastic and the personality we showed right from kick-off, the bravery to play our way, the patterns of play we had worked on all week were killing them.

“We scored a brilliant goal and then we stopped doing what we did to get in front. We made it a 50-50 game. We lost our composure.

“When we give it away playing out, we then become edgy at doing that. I think it’s a lesson that we have to stick to the process. We have to keep doing the things that got us in front in the game and not turn the game into a 50-50 game.

“We’re four games unbeaten but we need to be better.”

Charlton boss Nathan Jones was left with mixed emotions.

He said: “I am just disappointed. If we had started the game better and just been a bit more front-footed and cleared our lines a bit and taken the game to them in the first 10 minutes, we wouldn’t have lost the game.

“We were good first half and created enough chances and moved the ball well but 1-0 puts a different spin on stuff.

“Second half we came out and went after it in the first six, seven minutes and then the game evened out and it wasn’t until I made the changes that we looked like we were going to score.

“Then we finally get the goal and continued to go for it, we went for the win and should have won it at the end. The positives are that we are another game unbeaten, it is another point and we will keep going.

“I wanted us to be front-footed and come out of the blocks but we were a mile off what we have been in recent weeks. Now we have got three home games where I really want us to be front-footed.”

Exeter manager Gary Caldwell hailed a terrific team performance as his 10 men took a giant leap towards League One safety with a 1-0 win over Burton at St James Park.

Reece Cole struck the only goal of the game, in the 41st minute, before Exeter’s Zak Jules was sent off as the players walked down the tunnel at half-time for an incident unseen.

But Exeter dug deep and held firm as Burton pressed for an equaliser, although the Brewers were just as vulnerable on the counter-attack in an end-to-end encounter.

“I thought we started the game really well and we should have scored in the first 15 minutes, we created real clear-cut chances and if we score one of them then the game is totally different,” Caldwell said.

“We then got a bit frustrated midway through the half before we picked it up again and scored an amazing goal with how we wanted to play.

“I didn’t see the incident at half-time, I didn’t see that, but we lost a player and in the second half, the character, the determination and team spirit and understanding of how we wanted to play the game and see the game out was absolutely outstanding.

“They had one moment where they hit the bar, but they didn’t create much else and the way the people inside the stadium stood up in that last 15 minutes when everyone was on their knees – myself included – was fantastic. The players on the park were putting everything in and they needed the supporters to get behind them and they certainly did.”

Deji Oshilaja and John Brayford both hit the bar for Burton, while Antwoine Hackford passed up a good chance.

Frustrated Albion boss Martin Paterson said: “It’s very simple to explain – it was one of the softest goals I have ever seen conceded, a simple give-and-go that can’t happen in professional football; wing-backs getting done on the inside, a cut-back and people not tracking their runners.

“All of a sudden, we are 1-0 down and the problem then is that we don’t score goals. I don’t know the statistic or how many opportunities we had inside the six-yard box to put the ball in the back of the net, I have to be careful I am not hanging anyone personally out to dry, but it will be me that has to take it in the chin.

“I have no problem with that, but the issue is that we don’t take opportunities to score goals. We have to find a way and it is hard to explain because we had, in my opinion, five or six clear-cut opportunities at goal and have not scored one.

“It’s unacceptable from myself and from the team. We broke them down, we had a one-v-one, John Brayford hit the bar and there were crosses that should have been converted but we didn’t score and it’s hard to defend that.”

Ten-man Exeter gave their League One survival hopes a huge boost with a hard fought 1-0 win against relegation rivals Burton.

Reece Cole scored the only goal in the 41st minute but City had to play the entire second half with 10 men after Zak Jules was sent off for an incident in the tunnel as the players made their way off at half-time.

Exeter started well and should have been in front inside four minutes, but Luke Harris skied Ilmari Niskanen’s pull-back over the bar.

The deadlock was broken in the 41st minute after a lovely Exeter move. Jack Aitchison played a fine ball to Niskanen and he picked out Cole with a perfect cut-back, and he made no mistake from 12 yards for his fifth goal of the season.

Burton responded well with Deji Oshilaja’s header crashing back off the crossbar, but it took the Brewers 25 minutes of the second half to really get going and when they did, Antwoine Hackford was put in on goal but shot wide when under pressure from Niskanen.

John Brayford crashed a shot against the underside of the crossbar but despite eight minutes added at the end, the Grecians held firm for a deserved win.

Exeter boss Gary Caldwell was delighted after his side secured a 3-0 victory over Shrewsbury to move 10 points clear of the League One relegation zone.

Shrewsbury were dealt a blow in the seventh minute when referee David Rock showed a red card to winger Jordan Shipley for a two-footed challenge on Ryan Woods.

And the Grecians took full advantage with Will Aimson, Luke Harris and Jack Aitchison all scoring before half-time to secure a first win in six games.

Grecians boss Caldwell said: “I was delighted. The red card changed the game, and it actually made it harder in some respects.

“In terms of how deep Shrewsbury then sat in, it could have potentially been a really long night.

“When we created opportunities, we were ruthless with our finishing, and our goals were fantastic.

“I thought, in the second half again, we could be a bit better in our final third play, take a bit more risk, and create more opportunities.

“The size of the game and where we both are in the league, I can’t be happier about what the players did and the result.

“When we went into tight areas and played intricate football in and around the box I thought we played we were very good.

“I just said to the players there is eight games to go they are all massive games and we want to win as many points as we can.”

Shrewsbury are three points worse off than Exeter following their third defeat in four outings.

Boss Paul Hurst was furious with the decision to send off Shipley.

“I can’t say what I really think,” Hurst said.

“I think we may as well stop playing football if that’s a red card.

“I am not saying it’s not a red card for Woods at all – but if anything, he is the one that ends up higher on Shipley.

“When the referee blew up, I thought he gave a free-kick to us. And my gut from the side is that honestly – and admittedly, I was a distance away – but it was Woods who was slightly late on it, and Shipley got there first.

“Then for the red card I was genuinely thinking it was for their player and for it to turn out for Jordan was baffling.

“It spoils the night for everyone and at 10 men we need to give it a go. But like I said they are good in possession and that is the type of team you don’t want to go down to 10 men to.”

Exeter manager Gary Caldwell piled praise on 19-year-old Sonny Cox after his double earned a 2-2 draw with Bolton – and then joked he was pleased to have already tied the forward to a new contract.

The promotion-chasing Trotters were in complete control of the first half but led only 1-0 courtesy of Paris Maghoma’s strike.

Within 10 seconds of the restart Cox lashed a stunning dipping half-volley into the net to draw Exeter level and four minutes later he held off Ricardo Santos before drilling a superb left-footed shot into the net from 20 yards to turn the game on its head.

Bolton recovered to earn a point through Eoin Toal’s late header, but there was no doubting the star of the show.

“The first goal gave us belief and hope in the game and it was a fantastic finish,” Caldwell said. “His composure, his quality – the keeper probably makes it easier for him, but he still has a lot to do to put it in the goal and it was fantastic.

“His second goal – you probably won’t see a better goal than that in League One all season in terms of a number nine playing against a very quick centre-half, knows he is coming down on him, but the way he shifted the ball from in to out to open up the angle and then the quality of the strike, the power, the precision – it was a sensational goal.

“I am delighted for him and I am delighted we got his contract signed before he did it! There are many more goals to come from Sonny Cox in red and white.

“The early goal helped with that and in the second half we stepped on to things, we were much more aggressive and played the way we wanted to play and we caused them all sorts of problems.”

Bolton boss Ian Evatt was left to rue not putting the game to bed after such a dominant first half from his side.

“In the first half we were fantastic, dominated the game and had massive control, but when you have that much dominance and control you have to turn that into reward and goals and we didn’t,” he said.

“At half-time it was silent here because we had that much control and dominance and we conceded an absolutely crazy goal after half-time. We didn’t reset, that is a collective issue, and then it becomes two, which is unacceptable.

“But, again, great credit to them. They have somehow found a way to rally last 15 minutes and looked the most likely to win it after the equaliser.

“We have hit the bar and had other opportunities where we have not linked that final pass or our finishing has been off.

“That was the case on Tuesday in the second half and we have to be better. When you are away from home and dominate like that, you have to turn it into goals and we didn’t.”

Bolton rescued a dramatic late point in a 2-2 draw at Exeter following a rousing second half.

Bolton were in almost complete control of the first period but only had one goal to show for their efforts, Alan Sheehan pulling the ball back for Paris Maghoma to sweep in from 12 yards after 34 minutes.

Exeter levelled within 10 seconds of the restart as, from kick-off, Ben Purrington headed a Pierce Sweeney long ball into the path of Sonny Cox and he lobbed Joel Coleman from 20 yards.

Exeter went 2-1 up four minutes later when Cox was played in on goal and he lashed a stunning left-footed shot into the roof of the net.

Cox was denied a hat-trick by Coleman’s instinctive close-range save, but Bolton levelled in the 88th minute when Jack Iredale delivered a superb cross which was headed in by Eoin Toal.

Substitute Mo Eisa almost won it in stoppage time for Exeter, but his shot on the turn was superbly saved by Coleman, while Iredale was denied by an equally good save by Vili Sinisalo at the other end in a breathless finish to the match.

Exeter wing and Gladiators star Jodie Ounsley has targeted a place in the England 15s squad after hanging up her super-hero outfit and changing back into a rugby kit.

The 23-year-old from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, is already an England Sevens international and has set the bar high following her exploits as Fury on the revamped BBC show.

Ounsley, who became the first deaf woman to play for a senior England rugby side in 2019, told the PA news agency ahead of International Women’s Day: “I was straight back into rugby the week after filming finished last summer, but because of my injury I’ve been out.

“Quite a lot of people thought I’d given up rugby, which is not the case at all. I’m full-time rugby and part-time Gladiator.

“I’d love to do another Gladiators series, but right now it’s all rugby for me. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’d love to be involved with the Red Roses 15s.

“I’m focused on getting back fit, hopefully getting some game-time in the Premiership with Exeter and then who knows?”

The multi-talented Ounsley is a former British jiu-jitsu champion, five-time world junior coal-carrying champion and represented Great Britain at the 2017 Deaf Olympics in the 100m and 200m sprints, aged just 16.

But after scoring a length-of-the-field try with her very first touch in her first rugby match for local club Sandal, she was hooked on the 15-a-side game and never looked back.

Ounsley was included in the England Sevens squad while at first professional club Loughborough Lightning and was snapped up by Sale Sharks in 2020 before joining her third top-flight club, Exeter Chiefs, in 2022.

“There’s so much competition in the Red Roses, especially the back three, so I’m not putting any expectation on it,” she said.

“I’m just going to work hard and let’s see what happens. First of all I just want to get back on the pitch and see where I can go with it.”

 

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Ounsley has long been blazing a trail for the deaf community and, since starring in Gladiators, her popularity has transcended to a wider audience.

She is grateful to her growing fan-base for helping her inspire the next generation of deaf athletes and change the perception of women’s rugby in general.

Ounsley, whose TikTok followers alone number over 176,000, said: “I just love showing young kids you can be a bad-ass rugby player, a bit savage, but also be a nice person and still be feminine. I like to show people that.

“I always wanted to be successful in sport, whatever that might be. But I never in a million years expected it to turn out how it did and have such a platform.

“In terms of the rugby community and kids now getting into rugby, girls playing it and having that ‘Fury mentality’ of smashing people and stuff… I love it!”

 

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Ounsley is completely deaf in both ears and wears a scrum-cap while playing rugby to protect her cochlear implant.

She is a “super-proud” honorary president of UK Deaf Sport and a patron of the Elizabeth Foundation, a charity which helps young deaf children learn to listen and talk.

“Being on Gladiators has meant so much to me, not because it’s on TV, but because we can be good role models to kids,” she said.

“We look a bit like super-heroes, so they’re perhaps more susceptible to us setting a good example, but the response has blown me away.”

As tough-tackling Exeter wing or as Fury the Gladiator, Ounsley is playing her part in the drive to raise the profile of women’s sport.

“The gap is massive, obviously, and I know there’s a long way to go,” she added.

“We’re sort of indebted to the Lionesses. They’ve taken it to another level. Women’s football is showing the support is there and women’s rugby has stepped it up over the last few years.

“Women’s sport is certainly becoming a lot more popular. More people are appreciating that there are some super-talented female athletes out there.”

Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson insisted it is all about results after Posh kept themselves in the League One promotion battle with a 2-1 win over Exeter.

Kwame Poku struck the winner midway through the second half as Ferguson’s tactical tweak worked to perfection.

The attacking talent bagged his 10th goal of the campaign after being shifted into a central position from his usual wide berth.

Posh had hit the front in just the fourth minute through leading scorer Ephron Mason-Clark, but Exeter levelled nine minutes before the break with a long-awaited Tom Carroll strike.

The midfielder ended a near seven-year drought with a 20-yard half-volley which took a huge deflection and looped agonisingly over keeper Jed Steer.

But Poku ensured Posh pocketed the points and that’s all Ferguson cared about.

He said: “The most important thing today – as it will be going forward – is not the performance. It’s all about getting results.

“Credit to my players because I said to them at half-time that they had to find a way of winning the game of football and they did it.

“Kwame going central made a big difference. They couldn’t live with him in there.

“We knew there was space to exploit. He gets away from opponents so quickly and fortunately he got us a winner.

“The early goal gave us a great start, but sometimes that can be a hindrance.

“The whole atmosphere went a bit flat after that. I don’t know whether everyone just thought we were going to go and beat them by three or four, but they are a tricky team to play against.

“Getting back-to-back wins was really key. We know this is a pivotal week for us.”

Exeter chief Gary Caldwell admitted: “The result is a big disappointment, but I have massive pride in our performance and the way we went about it.

“We gave a bad first goal away the first time Peterborough had really got into our half, but the players got back into the game.

“I felt we were the better team in the first half. Our press was outstanding and we were really aggressive without the ball.

“The second half was a case of two teams going out to win the game, but we had a 10-minute spell where we gave the ball cheaply after winning it.

“We were just kicking the ball away and inviting more pressure rather than trying to pass out of trouble and Peterborough scored in that period.

“Peterborough are the best team in the league for me in terms of quality and the way they play, but for large parts we matched that and kept going right to the very end.”

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