Tisdale keeping his feet on the ground after Exeter's dramatic win over Carlisle

By dsguser
18 May 2017

Exeter manager Paul Tisdale was not getting carried away after a dramatic stoppage-time winner from Jack Stacey booked his side's place in the Sky Bet League Two play-off final.

After the Grecians conceded a 90th-minute equaliser against Carlisle to make a frenetic semi-final tie 2-2 on the night and 5-5 on aggregate, Stacey smashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 25 yards in the last minute of stoppage time.

But with Exeter now set to face Blackpool at Wembley on May 28, Tisdale said the job was only half done, despite the euphoria that swept St James Park.

"I have been here before with Exeter, I have been in two finals, won one and lost one, so I know what it feels like to win and I know what it feels like to lose," Tisdale said.

"It really is the best place to win and the worst place to lose.

"We have gained an opportunity now, but that is all it is. Jack Stacey scored the winning goal, but there is a big group of players that have got us this far, it is not just him.

"We had three players that started on Sunday that didn't start tonight. They weren't dropped, I just selected an XI, so there are a lot of players that have got us this far and now we have to make the very most of it.

"I said (when Exeter were bottom of the table in November) that this was the best group of players that I have had in seven or eight years and people thought I was crazy, but I believed that. I believed in the players."

Exeter found themselves 2-0 up with 10 minutes remaining thanks to two goals from Ollie Watkins, but Jason Kennedy (81) and John O'Sullivan (90) looked to have forced extra-time before Stacey's dramatic goal broke Cumbrian hearts.

"We walk out of the stadium with our head held high," said Carlisle boss Keith Curle. "They have given me everything, of course there is an element of disappointment.

"But what we don't do is we don't sulk out of here, we have improved since I have been at the football club and there is a winning mentality at this club that we need to maintain.

"We have enjoyed the challenges this season and we have taken a very good team all the way. They have had a manager that has been able to put foundations here for 10 years and we have given them a run for their money.

"We won't give in and I am proud of that. There will be changes at the club because there needs to be. There is a willingness to give everything, I am very proud of the players. They have done me proud. Even at 2-0 down I still thought we were going to get a goal."

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