Jimmy Keohane times it just right to sink Stanley from the bench
SUBSTITUTE Jimmy Keohane showed how important timing and patience can be in football in more ways than one on Saturday as he scored two late goals to give Exeter City a morale-boosting win at home to Accrington Stanley.
The Kilkenny-born forward would have been disappointed to have missed out on a staring place in Friday night's match, especially having played a key role in City's 3-0 win over Morecambe six days earlier.
But he sat patiently, waited for his turn and then provided an excellent run in the box to allow him the space to hit a 79th-minute shot past Accrington keeper Paul Rachubka to help the Grecians towards three points. The goal, his second for the club, could not have been better timed in terms of the season either.
City have struggled at home of late and with fellow attacking midfielder Alan Gow announcing, in a question and answer session with the club's sponsors before the match, that he expects to be out until late April with ankle ligament problems, Keohane's new found accuracy in front of goal could prove vital in the promotion run in.
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"Jimmy Keohane is a young developing player and he is making progress all the time," said City manager Paul Tisdale. "It is like having new player in the squad when someone breaks through like Jimmy has done over the last two or three months.
"Back in August he was a squad player, someone on the periphery, but he has taken his chance and he is improving and if you look at the way he plays he is definitely now a first team player.
"For me it is like having an additional first team player in the squad. Whether you sign them, buy them or develop them it is still all about bringing players into the first team and improving the first team and Jimmy is doing that.
"He plays a different way to a lot of the other players and he has got an eye for a goal.
"I have been saying for a while he has not really been finding the back of the net enough, because we know he is capable of it, but Friday he did that."
Prior to Keohane's goal it had been a frustrating night at St James's Park for City.
They had enjoyed far more possession and territory than their visitors, but early efforts at goal from Guillem Bauza and Mark Molesley had been replaced by mistimed passes and a lack of goalmouth action as the referee blew for half-time.
It left Tisdale needing to offer a few word of encouragement to the players at half-time.
"I asked them just to relax, which is easier said than done of course," said Tisdale.
"I told them just don't worry, just take your time and don't rush things. We were just too eager and first half we just didn't get the rhythm right. And who can blame the chaps, they were desperate to win and sometimes you just need to get into a bit of a roll."
City were slightly better after the break as Molesley chipped a shot into the arms of Rachubka and Jamie Cureton was unfortunate to be pulled to the ground by a cynical foul from Stanley's Dean Winnard as he looked to get through on goal.
However, having come to the Park on the back of 15 games without a win, Accrington were content to get draw ugly and sat men behind the ball to frustrate.
It needed a moment of composure from City to break the deadlock and that came when Doherty exchanged passes with Davies on the right, before waiting for the run of Keohane who curled a shot into the top left corner of the goal.
City's Danny Coles then diverted a cross onto his own crossbar before Cureton stole the ball from a hapless Rachubka and set up Keohane for his second.