18 March 2023

Wade Elliott delighted to see Aidan Keena open account in Cheltenham victory

18 March 2023

Boss Wade Elliott was delighted to see record signing Aidan Keena open his account for Cheltenham in their 3-1 League One home win over Exeter.

Last season’s League of Ireland Premier Division top scorer joined the Robins in January and he opened his account in his sixth league start to put Elliott’s in-form team ahead.

“It’s something Aidan would have been aware of, coming in as a record transfer and the spotlight being on him because of that,” Elliott said.

“He’ll be really pleased to have scored his first one, but even without the goals, our fans have taken to him because he works hard and he’s bright.

“I am really pleased to see him score and I am sure it’ll do him the world of good.”

Second-half goals from Caleb Taylor and Alfie May sealed the victory for resurgent Cheltenham, who have now taken 10 points from a possible 12 to further ease any relegation fears.

Exeter missed an early penalty when Luke Southwood blocked Sam Nombe’s spot-kick with his legs after Ryan Jackson tripped Joe White in the box just 12 minutes in.

Keena put Cheltenham in front in the 17th minute after a slip by Will Aimson allowed May to rob Jonathan Grounds in the box and tee up his strike partner for the Irishman’s first EFL goal.

Exeter controlled the opening stages of the second half and deservedly levelled through Josh Key’s close-range header after Demetri Mitchell’s cross from the left in the 69th minute.

But the Grecians were only level for five minutes, with Taylor powering home a header from Will Ferry’s corner to make it 2-1 and Elliot Bonds supplying in-form May to complete the scoring with 10 minutes left.

“It was really hard earned and we had to work really hard for it,” Elliott added.

“They played like a team that reflected their position, with loads of freedom and people popping up in loads of different areas, which caused us problems at times.

“The flip side of it was that when we did turn them over, we picked them off on the counter quite a lot.

“It took us a while to get to grips with them, but we probably got the win due to character, perseverance and finding a different way to win the game.”

Exeter boss Gary Caldwell admitted his team shot themselves in the foot soon after finding an equaliser.

“It’s a massive disappointment for the team and the supporters who travelled in great numbers,” he said.

“I’m really disappointed that we weren’t good enough to get them three points.

“I said to the players, ‘look in the mirror and be ready to work hard next week’. I’m honest enough to say I’ll be looking in the mirror.

“The goals were our doing. They were goals that can be stopped and that’s something we have to look at.

“I’m really irritated and really annoyed that we put ourselves under pressure. We scored a brilliant goal and at 1-1 it looked like only one team was going to win the game and we shot ourselves in the foot.”

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