Exeter manager Matt Taylor hailed his team’s performance after they made light work of Leyton Orient with a thumping 4-0 win at St James Park.
Matt Jay led the way with the first hat-trick of his career, but it was Joel Randall who got Exeter off to the perfect start with the opening goal of the game.
The Grecians could have won by a larger margin, with Orient struggling to create anything of note, and such was Exeter’s dominance – with all four goals coming in the first 50 minutes – that Taylor was able to rest players ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Scunthorpe.
“It was a really good performance,” Taylor said. “We managed to start the game better than them and it was important that it showed with the goals as well.
“We maybe had a bit of luck, with their goalkeeper’s mistake for the second goal and a rebound for the third one, but you make your own luck in the game and we were on the front foot and positive from the start.
“Matt Jay has earned what he is this season. He has had to wait a long time and has been unfortunate to be behind Nicky Law when he was at the club, and some other very good players when they were at this football club. But MJ is a top quality player.
“He has to get the ball in the right areas as, with the greatest respect, he isn’t the biggest and most physical player. He was up against a big physical player with their deep lier in (Ouss) Cisse but his contribution in that final third is such a threat.”
Orient’s interim manager Jobi McAnuff said: “That’s the difference between a really good side at this level and one that hasn’t been good enough at times this season.
“They were way better all over the pitch in every area. That is something first and foremost myself and the staff will look at.
“I am one for personal accountability and certainly we will look at everything we did leading up to the game, whether that is training, team selection – we will make sure we do that first.
“For me, in terms of us on the pitch, we were second to everything. They had a greater desire. Exeter are a team that do those little details well.
“They go up quite direct to (Ryan) Bowman, who is obviously a handful. We didn’t deal with him first and foremost. The knock-on effect for that is then they are able to get on the second balls which we were reacting later to.
“It is something we have tried to work on, but it didn’t enable us to get the ball up to Danny Johnson and have the support around him that he needs, so then he becomes isolated.”