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PAT BALDWIN COLUMN: We must all make the best of things

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 07, 2013

Young Exeter City striker Tom Nichols (left) enjoyed an interesting week as he scored against Bury and faced up to Guy Branston  PICTURE: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

Young Exeter City striker Tom Nichols (left) enjoyed an interesting week as he scored against Bury and faced up to Guy Branston PICTURE: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

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In recent weeks, I have had the news that my best mate from back home is moving to New York with his job for the foreseeable future. The news knocked me for six, as I have known him since we were babies and I am obviously going to miss him.

My mate Dan loves America and has got into watching American football in a big way. In support of him I have found myself watching their national sport on YouTube. I must admit, without understanding a thing about the game, it is actually quite entertaining.

As per usual with my wandering mind though, I got bored of American football clips and found myself watching basketball until I stumbled across a very familiar quote: "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out".

It is by successful basketball coach John Wooden and it is familiar because it was on the wall at my old club Colchester for many years while I was there. I had no idea where it originated from until now or never really gave it much thought as you tend to not think about philosophy much when you are young.

But, this week, I have found it to be very relevant as to how we can all look at the season so far. We can all, as a club, dwell on the negatives and let it affect performances – which invariably leads nowhere – or we can concentrate on the positives and move forward together.

Last Saturday's 2-2 draw at home to Bury draw means we are now two games unbeaten. In both games we have come back from a goal down, twice against Bury. We are showing signs of turning the corner from the recent slump in form and I am confident we will continue to do so.

Dave Wheeler scored his first professional goal. A thoroughly deserved goal as he has worked incredibly hard while being out of the side and I am sure it will be the first of many for him.

I was extremely pleased for young Tom Nichols who came on to score his second professional goal. He looked an instant threat when he came on and got a very important goal for us.

He was again on the scoresheet last Tuesday night against Plymouth Argyle in the Devon Bowl quarter-final. Albeit a penalty in the shoot-out after missing a penalty in normal time, but he showed good mental toughness to step up again and score.

I played in the game on Tuesday night and it was a game I really enjoyed.

With some reserve games, the tempo and standard are not always great but Tuesday's game was very competitive. It gave me a chance to maintain my level of fitness and to witness, first hand, the performances of some of our young lads.

There were some fantastic performances on show and we played some outstanding football. It would have been a complete travesty if we had not won the game. I might be a bit biased but I honestly thought we were the better team.

As I said, there was some great moments in the game but the highlight for me was an altercation between Tom and their centre back Guy Branston. If you don't know who Guy Branston is, take a look on Google images and you will see that he is scarily-sized.

I have come across him many times in my career on the field and occasionally off it as well. He is a very tough competitor indeed, and you knew you would be in for a tough afternoon if he were on the opposing team. Off the field he is, pardon the pun, a great guy but you would not want to come across him in a dark alley.

So for Tom to take a very hard tackle from him, get up and stand up for himself the way he did made me smile. Call it youthful exuberance or stupidity, it does not matter, it made me chuckle nonetheless. Tom has a fearlessness that will stand him in good stead for the future if he continues to work hard.

We now face a free weekend without a game because of the FA Cup so it gives us a good opportunity to fit in a lot of training to continue to improve as a team.

Also it can sometimes do you good both individually and collectively to have a break from games to recharge the proverbial mental batteries but we are most certainly being worked physically hard, I can assure you.

I hope you all enjoy the break and come back positive and raring to go as much as we will be. And remember, things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.

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