Hartlepool United’s players earned top marks from Ronnie Moore – but the Pools boss is desperate to see “the penny drop”.
Pools were so close to their first draw of the season, only to lose to Christian Ribeiro’s injury-time winner.
“We have to learn to see the game out,” he said. “We had opportunities attacking then we have given it away instead of looking after the ball when there are only two minutes to go.
“We were trying to win the game when sometimes you have to settle for taking the draw and moving on to 10 points and then take it on from there.
“The sooner the penny drops the better.”
But Moore said Pools deserved at least a draw.
“Football’s cruel isn’t it?” he said. “Exeter had a couple of little half-chances, but we’ve had the best chances of the game.
“I felt a little hard-done-by at 0-0, but to then lose? I’m disappointed to see the least.
“It’s so disappointing, if anything, we deserved to win the match.
“Each and every player has given it everything.I’m disappointed but I can’t criticise them.”
There was frustration over Rakish Bingham’s failure from his 69th-minute penalty, though no condemnation, the striker taking over the spot-kick duties in the absence of the injured Billy Paynter.
“It wasn’t the best penalty in the world, you need to smack them,” Moore added,