Dave Challinor may have watched his Hartlepool side fail to win at home for the first time this season but there was no disappointment.
The Pools boss, who signed a new three-year contract to remain at Victoria Park on Friday night, watched his side draw 1-1 with Exeter.
But with the Grecians – now seven games unbeaten themselves – one of League Two’s stronger sides who regularly challenge at the top end of the table, second best for long-spells, Challinor was a satisfied manager.
He said: “If we can finish in and around where they finish this season, I will be satisfied.
“It was a pretty even game. I want us to do better, but in the grand scheme of things if you look at the players we are missing then there are encouraging signs against a team who have been at the top end of the division the last few years.
“We showed real intent from the start and it was really pleasing.”
Challinor led Pools back into the EFL last summer after four years in the National League and home form has been key in lifting them to seventh in the table – one spot behind their opposition.
They had won their four previous games at Victoria Park, but have yet to win on the road.
The hosts took the lead through Luke Molyneux’s fine individual effort on 25 minutes as he took a cross-field pass on the right wing, cut inside and curled a low shot around and across Cameron Dawson.
But, after Jevani Brown blazed over for the visitors, Exeter levelled on 41 minutes. A cross by the impressive Jake Caprice was nodded in from close range by Sam Nombe.
Pools looked the likelier side to win it in the second-half, but couldn’t find a way through.
Grecians’ boss Matt Taylor admitted: “It shows where we are at the moment as the lads are sat in there a little disappointed not to win it.
“We scored a fantastic goal and didn’t get enough of that sort of ball in and around the final third. Hartlepool swarm around the ball and we didn’t quite handle it, we kept it at one, got one back and then second half petered out a bit.
“I really liked the goal, we just wanted more of it and second-half I’m looking across and felt we got a bit deep at times and you have to deal with it. We needed to get up the pitch more.
“This could be a good point. But we are on a good run, I’ve said I’m pleased with commitment and effort, but I wanted us to be a bit braver out there in defending.”