Exeter manager Matt Taylor felt his Sky Bet League Two leaders paid the price for a poor first half as they were humbled 3-1 by Grimsby.
It was the Grecians’ first league defeat of the season and came after Ethan Robson had scored twice and Moses Ogbu netted a penalty with the Mariners taking full advantage of some poor defending from the home side. Ryan Bowman netted a late consolation for the hosts.
“I thought we were a bit flat in the first half. There wasn’t too much in it and we were creating half chances without really threatening their goal,” Taylor said.
“We got hit with a sucker punch in terms of a set-piece when one of our players was off the pitch receiving treatment and that was a big moment because it came from a chance we had to score and they went down the other end and scored.
“We got into the players at half-time because we felt there was a certain lack of speed in our game and we started the second half really well.
“That was what has been us so far this season and that is why I was disappointed.
“The second goal was a mistake, poor defending on our part, and then the third goal was on the counter, but we didn’t do the basics of League Two football well enough today.
“They have had three sights at our goal and scored three times.
“It is a lesson in terms of where I see those players because some of them looked leggy, which is strange because they have had a free week.”
Grimsby boss Michael Jolley hailed his team with the result coming off the back of a 7-1 midweek mauling by Chelsea.
“It has been a hell of a schedule for us and we always had in our mind the team we wanted to play in this game,” Jolley said.
“This game, believe it or not, took priority over the Chelsea game in terms of how we wanted to approach the week.
“We thought speed is something we could use in this game and so it proved. We have to give immense credit to the players for the way they went about it.
“The first period of the second half was mostly Exeter, but we knew if we could secure the ball, the front three would pose a threat with the counter and the speed they have got and so it proved.
“We like it when teams come on to us because it means we can counter.
“In most games we have been chasing, it is easier when you are ahead because you can soak up pressure and hit teams on the counter.
“Our main focus was today’s game at the league leaders and we have come away with three points.”