Exeter manager Matt Taylor hailed the character of his team as they beat Carlisle 1-0 in tough conditions at St James Park.
Former Cumbrians defender Tom Parkes capped a man-of-the-match display with the only goal of the game three minutes into the second half when he smartly volleyed in from a Nicky Law free-kick.
Any hopes Carlisle had of a comeback were effectively ended on the hour mark when Gime Toure was given a straight red card for a needless headbutt on Exeter captain Jake Taylor.
“It was an industrial display,” Taylor said. “We defended our box outstandingly well and got first to a lot of those balls which were coming into dangerous areas and we scored the all-important goal.
“It was a game which probably lacked quality and we can talk now about the conditions – we had wind, rain, sun – and the pitch was very heavy, so the game lacked quality.
“We have got quality on the pitch and there are perhaps question marks over whether we could do the other side of it, but I think we ticked a few boxes today.
“I felt we had to stay level at half-time and stay in the game because we expected to have more of the ball and more pressure in the second half, which we did. Credit to Carlisle, they got the ball into our box on regular occasions, but we withstood it.
“I am really pleased, sometimes 1-0 victories are even more pleasing.”
Carlisle manager Chris Beech felt his side needed to make more of their first half dominance when the conditions were in their favour.
“We have played really well in the first half and should have scored a few goals. Even after they scored, we could have had a few,” he said.
“We didn’t give up and carried on until the 93rd minute. It disappointed me because it should definitely have been more than three minutes added time and they were wasting time in added time.
“We seem to get five, six, seven minutes put up at home, when you need it we didn’t get it. I am not saying the referee had a bad game because I thought he was pretty good in how he managed the players.
“Our centre-halves did great, Max (Hunt) came on and did well and it was a shame they got a goal from the set play. We didn’t start the second half as sharp.
“We did have a clear-cut chance and it fell to Jon (Mellish) but he didn’t quite get his foot around it. He hit the target but it wasn’t quite clean. It was lacking power.”