Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale admitted he was pleased with the performance but disappointed with the result as the Grecians fell out of the automatic promotion places with a 1-0 loss to Chesterfield.
Kristian Dennis scored the only goal of the game five minutes after the break but City had chances to get back into the match with two strong penalty appeals turned down and Liam McAlinden rattling the crossbar four minutes from time.
“I was disappointed to lose, but I was delighted with the performance,” he said. “I was pleased with the discipline, the positional play and the attitude of the players.
“The details were pretty, pretty good today. They were not perfect but I have very little to moan about other than we conceded a goal from a set play and we didn’t take our chances.
“However, you don’t always get what you want or what you deserve. We were playing against a team who wanted their win – like every team we play against. However, it is not about how much you want to win, it is about whether you know how to and whether you can.
“I think today we showed we knew how to, we just didn’t finish things off and we conceded a corner which changed the game.
“I thought we were nicely placed in the match before that. Most of the players looked really comfortable and disciplined in their positions and how they acted with each other and I have got very little to moan about. We just move onto the next game now – Crawley on Tuesday night – and continue with the same.”
The two penalty decisions left the City players on the pitch feeling aggrieved. Reuben Reid felt he should have won his side a penalty when his header across goal appeared to hi the hand of a Chesterfield defender and then McAlinden looked to have been nudged over in the box as he went to tap the ball past the home keeper from six yards out.
Tis was diplomatic about both decisions at the final whistle.
“Am I surprised the referee didn’t give that penalty (for the nudge on Liam McAlinden)? No, because it is a big call to make,” said Tis. “I don’t think the player went for the ball and he lent on Liam and stopped him shooting.
“The Reuben Reid header – some of our players are claiming it was handball. If it hits the Chesterfield defender’s hand, then it is a penalty. There is no doubt about that. It obviously didn’t hit his hand because the referee didn’t give it.
“We had three or four handballs in the game today where the ball has bounced up and hit someone’s hand right by their thigh.
"Those are not intentional, but it is a free-kick and that is fine. Therefore, if the ball is flying in the back of the net and it hits someone’s hand then it is a penalty. I can only assume it didn’t hit his hand because there is no way the referee could not have given it if it had.”