Paul Tisdale believes Exeter never recovered from conceding a calamitous opening goal as his side lost 2-0 at Bristol Rovers in League Two.
Oliver Norburn's ambitious 23rd-minute long-range effort squirmed between his legs of goalkeeper Artur Krysiak and trickled over the line to give John Ward's men the lead after an even opening at the Memorial Stadium on Wednesday night.
It was a rare mistake from the in-form shotstopper, who had not conceded a goal from open play since January 5 but Krysiak's team-mates struggled to create chances throughout the 90 minutes.
And the Pole could do nothing about Lee Brown's thunderous drive with eight minutes to go to leave Tisdale to ponder what might have been.
"The first goal changed everything," he said. "Goals can change the flow of the game and it is very hard to recover from such a poorly conceded goal.
"That goal came out of nothing really and at that point I was comfortable with how we were doing because I knew we could pick it up. It was a shocking goal to give away.
"It is likely to happen to a goalkeeper every now and then. It is unfortunate for him as he has been in very good form and we have to trust him him going into the next game."
"It was a disappointing evening and you have to say a below-par performance.
"The scoreline will also dictate emotions and we feel like we didn't do enough. It just didn't fit together and that manifested itself with very few shots and opportunities."