Paul Tisdale was not too despondent with Exeter's performance as they staged a late fightback before going down 3-2 at Portsmouth.
Ryan Bird's headed double and a freak goal from Ricky Holmes put Pompey in command at Fratton Park only for a late rally from the Grecians to leave the home side hanging on.
Danny Coles reduced the deficit with a header from an Arron Davies cross before John O'Flynn set up a nervy finish when he stabbed home the visitors' second five minutes from time.
The Grecians would have snatched an unlikely point but for a brilliant save from Pompey goalkeeper Trevor Carson to deny Tom Nichols in the 88th minute.
Tisdale said: "It was a really good game and I'm smarting about one or two of the things that went against us.
"I'm not unhappy with the way we played. I can appreciate the thrilling nature of the game, and the finish to it and the way we played.
"We left ourselves a little too much to do but if we continue to play like that we will be okay."