Matt Taylor bemoaned Exeter’s failure to get the basics right as they slipped to a second defeat on the road in four days at improving Scunthorpe.
The Grecians were hammered 4-0 at Cambridge on Saturday and rarely looked like being able to bounce straight back as strikes from James Perch, Jamie Ward and substitute Alex Gilliead secured a 3-1 win for the Iron, with Matt Jay netting the visitors’ consolation.
“Our performance in the first half was close to where it needed to be – to be honest, I don’t know how we’ve gone in 2-1 down,” boss Taylor said.
“The first goal was a real quality strike, but I was so disappointed with the second and third goals.
“That’s got nothing to do with me being a defender, it’s to do with not doing the basics right.
“We’d got back in the game through MJ (Jay) and looked like a team that was confident, but the second goal was a killer blow.
“You can’t play all the nice football and then concede so poorly.
“That’s not been us this season, although we have now conceded four and three in two games, which is a worry for me. Especially as teams haven’t had to do too much to score against us.
“I’m ultra critical of our boys when it comes to missed chances because I understand how critical they can be, but if we start giving away soft goals, we’re in trouble.”
Full-back Perch lit up a scrappy clash with a 30-yard strike from nothing into the top corner in the 24th minute and though Jay levelled within three minutes for the Grecians, Scunthorpe were back in front before the break when Ward lashed home following a knock-down at the far post.
Both sides had chances after the break, before Gilliead came off the bench to head home a cross to make the points safe for the hosts.
Declaring his side “deserved” victors, Scunthorpe manager Paul Hurst said: “I thought the game was a bit scrappy – we were a bit untidy on the ball and having got ourselves in front, we didn’t hold on to the lead for long at all.
“It was a fantastic strike from Perchy. He’s said in the dressing room that he’ll thank the boys when he wins goal of the month.
“I thought Exeter’s equaliser knocked our confidence a little bit, but fortunately we got ourselves back in front.
“I’ve said before that I think there’s goals in this team and squad, which always gives you a chance.
“At half-time I told the two centre-halves we needed to deal with balls up to their strikers better and I think we did that in the second period.
“We had some tired legs at the end, which was understandable. The players worked really hard.”