Crawley Town head coach Dermot Drummy believes his side could have been in front at half-time against Exeter City if they had taken one of their most attractive chances.
Dean Cox twice created threatening moments which were nearly put away by topscorer James Collins.
Then Jimmy Smith combined with Enzio Boldewijn but keeper Bobby Olejnik caught his attempted lob.
Drummy said: "We had the better chances in the first half, I wouldn't say we were the better side in terms of possession. We were playing from back to front, very rudimentary.
The Reds boss praised opponents Exeter City for their continuity and winning form.
He said: "You can see they are a side which has been together. They are on a good run.
"When you give a goal away within five minutes, you give the onus to the other team.
"It's sloppy defending. We did huff and puff and Payney (Josh Payne) might have nicked a draw at the end, which would have been fortuitous.
"On the whole our quality of passing has to be better."