Exeter manager Gary Caldwell hailed his side’s comeback as they stunned promotion-chasing Peterborough 2-1 at St James Park.

After Harrison Burrows converted a first-half penalty, Posh missed several chances to increase their lead before they had Michael Olakigbe sent off after picking up a second yellow card.

That galvanised Exeter, with Reece Cole’s free-kick ending up in the back of the net off some combination of goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic and Dion Rankine before Jadel Katongo headed a superb Cole cross into his own net to complete a remarkable comeback for the Grecians.

“They are a very good team and asked a lot of questions of us in the first half,” Caldwell said. “I thought defensively we were good and restricted them to little, we had a problem down our right-hand side where we were a bit loose and that led to the goal.

“We didn’t have a lot of shots to defend, we were patient in how we pressed and asked them to build up with lots of passes, which kept them in front of us, so I was happy with that, but I thought we could have been braver in possession and quicker with our passing.

“Too many times we passed back and put each other under pressure, but I think it is a fantastic win and the first time we have won ugly.

“The sending-off had a big impact in the game but in the second half I thought we were a yard quicker, we had more impetus in that second half and that led to the red card, so all credit to the players for changing that mentality at half-time and coming out and making the game different in the second half.”

Posh boss Darren Ferguson was left to rue his side’s profligacy as he said: “The game changed when we didn’t kill them off, we had so many opportunities to kill them off at the start of the second half – and the end of the first half – and even with 10 men, we had the better chances with our pace on the counter attack.

“The sending-off is naive and the young boy is distraught in there because he feels like he’s let his team down – which he hasn’t, we win and lose together. It’s a silly challenge, a naive challenge and I thought it was a soft sending-off but it’s irrelevant, he’s given it.

“I thought we were comfortable with 10 men and it took a free-kick – a good free-kick – to get them back into the game, but they weren’t hurting us. Our shape was good, we looked the more threatening team with the better chances.

“I am repeating myself because in so many games this season we are missing chance after chance and it is catching up with us now.”