Exeter manager Gary Caldwell could not have been prouder of his team as they bagged a dramatic late winner to beat Reading 2-1 at St James Park.
Despite their first-half dominance, Exeter went in level after Will Aimson’s 34th-minute header was cancelled out in stoppage time through Harry Knibbs’ strike.
The Royals shaded the second half but it was Exeter that won it when Reece Cole struck a sublime 93rd-minute effort to take City up to second place in the League One table.
“It was a sensational performance from start to finish,” Caldwell said. “The first half was outstanding and was the best 45 minutes of football since I’ve been at the club.
“We were totally dominant against a team that was in the Championship last season and had won their last two games; we created numerous chances and the only disappointment was not scoring more goals.
“It was an even bigger disappointment to concede a really poor goal just before half-time but all credit to the players.
“I just said to them ‘you can’t dominate a game against teams like this for 90 minutes, you have to show different parts of your character and your quality as a team’ and we had to do that second half.
“We lost a bit of control and had to defend, but we still created chances and it was an absolutely fantastic goal in terms of the quality of strike from someone I have known a long time and has had really difficult moments in football.
“He (Cole) was playing for Hayes & Yeading last year – I don’t know how many leagues below us that is – but he’s a quality player for us and it was great to see him score like that in front of the Big Bank.”
Reading boss Ruben Selles felt his side only performed in the second half.
“We had a couple of chances to go in front in the second half, but we didn’t take them and then a mistake that shouldn’t have happened from a throw-in led to us conceding a goal from the edge of the box,” he said.
“So the first part of the game and small mistakes in the second half kept us away from getting something today.
“We could have got something but we didn’t put the ball in the net and the opposition did.
“We showed in the second half the team that we want to be. We showed we are a team that wants to play at a high intensity, high tempo, to be make counter press under pressure situations. We weren’t like that in the first half.
“I think we did enough for a point. But we didn’t score a goal and the opposition scored. We need to learn to manage those situations better. I am pretty sure we will be able to get some victories in the next set of games.”