Terry McPhillips says Blackpool's first-half clinical touch is what proved to be the difference in their 3-2 FA Cup first round win at Exeter City.
Exeter 2-3 Blackpool: Joe Dodoo, Mark Cullen and Harry Pritchard net as Seasiders progress in FA Cup
The Seasiders appeared to be coasting into the second round after racing into a three-goal lead after just 25 minutes, with Joe Dodoo, Mark Cullen and Harry Pritchard finding the back of the net.
But League Two Exeter fought back in the second half, reducing the arreas with 20 minutes to go before finding a second in the final minute of normal time to set up a nervy four minutes of stoppage time.
But McPhillips' men held on for the win, which the Pool boss attributed to that superb first half display.
“It was good, we were clinical," he said. "I don’t think we were three goals better than them but we were clinical with our chances.
“It was good, professional first half but the second half is always going to be difficult. It’s a case of whoever gets the next goal and it was them.
“It was always a close game and I think the stats will say there was nothing in it and there wasn’t. But our clinicalness in the first half was probably the difference."
Blackpool's first goal of the afternoon, scored by Dodoo, came after a flowing move from the Seasiders, while the second came straight from the training ground as Cullen turned home Jordan Thompson's corner.
McPhillips says he was delighted to see Pool's preparation paying dividends in the big moments, adding: “The first one we’ve been working on the diagonal, Harry (Pritchard) puts the ball in and John (O'Sullivan) heads it back and Joe Dodoo leaps like a salmon and heads it in.
“For the second, it’s a corner we’ve been working on and Cully does ever so well to get his goal. So the two centre forwards have scored, which is brilliant,
“Joe Dodoo does ever so well (for the third), has a shot and Harry does what Harry does to be fair and gets in at the back stick and knocks it in.”
The first of Exeter's two goals came after Ryan McLaughlin had conceded a penalty, although Christoffer Mafoumbi did save Pierce Sweeney's spot kick before Jordan Tillson tapped home the rebound.
“Watching it back, it looks like Ryan has just caught him, so I’ve got no complaints," McPhillips said of the penalty.
“The goalie has saved it so it would have been nice if one of our lads had got there first, but from what I’ve seen I’ve got no complaints. It looks like he gets a touch of the ball and Ryan fouls him.”