Hartlepool's caretaker-manager Mick Wadsworth could not hide his disappointment after seeing his side lose 3-2 at home to Exeter.
Ryan Harley put Exeter ahead before Ritchie Humphreys and Antony Sweeney put Hartlepool in front, but John O'Flynn's double earned the visitors a first win on their travels since last November.
Wadsworth said: "It's frustrating - very much. Right down the middle in terms of the good and the bad. We played some terrific football and created lots of opportunities.
"We had some very positive attacking play, but if we defend like that it casts a shadow. Do something stupid and it costs you greatly.
"All three goals were very poor defensively. I cannot stress to you how much we spent doing defensive work in training and then to see goals like that, you wonder.
"There's nothing else we can do, I still say what I've said all along - we aren't far from being a good side. Some of the football was breathtaking, attacking football was outstanding."