Port Vale manager John Askey says he doesn’t think the side’s injuries were the reason for the defeat to Exeter on Tuesday night.
Vale were missing first-teamers James Gibbons, David Amoo, Manny Oyeleke, Tom Conlon and Callum Evans.
However, Askey thinks the side didn’t compete with promotion chasers Exeter.
He told the media: “I didn’t think we competed well enough in the first half but we held on.
“We were a bit better in the second but a poor decision at the end has ended up costing us.
“It is a tough place to come. We got so close, but we know they have got a lot of goals late on. We just lost concentration and it cost us.”
“We’ve had a settled team and had to change, but you also think that players are coming in fresh and that can sometimes help you. So, I don’t think it was anything to do with that.
“But at the end we should keep the ball or turn them. But we have given it away, that’s where they have scored from.
“We rode our luck a bit and you are thinking we are going to get away with something.
“They have really battled, you can’t ask any more of them as regards their effort. Every single one of them has fought hard. I just think at times when we play teams like this we have to be a little stronger and harder and stop the opposition from playing as they do us.”