Exeter boss Paul Tisdale insists Stanley will surprise a few teams at the Crown Ground – but Reds manager Paul Cook had no complaints as they suffered their first League Two loss of the campaign.
Stanley, after two wins out of two, were brought back down to earth with a bump on Saturday as Exeter, relegated last season, scored the first goals against the Reds this season.
The Grecians were clinical in front of goal while Stanley, apart from a Luke Joyce effort cleared off the line, struggled to test keeper Artur Krysiak although, on replays, Padraig Amond’s effort ruled out for off-side was harsh.
And the lack of chances had Cook reflecting that his young team may have got too carried away by their 100 per cent start to the campaign – and this loss will be a kick up the backside for his charges.
"It’s a tough, unforgiving league and perhaps the players listened too much to a bit of hype and publicity after our two wins," said the Reds boss.
"We were well and truly beaten by a better side. We huffed and we puffed but we never really got near to cutting them open.
"But we are a young side, we will make mistakes and it was plain to see from the sidelines.
"We can identity the problems but it’s curing them which is the big thing.
"We will keep working with them though and hopefully they will respond in the right way.
"This was one game too many for us but we will analyse the game and the lads will do some soul searching."
Tisdale, whose side are looking to bounce straight back into League One, was complimentary to the Reds as his side returned to Devon with the three points. "I have got to say we weren’t looking forward to coming here after the start they had but the pitch was perfect," said the Grecians boss.
"Accrington put us under pressure at times and I can see them getting some results here – but thankfully not against us."
Cook selected the same XI who had overcome Port Vale in midweek but, whereas the Reds had taken their chances against Vale, it was Exeter’s turn to show them how to put the ball in the net.
Veteran Jamie Cureton and the lively Alan Gow were always going to be a handful up front and it wasn’t long before Scot Gow made his presence felt.
He got the ball from Kevin Akinwaah on the edgeof the area and curled it low into the bottom of Ian Dunbavin’s goal – the first goal the Reds have conceded this season.
While the Reds were passing the ball around well, they weren’t having an impact in the final third and it was Karl Sheppard who had their first shot on target in the 35th minute, easily saved by Krysiak
The Reds did come into it more towards the end of the half through a Will Hatfield blast which the keeper dived low to keep out and Sheppard headed one chance over.
And after the break, with the keeper beaten, Joyce fired towards the empty goal but defender Danny Coles was back to clear off the line while Hatfield found Amond who struck home but the assistant’s flag was already up – and replays showed the goal should have stood.
The Reds, in their first two games, had taken their limited chances and, Cook admitted, had used up plenty of luck along the way but this was a game in which it ran out.
On 54 minutes, defender Toto Nsiala was put under pressure on the wing, the ball came to Gow who raced past the defender and tricked it into the net from the tightest of angles.
At 2-0 it was game over despite the Reds never giving up.
Cook tried to change it with Aidan Chippendale, Charlie Barnett and Luke Clark coming on but, while they added new impetus, Exeter were in charge.
Chippendale’s late tackle on Scott Bennett saw the ref point to the spot in the 72nd minute but Dunbavin dived the right way to keep out sub Guillem Bauza’s penalty.
Bauza did get his revenge with an easy third in injury time to make it a day to forget for the Reds.
"We have six points out of nine and the end of the season will be when people can see how well we have done," said Cook.