After two consecutive defeats in the play-off finals, Paul Tisdale was delighted and relieved to have won automatic promotion with MK Dons.
Tisdale led Exeter to back-to-back play-off finals to no avail, but a 1-0 win over Mansfield on Saturday secured third place and a spot back in League 1.
"I'm absolutely delighted, relieved not to have to go through the play-offs, and I'm looking forward to a holiday for once," he said afterwards. "We had an awful year or two, but we had to give something back, some sort of redemption.
"When I arrived, some of the team I had to tell: don't just run away. The club has paid them well, supported them so well over the last few years. Players like Kieran Agard and Chuks Aneke who played so hard today, they could easily have left. But they stayed and got the job done. To all of them, thank you.
"It was a long afternoon, a long week. A heck of a long week. To score so early, we'd have loved a second, but to hold on for 90 minutes plus is a long time. But we've got there."