Lee Stevenson scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half-time, when he cashed in on some charitable Exeter defending to fire a low shot across goal and into the far corner.
But it was Mansfield's defensive display that proved the backbone for their win as they worked stoutly in a second half in which they repelled an Exeter onslaught.
"It was a really good game of football and a game that deserved more than the one goal it got," Tisdale said.
"As a performance, I think we were on the betters side and I don't think we played poorly and as the players feel, I feel really frustrated that we didn't even get a draw.
"But I suppose that happens when a team hangs on and we have seen it once or twice. It was the same for us at Cheltenham really.
"We are an inch away from being a good team, but it is going to be a case of a step forward, a step back, two forward and one back.
"That is how it is going to go, but I was really pleased with a lot of the players.
"Although I have made it absolutely clear to them that you can't call yourself a good side.
"You are a losing side if you concede a goal and can't score.
"That is the vital part of the game, so how do I feel? I feel frustrated, I feel we were unlucky, but we didn't put the ball in the net or keep it out at our end. There's not much else for me to say really."
- Sports & Recreation