Manager Paul Tisdale was left drooling by debutant Sam Parkin's match-winning performance in Exeter's West Country derby victory over Bristol Rovers.

The former Swindon man signed for Exeter over the summer following his release by St Mirren and led the line superbly as the Grecians recorded a deserved 2-1 win.

Danny Coles set them on their way with a thumping header against his former employers in the 58th minute, but that goal was cancelled out 11 minutes later as Eliot Richards turned the ball home from Ellis Harrison's low cross.

But Parkin, who had been a constant thorn in the side of Rovers all afternoon, popped up with 11 minutes remaining to guide Arron Davies' cross into the bottom corner from 12 yards to the delight of boss Tisdale.

"Sam was outstanding on his debut. He really had a terrific game," Tisdale said. "Other than the goal, which is a major part of the game, his overall performance allowed us to get up the field and get into the opposition half.

"He offered a real challenge to the Rovers defenders and I don't want to ask too much of him too soon, but he showed that he is certainly capable of playing a game for us that is very, very important.

"I'm delighted. We made it a focus of ours that today was all about the result and a performance that led to a result.

"I think our game was basic at times and I will take any criticism of our play, which at times was forceful, but it had the desired effect and enabled us to be competitive throughout. And it was aided very well by Sam."

Rovers went into the game minus several first-team players, but manager John Ward refused to use that as an excuse for their defeat.

"It's not ideal with all the injuries we have," Ward said. "It is what it is and I can't alter that. I can't make injured players fit, so we have to go with what we have and try our very best.

"We tried our very best with the ones we got and people will have varying views as to whether it was the right result or not. I think we could have got a point out of it, but I don't think we could have tried any harder.

"We took too long to get going, but that isn't a surprise with it being the first game of the season. We got at them in the second half and could have snatched a draw at the end.

"Had we scored in that melee, then everyone would have said what a dogged performance it was, so it shows you how fine these margins are in football."