Pat Baldwin's third goal in 268 Football League appearances set City on their way before John O'Flynn's double gave the visitors a 3-0 half-time lead.
Terry Gornell's brace reduced the scoreline to 3-2 before the on-loan Shrewsbury forward was sent off in stoppage time for a for a petulant kick at former Dale defender Kevin Amankwaah .
"It is the fourth time I have been here as Exeter manager and every game has been terrific," Tisdale said. "Both teams played an attacking formation in the first half and we had the better of it.
"I am glad we got the third goal because it was always going to be a different second half and we learnt that to our cost last April (when the Grecians led 2-0 with 10 minutes to go but lost 3-2).
"The boys played extremely well and were tough when they had to be tough and did the basics well and of course, I am really pleased. I am delighted with our away form and I'd like to continue that
"Now, we can look forward to the Plymouth game. It will be a big week leading up to the game, we know that and we have to be sensible and play our game, not the opposition."