Exeter boosted their survival hopes as they recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season with a 2-0 home victory over promotion chasing Colchester.
Stuart Fleetwood, who had only been on the pitch for six minutes as a replacement for Rob Edwards, opened the scoring after 33 minutes.
He latched onto a long ball and calmly took his time before slipping a fine shot between the legs of a defender and inside Ben Williams' far post.
Until then, Colchester had been in the ascendancy and came close themselves when David Prutton hammered a free-kick against the crossbar from the corner of the penalty box.
Ryan Harley also struck the bar with a free-kick as Exeter finished the first half strongly while, after the break, Kevin Lisbie headed a great chance wide when he was left unmarked six yards from goal by the Exeter defence.
Substitute Anthony Wordsworth was then denied by a brilliant one-handed stop by Paul Jones as the U's raised the tempo late on.
But Exeter counter-attacked and won a penalty when Fleetwood's shot was handled by Steven Gillespie. Harley stepped up and hammered the ball into the corner to seal a deserved win for the relegation-threatened Grecians.
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