Jamie Cureton's second-half goal earned Exeter three well deserved points against high-flying Rochdale at St James' Park.
The first half was dominated by the home side, who enjoyed the lion's share of possession, but they could not get the goal their play deserved.
Ryan Harley twice went close with shots from distance, but the closest they came to scoring was when Jamie Cureton's shot was stopped on the line by Craig Dawson.
The Grecians got the goal they deserved four minutes after the break when Troy Archibald-Henville crossed from the right and Cureton glanced a header home from eight yards.
Rochdale responded with a good run from Joe Thompson, but his shot was well saved by Paul Jones.
The goal kicked Dale into life and they were enjoying their best spell of the game, but they could not breach an Exeter defence that were on top form in keeping only their second clean sheet of the campaign.
Exeter could have added to their score late on, but James Dunne's blockbuster rattled the crossbar from 25 yards.
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