Fleetwood Town left their fighting spirit in Lancashire as they became the first team to be beaten at St James Park in 2014.
Exeter, battling relegation, were almost behind within 30 seconds, Antoni Sarcevic with an 18 yard blast saved by Artur Krysiak.
It was the closest they would come in a woeful 90 minutes.
The rot began when Jon Parkin turned home a Craig Woodman free kick, midway through the first half, his own goal sending Fleetwood on the path to defeat.
A goal to the good the home side dominated.
But they didn’t take advantage until after the break.
Fleetwood had, started to show signs of improvement.
But The Grecians were sharp on the break and sharper still from set pieces.
Town were in trouble when Eliot Richards headed home from a corner.
Then, minutes later Chris Maxwell spilled a Tom Nichols free kick, Richards the man again to capitalise, smashing home the loose ball.
Graham Alexander made changes in a bid to rescue the game.
But his team were at sixes and sevens, struggling defensively.
The introduction of Matty Blair did at least give them an outlet, the wide man creating chances in the dying stages, the best of which fell to Josh Morris, his shot deflected over by Danny Butterfield.