Wayne O'Sullivan scored a 20-yard winner as 10-man Exeter won a thriller.
Santos Gaia headed City in front (9) before Gareth Sheldon smashed in from outside the box to make it 2-0 (15).
Craig Mackail-Smith's right-foot volley reduced the arrears before half-time and Chris Moore converted a penalty after he was fouled by Alex Jeannin.
City keeper Martin Rice saw red for a foul on Mackail-Smith, but substitute Paul Jones saved Moore's spot-kick before O'Sullivan's dramatic strike.
Dag & Red: Roberts, Goodwin, Cole, Uddin, Bruce (Boot 84), Janney, Leberl, Southam, Mackail-Smith, Flynn, Moore (Douglas 79). Subs Not Used: Brennan, Vickers, Blackett.
Goals: Mackail-Smith 22, Moore 59 pen.
Exeter: Rice, Hiley, Sawyer, Gaia (Taylor 45), Jeannin, Edwards (Jones 68), Sheldon, Moxey, Afful (O'Sullivan 65), Devine, Martin. Subs Not Used: Clay, Flack.
Sent Off: Rice (67).
Booked: Jeannin, Sheldon.
Goals: Gaia 9, Sheldon 14, O'Sullivan 81.
Ref: S Beck (Essex).