Tim Dieng scored the only goal of the game 18 minutes from time to earn Exeter a 1-0 win League Two over promotion rivals Newport at Rodney Parade.
Exeter dominated early on, but it was Newport who had the better of the first-half chances with Aston Villa loanee Finn Azaz going close on a number of occasions.
Exeter did not manage a shot on target until the 57th minute when Joe Day comfortably gathered a long-distance effort from Jack Sparkes.
And it was the Exeter left wing-back who created the winner for Dieng with a tempting free-kick into the box after 72 minutes.
Dieng got in ahead of his marker to divert the ball past Day from close range and seal a vital victory for the Grecians, who stay second in the table.
James Rowberry’s Exiles tried to force an equaliser late on with defender James Clarke and striker Dom Telford both seeing shots blocked in the area, but a second-successive home defeat means they slip from fifth to eighth.