Charlton have gone nine points clear at the top of League One thanks to Danny Green's fortunate goal against Exeter.
Grecians goalkeeper Artur Krysiak flapped at Green's miscued cross, which found its way into the net.
The Addicks could have killed the game off but Yann Kermorgant headed Bradley Wright-Phillips's cross wide.
Substitute Guillem Bauza almost rescued a point for the relegation-battling hosts but his shot was saved by visiting keeper Ben Hamer.
Charlton's lead at the top of the table was extended by
Huddersfield's 1-1 draw with Tranmere
, and they also have a game in hand on the Terriers, but Exeter are now just two points above the bottom four.
The hosts could consider themselves unlucky to lose with John O'Flynn, James Dunne and Jake Taylor all squandering half chances before Green's goal.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale told BBC Radio Devon:
"A draw would definitely have been a fair result.
"The players gave everything. We've stopped the best team in the league from creating hardly a chance.
"As soon as we were a goal down, there was just a bit of anxiety, especially in the attacking third. People were trying to snatch at things."
Charlton boss Chris Powell told BBC London 94.9:
"I always knew that coming to Exeter would be a tough game, they always play good football, but it was up to us to manage that.
"But we got the goal whether it was fortunate or meant.
"We haven't done anything yet. We need to keep going and doing the simple things well. It's just another win and another three points in our quest to get some success this year.
Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.
90:00 +2:47 Booking
Booking Rhoys Wiggins booked.
Johnnie Jackson concedes a free kick for a foul on Steve Tully. Artur Krysiak takes the free kick.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steve Tully by Leon Clarke. Indirect free kick taken by Artur Krysiak.
James Dunne gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rhoys Wiggins. Free kick taken by Ben Hamer.
Substitution Bradley Pritchard leaves the field to be replaced by Danny Haynes.
Leon Clarke has an effort at goal from the edge of the box that misses to the right of the target.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Chris Solly on Scott Golbourne. Danny Coles is caught offside. Ben Hamer takes the indirect free kick.
Substitution Danny Green leaves the field to be replaced by Dale Stephens.
Danny Hollands concedes a free kick for a foul on Guillem Bauza. Scott Golbourne takes the indirect free kick.
Corner taken by Danny Green from the left by-line played to the near post, Danny Coles makes a clearance.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Yann Kermorgant on Troy Archibald-Henville. Indirect free kick taken by Artur Krysiak.
Unfair challenge on James Dunne by Bradley Pritchard results in a free kick. Steve Tully takes the direct free kick.
Shot by Scot Bennett from outside the box goes high over the target.
Ben Hamer restarts play with the free kick.
Substitution Bradley Wright-Phillips goes off and Leon Clarke comes on.
Volleyed right-footed shot by Guillem Bauza. Save by Ben Hamer. Richard Logan is flagged offside by the assistant referee.
Yann Kermorgant gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Scott Golbourne. Direct free kick taken by Scott Golbourne.
Daniel Nardiello takes a shot. Save made by Ben Hamer. Inswinging corner taken by David Noble from the left by-line played to the near post, Yann Kermorgant manages to make a clearance.
Substitution Daniel Nardiello replaces Jake Taylor.
Headed effort from inside the area by Yann Kermorgant misses to the left of the target.
Foul by Bradley Pritchard on David Noble, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed left-footed by Scott Golbourne, Danny Hollands makes a clearance. Inswinging corner taken by Scott Golbourne, clearance made by Michael Morrison.
Substitution Richard Duffy leaves the field to be replaced by Guillem Bauza.
Substitution Richard Logan replaces John O'Flynn.
54:35 Goal scored
Goal! - Danny Green - Exeter 0 - 1 Charlton Danny Green scores a goal from 35 yards. Exeter 0-1 Charlton.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Johnnie Jackson from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Troy Archibald-Henville.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Johnnie Jackson from the right by-line to the near post, save by Artur Krysiak.
Johnnie Jackson concedes a free kick for a foul on James Dunne. Free kick taken by Artur Krysiak.
David Noble takes a shot. Save by Ben Hamer.
The referee gets the second half underway.
45:00 +1:31 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.
Shot on goal by James Dunne from just inside the area goes over the target.
Short corner taken by Danny Green. Effort on goal by Bradley Pritchard from just inside the area clears the crossbar.
Danny Green is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Richard Duffy.
Effort from just outside the area by Jake Taylor goes over the bar.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Danny Green by James Dunne. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Johnnie Jackson from right wing, Artur Krysiak makes a save.
Jake Taylor fouled by Rhoys Wiggins, the ref awards a free kick. David Noble takes the free kick.
Bradley Wright-Phillips gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Richard Duffy. Free kick taken by Scot Bennett.
Danny Green takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Artur Krysiak makes a save.
Corner taken by Johnnie Jackson from the right by-line, Troy Archibald-Henville manages to make a clearance.
Unfair challenge on David Noble by Danny Hollands results in a free kick. David Noble shoots direct from the free kick.
John O'Flynn takes a shot. Save by Ben Hamer.
Unfair challenge on Bradley Pritchard by Danny Coles results in a free kick. Matthew Taylor takes the direct free kick.
Matthew Taylor takes a shot. Clearance by Richard Duffy.
Foul by Bradley Wright-Phillips on James Dunne, free kick awarded. Steve Tully restarts play with the free kick. Richard Duffy gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Bradley Wright-Phillips. Direct free kick taken by Michael Morrison.
Bradley Wright-Phillips concedes a free kick for a foul on David Noble. Troy Archibald-Henville restarts play with the free kick.
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