Cheltenham kept their hopes of automatic promotion alive as Russell Penn's goal brought victory at Exeter.
It came inside the first five minutes as Sido Jombati's deep free-kick was headed back across goal and fell to Penn on the edge of the box, who fired a low shot into the far corner.
Exeter responded positively with Jamie Cureton and Jamie Reid going close.
Jimmy Keohane blazed over the bar from 18 yards for Cheltenham and was then superbly denied by keeper Scott Brown.
Defeat for the Grecians ended their hopes of making the play-offs, but fourth-placed Cheltenham can still go up automatically with a win over Bradford on the final weekend, provided Rotherham lose at home to bottom club Aldershot.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale told BBC Radio Devon:
"There are plenty of reasons why we fell short of the play-offs, we've been left wanting in one or two areas of our game.
"I thought it was a fantastic effort today from a group that's been depleted with half a dozen definite starters, with young players coming into the side.
"I thought it was one of the best first-half performances of the season from us.
"If you're going to be a serious promotion team, you can't be guessing on young players, we have no back-up."
Sorry, we were unable to load match stats, please try again.
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +1:23
Scot Bennett gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Michael Hector. Scott Brown restarts play with the free kick.88:28
Michael Hector challenges Jimmy Keohane unfairly and gives away a free kick. Craig Woodman takes the free kick.87:14
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jermaine McGlashan by Jordan Moore-Taylor. Direct free kick taken by Scott Brown.86:36
Jimmy Keohane takes a shot. Save by Scott Brown. Corner taken left-footed by Jamie Cureton, clearance by Steve Elliott.85:03
The official flags Scot Bennett offside. Scott Brown restarts play with the free kick.83:01
Jimmy Keohane takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the crossbar.81:31 Substitution
Substitution Darryl Duffy comes on in place of Byron Harrison.76:49 Substitution
Substitution Guillem Bauza joins the action as a substitute, replacing Alan Gow.75:28
Lawson D'Ath concedes a free kick for a foul on Byron Harrison. Scott Brown takes the direct free kick.72:18 Substitution
Substitution Jimmy Keohane joins the action as a substitute, replacing Steve Tully.69:13
Inswinging corner taken by Marlon Pack from the right by-line, Michael Hector takes a shot. Artur Krysiak makes a comfortable save.68:26
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Billy Jones, Scot Bennett manages to make a clearance.67:16 Substitution
Substitution Scot Bennett comes on in place of Jamie Reid.64:52
Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Billy Jones, Artur Krysiak makes a save.62:53 Substitution
Substitution (Cheltenham) makes a substitution, with Sam Deering coming on for Jason Taylor.61:40
Marlon Pack fouled by Tommy Doherty, the ref awards a free kick. Billy Jones produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick.57:55
Handball by Tommy Doherty. Billy Jones takes the direct free kick.54:15
The referee blows for offside against Jamie Cureton. Scott Brown restarts play with the free kick.53:43
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Alan Gow by Kaid Mohamed. Free kick taken by Alan Gow.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Byron Harrison on Jordan Moore-Taylor. Direct free kick taken by Artur Krysiak.49:08
Jamie Cureton is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Scott Brown takes the direct free kick.45:01
The referee gets the second half underway.45:00 +2:14 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.45:00 +1:37
Corner taken by Arron Davies played to the near post, clearance made by Steve Elliott.45:00
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kaid Mohamed by Tommy Doherty. Direct free kick taken by Billy Jones.42:21 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Sido Jombati for time wasting.40:50
Lawson D'Ath gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jermaine McGlashan. Free kick crossed left-footed by Billy Jones from left channel, Craig Woodman manages to make a clearance.37:01
Inswinging corner taken by Craig Woodman from the right by-line, save made by Scott Brown.36:35
Billy Jones gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alan Gow. Direct free kick taken by Danny Coles.35:44
Kaid Mohamed is adjudged to have handled the ball. Tommy Doherty takes the free kick.33:14
Kaid Mohamed takes a shot. Save made by Artur Krysiak.30:14
Effort from the edge of the penalty area by Alan Gow goes wide of the left-hand post.28:54
Byron Harrison challenges Danny Coles unfairly and gives away a free kick. Artur Krysiak takes the direct free kick.28:22
Jamie Cureton produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target.19:39
Steve Elliott gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alan Gow. Craig Woodman takes the direct free kick.18:34
Jamie Cureton produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.18:16
Unfair challenge on Alan Gow by Billy Jones results in a free kick. Tommy Doherty takes the direct free kick.16:55
Russell Penn fouled by Jamie Reid, the ref awards a free kick. Steve Elliott restarts play with the free kick.15:49
Jamie Reid produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.14:31
Corner taken by Alan Gow from the right by-line.8:55
Lawson D'Ath produces a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area and misses left.5:38
Foul by Russell Penn on Craig Woodman, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Craig Woodman. Effort from the edge of the area by Jamie Cureton goes wide of the left-hand upright.4:33 Goal scored
Goal! - Russell Penn - Exeter 0 - 1 Cheltenham A goal is scored by Russell Penn from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Exeter 0-1 Cheltenham.3:42
Craig Woodman challenges Jermaine McGlashan unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Sido Jombati.2:22
Foul by Tommy Doherty on Marlon Pack, free kick awarded. Shot comes in from Marlon Pack from the free kick.0:00
The game begins.
Live data and text provided by our data suppliers