Jamie Cureton's equaliser grabbed relegation-threatened Exeter a vital point at home to Colchester.
Colchester bossed the opening stages and took the lead when Michael Rose set Karl Duguid through on goal, and the midfielder calmly slotted home.
The U's almost doubled their advantage but Rose's fine effort was turned onto the post by Artur Krysiak.
The hosts rallied and got the deserved equaliser when Steve Tully found Cureton, who powered his header home.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale tells BBC Radio Devon:
"I liked the way we played, I liked the gumption the players showed, the spirited performance and we played a lot of football.
"Other than a terrible, poor ten seconds, which concluded a disappointing first five minutes when they scored a very, very soft goal, I'm very happy with the way we played.
"The reality is we've had to change the side every week and we've had a couple of days to work on it. It was a classic case of people not quite reacting to what their jobs should be and it cost us a goal.
"You look at the other 94 minutes of the game and we were excellent. There were four or five players that just stood out fantastically well and set the heartbeat of the team."
Colchester United manager John Ward told BBC Essex:
"I'm a bit disappointed really. That (the Exeter goal) should have just been a blot on a two, three or four-goal win really."
"We had enough opportunities to score and put the game to bed. It should have just been a statistic that goal."
"I think we've lost that kind of killer instinct that we had in the early part of the season when we put four goals past five different clubs."
"We were unable to put it in the back of the net, I've got players in the side that can do that."