Lee Martin’s stunning effort was enough to help Exeter City to a 1-0 win over Crewe Alexandra at St James Park in Sky Bet League Two.
The only goal of the game came when the midfielder cut in from the left before sending an exquisite effort into the top corner from distance.
The Grecians made three changes to the side that started the loss to Bury last time out as Martin, Dean Moxey and Archie Collins came into the side against David Artell’s team.
Following a 13:45 pitch inspection at St James Park due to heavy rain, referee Craig Hicks deemed the pitch playable as the Grecians looked to return to winning ways.
City started brightly in the opening 10 minutes and almost went ahead seven minutes in on two occasions.
The first stemmed from a clever ball over the top into the path of Jake Taylor, before his shot at the near post smashed against the crossbar. City kept the move alive through Lee Holmes, and when the ball found its way to Nicky Law to the right of goal, his shot went just over.
Both sides looked to create going forward, but a difficult surface made it tough for players to travel any great distance with the ball at their feet meaning moves often broke down in the opening 30 minutes.
But the Grecians did manage to work a good chance on 33 minutes when Woodman found Taylor, who passed first time into the path of Holmes, but his chipped effort was pushed away by Ben Garratt.
The Grecians then found themselves in front on 42 minutes in fantastic fashion. Martin received the ball out on the right before he cut inside and unleashed a wonderful left-footed effort past Garratt in the Crewe goal to give the Grecians a deserved lead at the break.
James Jones had Crewe's first real attempt of note on 50 minutes when the away side worked the ball well on the edge of the City box before he shot wide of goal.
Callum Ainley had Crewe’s second effort moments later when Jordan Bowery did well to knock the ball down from a cross, but the Alexandra man’s effort was well wide.
But City seemed to ride out that spell of Crewe pressure and looked to control the game as much as possible in terms of possession, often looking threatening through Law and Martin in behind the Crewe back line.
City looked to dominate the closing stages of the game as they looked to further their advantage, and they almost did so, when Chiedozie Ogbene crossed well but Law was unable to get a clean effort away as Crewe cleared.
But the away side had a golden chance to level things on 85 minutes when Shaun Miller went through on goal before rounding Christy Pym, but he could only fire his effort against the crossbar.
Thankfully for the Grecians that was to be the last scare of the match as they held onto a welcome three points.
Exeter City: Pym, Sweeney, Woodman, O’Shea, L. Martin, Law, Holmes (Ogbene, 76), Stockley, Moxey, Taylor, Collins
Subs not used: Hamon, A. Martin, Tillson, Forte, Jay, Abrahams
Crewe Alexandra: Garratt, Ng, Pickering, Ray, Jones, Bowery, Ainley (Finney, 86), Nolan, Nicholls (Miller, 77), Wintle, Kirk (Dale, 52)
Subs not used: Richards, Porter, Hunt, Whelan
Booked: Jones, Ray, Dale, Artell
Attendance: 3,505 (Inc, 104, away)