Jake Caprice scored his first career goal as Exeter City held on to beat ten-man Carlisle United at St James Park.
Caprice’s right-foot effort ended a 321-game drought and added to Sam Nombe’s earlier flicked finish.
Jordan Gibson pulled a goal back for the Cumbrians, with their side restricted to ten after Jon Mellish’s first half red card.
The win extends City’s unbeaten league run to fifteen games.
Exeter made three changes from Tuesday with Josh Coley earning his first league start for the Grecians.
Former City defender Brennan Dickenson swazzed a volley high and wide as the visitors looked to start on the front foot. The Cumbrians forced a couple of corners in the early exchanges without really testing the City box.
Exeter themselves were throwing crosses into the box and it was from the right hand side they had the first effort of the afternoon. Jevani Brown took aim from the edge of the box but keeper Mark Howard kept his cool and got down well.
Cam Dawson was equally in full alert to deny other former City-man Tristian Abrahams from opening the scoring.
The largest cheer of the first half came when Danny Devine sliced a dropping effort high over the City bar as the game lacked early quality.
Alex Hartridge had to be on his toes to clear a dangerous looking Abrahams ball across the box as Carlisle looked the more promising.
Exeter’s best chance of the half fell the way of Tim Dieng. Brown skinned his man on the right-hand side and pulled the ball to the edge of the box. The late arriving Dieng struck well but the United keeper parried away.
The game was sparked into life as Carlisle had a man sent off. Jon Mellish threw in a rash challenge on Archie Collins on the edge of the City box. Referee Will Finney made no hesitation in reaching into his back-pocket and the Cumbrians were down to ten men before the break.
Kicking toward the Big Bank in the second half, Exeter tested Howard on 47 minutes. A slack clearance from the keeper fell to Brown who opted to play a one-two with Matt Jay. Howard made amends claiming the high cross into the box.
The Grecians almost went ahead following a short corner. Brown at the heart of the action whipped a ball in. An almighty scramble in the middle led to City hitting the post and Josh Coley then headed wide.
MJ then came within whiskers of connecting from a Colin Daniel cross which elevated the City fans back into their ever-supreme voice.
And the noise decibels rose further as Sam Nombe nicked the Grecians ahead just after the hour.
With City in the ascendency and knocking the ball about with confidence, second half sub Jonathan Grounds found space on the edge to drive at goal. Through a crowd of Red and Blue shirts, Nombe got the faintest of toes to the effort to claim the strike and put Exeter ahead.
The goal sprung Carlisle into a fightback and Tristian Abrahams snuck around the City back line and forced a fine hand out of Dawson. Dickenson soon tested the Exeter number one from a free-kick as the game burst into life.
The Reds were getting joy down the right and Sweeney, Jay and Brown all had similar runs to the by-line, though the Carlisle defence held strong like Hadrian’s Wall.
With 11 minutes to play City got their second with Jake Caprice’s first career goal. No taking this one off him either.
Jevani Brown broke through the Cumbrians half. Caprice’s afterburners were on max capacity as he flew past Brown on the overlap. Caprice received the ball, cut onto his right foot and blasted under the keeper to send St James Park into raptures.
Carlisle responded immediately. Brennan Dickenson sent a ball across the box and Jordan Gibson unmarked smashed past Dawson to set up a nervy finish.
Caprice almost grabbed his second. Brown yet again laying the wing-back off, but Jake side-footed over. Josh Key too hit high into the stand from range.
Jake Caprice’s confidence was sky high and finished the game with a flourish of step-overs and shots and Exeter claimed all three points.
Exeter City: Dawson, Daniel (Grounds 54’), Hartridge, Sweeney, Key, Dieng, Collins, Jay, Coley (Caprice 74’), J.Brown, Nombe (Amond 80’)
Subs: S. Brown, Ray, Kite, Edwards
Carlisle United: Howard, Mellor, Armer (Charters 36’), Devine, McDonald, Dickenson, Mellish, Abrahams (Fishburn 80’), Whelan, Gibson, Young (Feeney 56’)
Subs: Simons, Dinzeyi, Clough, Mampala
Referee: Will Finnie
Attendance: 4,796 (155 away)