Two goals inside two dramatic second half minutes took Hartlepool United to their first League Two win of the season.
Pools had trailed to Liam McAlinden's neat 32-minute finish.
But Michael Woods levelled in the 74th minute from close range before Billy Paynter turned and scored the winner 60 seconds later to send the 121 away fans behind the goal into ecstasy.
Pools had a bright start when Alessandra tried to wriggle his way through but after beating the better of two defenders, couold not beat the third.
Early play was quite tame though Exeter gained a free-kick, but the Pools wall did its job, blocking Simpson's attempt from 25 yards.
Pools, operating a 4-3-3 had little joy though when Paynter did well to win the ball in the centre-circle it launched a four-man move, but Alessandra did not seem to be on the same wavelength as Thomas
and the ball ran out for a home goal-kick.
Pools fell behind on 32 minutes when Watkins was given too much room from a throw-in down the left, he set up McALINDEN, whose precise finish from 12 yards ended in Carson's bottom-left corner.
The away side ended the half well with a first corner won by Thomas, who then saw a 25-yard free-kick hit the wall.
Hignett made a double change at half-time with Amond and Bates replacing Hawkins and Jones, meaning Pools went 4-4-2.
It almost paid dividends, only for Amond's first touch to be a miss with the goal at mercy.
Paynter did superbly to set him up but the striker's shot rolled wide of the goalie's left stick.
Pools were almost in on 50 minutes when Thomas broke into the box, but Olejnik beat out his left-foot shot.
Exeter had their chances and Carson saved well from Watkins and James went close from a free-kick after he was fouled by Featherstone.
At the other end, Nsiala got on the end of a Thomas free-kick in the 67th minute but the ball dropped nicely into Olejnik's hands.
But Pools were not only soon level, but ahead.
Alessandra looked offside from Amond's neat flick and his cross could not be cleared and dropped nicely for WOODS to convert with his left foot from 10 yards.
And Pools were ahead in the 75th minute with a neat turn and finish from PAYNTER from Magnay's low cross from the right.
Exeter went close to an 80th-minute equaliser when Watkins headed just wide from Connor Riley-Lowe's cross.
EXETER CITY 1
HARTLEPOOL UNITED 2
Exeter: Olejnik, McCready (Egan 90), Woodman (Jay 86), James, Tillson, Simpson, Watkins, Moore-Taylor, McAlinden (Riley-Lowe 70), Taylor, Sweeney.
Unused Subs: Byrne, Ampadu, Pym, Storey.
Goal: McAlinden 32
Booked: Tillson 8, Taylor 38, Sweeney 61
Pools: Carson, Magnay, Nsiala, Jones (Bates 46), Carroll, Featherstone, Woods, Hawkins (Amond 46), Alessandra, Paynter (Oates 86), Thomas
Unused Subs: Bartlett, Richards, Laurent, Deverdics
Goal: Woods 74, Paynter 75
Booked: Featherstone 52
Referee: Mark Heywood
Att: 3,322 (121 away)