MK Dons lost ground on the automatic promotion spots in League 2 as Paul Tisdale was beaten 3-1 on his first return to Exeter.
Tisdale returned to Devon for the first time after a 12-year stint in charge of the Grecians, and hoping to see his side build on their midweek win over Oldham.
But two goals from Nicky Law – one courtesy of an MK Dons defensive error – and a further strike by Jake Taylor gave the home side a victory that takes them into the top place.
MK Dons had got back into the contest when Joe Walsh made it 2-1 and came close to equalise before Law’s second ended the contest.
The result means MK Dons remain 6th on an afternoon that saw the two sides above them fail to play due to the weather, and three points for the side from Devon means they are now level on points with the Dons in the top 6.
Exeter took the lead in the game’s early stages, when Law was picked out by Jonathan Forte’s acrobatic cross and turned the ball over the line.
A fine early chance for the Dons saw David Wheeler headed over Dean Lewington’s cross, but the Dons would then concede a second ten minutes after shipping the opener.
The home side would get number two when home skipper Taylor intercepted a bad clearance on the edge of the box and rifled his low strike into the bottom corner.
Exeter then saw Law come close to grabbing a third first half goal for the home team, when Nicholls made a firm save to keep Law out.
MK Dons would then grab a goal back within three minutes of the restart, as Walsh got a free header on Ryan Watson’s corner to put the visitors back within one.
The Dons would then have chances for an equaliser when Chuks Aneke was denied by Christy Pym and Wheeler headed over.
However, Exeter then re-took the initiative and would re-establish a two goal lead in the final 20 minutes in farcical circumstances, as Walsh and Nicholls got in each others way when greeted with a long ball down the home side’s right flank, and Law simply rolled the ball in.
Law would be denied a hat-trick late on, but by then the damage was done as MK Dons sunk to their 4th defeat of 2019.