In a tight and cagey first half, chances were few and far between. Exeter’s best chances fell to Graham Cummins, who had a trio of headers off target, while Lee Holmes was denied from distance by Joe Day’s smart save.
The closest either side came was on the stroke of half-time when poor Exeter defending allowed Yan Klukowski top nip in and get a shot away, but he could only fire against the far post from 12 yards.
The second half continued in much the same way with Ismail Yakubu off target with a header for Newport, while Mark Byrne spurned two great opportunities for Newport.
The deadlock was broken in the 77th minute when David Wheeler ran onto Clinton Morrison’s perfectly-weighted through ball and while Day got a touch, the ball trickled over the line and into the net.
And in the 90th minute, Wheeler was brought down by Ismail Yakubu, who was sent off, and Ryan Harley sent Day the wrong way from the penalty spot to clinch the win.