A Jayden Stickley hat-trick condemned Oldham Athletic to a defeat after Sam Surridge and Callum Lang had twice given Latics the lead.
There were a few penalty shouts during the game for Latics, but referee Martin Coy waved away several of the dubious moments.
Latics had an early penalty shout as Surridge tangled with Dean Moxey in the Exeter penalty area, but the referee waved away the claims.
Surridge wouldn’t be denied past the ten-minute mark, as Tom Hamer produced a beautiful cross into the Bournemouth loanee who headed Oldham into the lead.
Hamer then found Called Lang from another cross, but Lang couldn’t quite curl his shot inside of the post.
Gevaro Nepomuceno then chipped a delightful ball into Lang, but he was basically on the touchline, so he couldn’t quite direct his shot into the net.
Exeter started to get themselves back into the game with a lot of direct balls towards the frontmen and set pieces were always going to be their method of route to goal.
Jake Taylor was found at the back post of a Lee Holmes corner, but he put the shot into the side netting.
Taylor found himself free in the box moments later, but Daniel Iversen spread himself nicely to save with his feet.
Surridge then forced a good save from Christy Pym before the visitors found an equaliser.
Exeter were awarded a contentious corner which Holmes put onto the head of Stockley who directed the ball into the bottom corner.
Latics had the last chance of the half as Nepomuceno tried to catch Pym out at his near post, but the Grecians goalkeeper managed to keep out the shot.
Oldham regained the lead at the start of the second half as Lang danced his way past two Exeter defenders before drilling the ball into the bottom corner.
Holmes hit the bar moments later after good build up down the left-hand side before Surridge fired another effort over.
That same move down the left proved to be Oldham’s downfall as Holmes pulled it back to Stockley to equalise once again.
George Edmundson almost gave Oldham a third lead after he headed Mohamed Maouche’s corner onto the roof of the net.
But it would be Stockley who completed his treble as Latics switched off at the back, allowing Holmes to find Stockley at the back post to head into an empty net.
Substitute Ishmael Miller presented a glorious opportunity for Surridge to score, but the striker fired his shot over on the turn.
Lang then fired another shot over as Latics desperately tried to get themselves a share of the spoils.
They should have had the chance to as Jordan Lyden was wiped out in the penalty area, but somehow the referee didn’t give the decision when it pretty much looked stonewall.
The unbeaten league run comes to an end, but Latics must find a way to pick themselves up when they travel to Carlisle United on Boxing Day.
Attendance 4079 (182 Away)
Iversen, Hamer (Taylor 76’), Clarke ©, Edmundson, Hunt, Lang, Maouche (Lyden 67’), Missilou, Nepomuceno, O’Grady (Miller 58’), Surridge
Pym, Sweeney, Woodman, O’Shea, Martin (Ogbene 67’), Law, Holmes (Jay 84’), Stockley, Moxey, Taylor ©, Collins