A stoppage time goal from Barry Corr cancelled out local boy Sam Baldock's opener as Paul Ince's men missed the chance to pile the pressure on those teams currently occupying the play-off places.
In a feisty encounter, the Dons looked to be heading for a comfortable home win, looking neat and tidy in possession, before Corr struck in added time.
After a relatively subdued start to game, in which both sides tried to pass the ball on a difficult surface, on-loan winger Andros Townsend began to trouble the Exeter defence with his trickery and direct running. It was his pass that allowed Luke Chadwick to find time and space just outside of the visitors' area, only for his shot to fly harmlessly wide of Andy Marriott's goal.
Chances were few and far between in the opening exchanges though - Dons defender Darren Powell looped a speculative effort over Marrott's crossbar as the Dons began to exert some pressure on the Exeter backline.
It was the visitors who fashioned the first real chance however as Ryan Harley's well-struck shot cannoned off the post and Willy Gueret was up quickly to stop the follow-up from Marcus Stewart with a brilliant reflex save. At the other end Baldock came close to an opener as he latched onto Aaron Wilbraham's headed pass and rounded the keeper only to see his goal-bound effort blocked. The game came to life soon after as Townsend was booked for an ill-timed tackle on Alex Russell , a melee ensued and Powell and Grecians captain Matthew Taylor followed the midfielder into the referee's notebook.
The striking combination of Wilbraham and Baldock was continuing to cause the visitors problems as the latter stole in behind the defence once again from Wilbraham's flick-on but was denied time to shoot by Steve Tully. Just before the break Chadwick again found space just outside the Exeter box, but his low drive was saved well down low by Marriott to keep it goalless and send the teams in level at half-time. With Ince's words still resonating with the players the Dons came out flying in the second period.
Once again Wilbraham won his battle with Taylor to release the unmarked Baldock just inside the Exeter area. The England Under-20 international steadied himself before smashing violently past Marriott for his 10th goal of the season to put the Dons ahead in the 49th minute.
Much like the opening stages of the first period, both sides were content to play the ball around patiently but it was the home side who looked more threatening with Chadwick and Townsend becoming increasingly influential on the wings. Substitute Corr, who scored twice in a thrilling 4-3 FA Cup encounter between these two sides back in November, forced Gueret into making a decent stop from a header in a dangerous position but the Grecians were becoming frustrated with their lack of firepower going into the final fifteen minutes of the game.
The Dons, on the other hand were able to call on the services of top scorer Jermaine Easter and loanee Mark Randall as they looked to close the game out. Goal scorer Baldock made way in the 77th minute. The Dons still threatened on occasion though and as Taylor misjudged his headed clearance, Wilbraham stole in behind and tried to loop his effort over Marriott, only to be denied by the experienced keeper.
As the fourth official lifted his board to signal seven minutes of added time the visitors netted an unlikely equaliser. Adam Stansfield's cross from the right made it all the way through to Corr, who was unmarked at the back post, to slot past a stranded Gueret. Suddenly, with an almost palpable sense of urgency around the ground, the Dons moved up a gear and could have regained the lead as Peter Leven shot from the left-hand side of the Exeter area, but his shot flew over the crossbar.
Neither side could find a winner though as the final whistle was blown, the visitors undoubtedly happier with a point. For the Dons, a draw leaves them two places below the play-off places moving into the latter stages of the season.
Dons: Gueret, Lewington, McCracken, Gleeson, Wilbraham, Baldock (Easter 77), Woodards, Leven, Powell (Carrington 45), Chadwick (Randall 71), Townsend.
Subs not used: Gobern, Davis, Howell, Morgan Booked: Townsend, Powell, Lewington, McCracken, Gleeson, Wilbraham
Goal: Baldock 50 Exeter City: Marriott, Tully, Duffy, Russell (Corr 52), Taylor, Harley, Stansfield, Golbourne, Edwards (Burnell 82), Stewart (Logan 32), Sercombe
Subs not used: Saunders, Dunne, Jones, Fleetwod Booked: Stewart, Taylor, Stansfield
Goal: Corr 90+2