A last-gasp penalty from Reece Cole has effectively confirmed Exeter City will be playing their football in Sky Bet League One next season.

The Grecians fell behind at relegation threatened Cheltenham Town early in the second half on Easter Monday but quickly levelled through Luke Harris, and Cole held his nerve from the spot in stoppage time to move Exeter 12 points clear of the drop zone with just five games left in their season.

Exeter were by far the better side in the first half, as the Robins struggled to cope with their visitors. Mo Eisa went close for the Grecians and Ryan Woods forced a top save from Cheltenham goalkeeper Luke Southwood.

The hosts, who have been stuck in the relegation zone all season, made two substitutions at half-time and were given instant reward, Sean Long crossing for Ben Williams to head home the opener.

City replied within five minutes, Harris latching on to a lovely pass from Tom Carroll before steering an accomplished finish beyond Southwood.

Both sides had chances to win it before the decisive moment arrived, Lewis Freestone handling the ball in the box for a dramatic penalty. Cole did the rest and over 1,500 Exeter City fans made the short journey home with League One safety assured.

Exeter manager Gary Caldwell told the club website: "In the first half, if it was boxing match, I think it would've been stopped. We were outstanding and the only thing we didn't do was put the ball in the net.

"0-0 at half-time and they were always going to come out with more energy and raise their game and we started poorly.

"To go a goal down here against a team fighting for their life and produce a comeback, it's outstanding. We stuck to our principles and got that win.”