Substitute Barry Corr's late header earned Southend United a point against Fleetwood Town but the draw did little for either side's play-off chances.
Alan Goodall's close-range header put the visitors ahead on two minutes and they dominated until the closing stages against a lacklustre Blues side.
Gareth Evans should have made it 2-0 from the spot after a Ryan Cresswell handball but Paul Smith saved.
And Corr made the Cod Army pay when he headed in Britt Assombalonga's cross.
Southend could not muster a shot before the break but a lively finale sparked by Corr's introduction could easily have seen them take all three points and earn Phil Brown a first victory as manager.
Mark Laird had a great chance but his header was easily saved and the Blues are now six points adrift of the League Two play-off places with just five games remaining.
Fleetwood are three points behind Exeter, who occupy the final play-off position, but have played a game more.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Southend United manager Phil Brown told BBC Essex:
"I was disappointed to tell you the truth.
"What the players gave me on Friday (2-2 at Bradford), I thought if we produce the same kind of form, commitment and attitude, we'd come away with our first win under my tenure.
"But it wasn't to be. It was a bit like 'pass and you do it, pass and you do it', instead of grasping the nettle.
"I wanted a few [players] to put a marker down for the JPT final at Wembley, one or two did on Friday, but today we didn't do enough of that."