It was a spot kick that saw the deadlock broken in the 15th minute, after Scott Bennett fouled Rene Howe inside the box.
The 26-year-old striker picked himself up to dispatch the kick into the top corner.
Howe nearly doubled the Gulls' lead in the second half, but they could not get the killer goal.
Gow nearly hit the winner in the dying minutes, but his shot from just outside the area drifted wide of the goal.
The 1-1 draw sees Exeter pull two points clear of fourth-placed Rotherham United.