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11:41 4th March 2012

Exeter City 1 Stevenage 1

Exeter City had to settle for a point against Play Off hopefuls Stevenage at St James Park this afternoon. City flew out of the traps with new loaning signing Jamie Cureton smashing an effort towards goal on 10 minutes which bounced off the line and back into play. Just six minutes later strike partner Richard Logan rolled home the opening goal and the Grecians had chances to extend that lead even further before the interval. But after the break the away side penned the Grecians back and drew level on when Robin Shroot's half-volley hit both posts before finding the back of the net. With Jake Taylor returning from Wales Under 21 duty with a bruised ankle and with Dan Nardiello having not trained since Tuesday it meant a place in the starting line-up for the returning number 12. Billy Jones picked up a thigh injury on Thursday which meant a debut for Luke O'Brien at left-back. The other changes saw a start for Logan and a return to the side for Steve Tully. Cureton's move certainly created a buzz amongst the majority of the 4437 in St James Park and it took a matter of minutes for the former Norwich man to remind fans what he's all about. A long ball was deflected into the path of Cureton who thumped a first time effort from inside the box that crashed off the crossbar, then the line, before heading to safety. Cureton told the Official Website yesterday how Richard Logan hoped the return of City's number 12 would help his goal tally and it took just 16 minutes for Logan to find the back of the net. David Noble chipped a ball towards City's number 20 on the right hand side of the box. Having beaten his marker to the ball and after getting a stroke of luck when it bounced of Lawrie Wilson and right back to his feet, Logan showed great composure to steady himself before poking the ball into the corner. At the other end a vital tackle from James Dunne inside the box stopped Craig Reid in his tracks while Jon Ashton headed straight at Artur Krysiak when well placed before he headed well over the bar at the back post on 28 minutes. Darius Charles has shown his versatility this season for Stevenage, playing in defence and upfront, and he showed why he's a danger going forward with a crashing effort on goal that smashed into the ad boards. The next chance in what was a fairly promising half for the Grecians came just after the half-hour when Dunne's low shot from the right hand side rolled all the way across the goal before being watched out of play by Chris Day. The biggest chance for Stevenage to go in level at half-time came in first half stoppage time when a Scott Laird cross from the left-hand flank flew across the box but Shroot fluffed his lines from the centre of the penalty box. The opening 20 minutes of the second half were City's worst of the match with the away team pressing the Grecians and keeping them pinned in their own half. They won a number of corners and shot straight at Krysiak on a number of occasions. On 50 minutes Tully was forced to head the ball behind at the back post after Wilson had picked up Sercombe's miss-placed past, beaten Danny Coles down the flank and stood up a cross to the back post. Then on 57 minutes the diving body of O'Brien stopped Reid's stinging volley as City struggled to contain Gary Smith's men. On 62 minutes Smith introduced Jennison Myrie-Williams who took just a matter of seconds to make an impact. He flew down the left-hand flank and pulled a ball back for Shroot who made up for his earlier guilt-edged miss by firing in a cracking first time effort that Krysiak could only watch as it flew past him in a very similar way to Noble's free-kick had against Sheffield Wednesday last month. And seconds later Myrie-Williams could have won the game for the away side when he raced through by Krysiak flew off his lane and saved extremely well with his feet. Tisdale responded to the setback by introducing Guillem Bauza and Jake Taylor for Logan and Sercombe. Cureton's movement kept the Stevenage defence on their toes all afternoon and Tisdale will have been delighted that the Orient loanee got 90 minutes under his belt having not played a first team game since January. On 70 minutes he almost sniffed out a typical Cureton goal when Noble fizzed a shot towards goal that Day could only parry and the keeper grabbed it at the second attempt with Cureton looking to pounce like he did so many times last season. Then, after Bauza had fired a shot across goal and wide, Cureton picked up Noble's ball, span and half-volleyed an effort straight at the keeper. The game was becoming much more of an even encounter now after a spell that was all Stevenage and City had two fantastic chances to win it late on. First Noble's deep free-kick was met by Coles at the back post infront of the Big Bank but it was kept out by the feet of Day on the line. And in injury time Nardiello had a huge chance to grab the winner just minutes after replacing Dunne, the ball was headed into his path by troy he could only scuff his shot straight at a relieved Day. Other results meant City now sit in 20th place, just a point and a place above the relegation zone. The games coming thick and fast now with a trip to Brentford on Tuesday night next up for the Grecians.
    Data provided by Press Association