Match report: Exeter City 1 York City 1Exeter City and York City played out a 1-1 draw at St James Park, as the wait for the first win of 2014/15 continued for both sides.
The teams were level for just seven minutes, before David Wheeler rose brilliantly above marker Femi Ilesanmi to head home Matt Oakley’s delivery from deep.
However it was centre-half Keith Lowe that earned York’s equaliser, heading in a swinging corner from Luke Summerfield with ten minutes left on the clock.
Exeter had to defend solidly throughout but also created chances to win the game. Lowe was denied a second with the last action of the game as the teams shared the spoils.
David Wheeler, Arron Davies and Aaron Dawson all came in to start for the Grecians, while Danny Butterfield missed out from the squad completely and injury also kept Tom Nichols and new signing Christian Ribeiro out.
City captain Scot Bennett began the game as a centre-forward once again, a position he was successfully deployed in during the previous season alongside Graham Cummins in what resembled more of a 4-4-2.
The Grecians had the early impetus and were troubling the Minstermen’s defence into plenty of early problems, with Bennett in particular working the rearguard hard. Oakley’s corner was just an inch too high for the unmarked Cummins, whose effort looped up and over.
But Exeter soon took the lead that their bright start deserved. It was a ball from deep from Oakley, who was deployed in an unfamiliar centre-half role, which Wheeler met with a giant leap to direct the ball past the helpess Michael Ingham.
York might have been back on terms merely minutes later when Tom Platt ran most of the pitch unchallenged and delivered for Anthony Straker, who could only hit the side netting from a narrowing angle.
Exeter kept the tempo high and some battling on the right flank by Dawson and Liam Sercombe allowed Matt Grimes some space to shoot, only for a deflection to take the sting out of the attack. Dawson and Sercombe combined soon after with similar consequence, as the Exeter-born midfielder’s effort was closed down and found its way to the goalkeeper.
The Minstermen ended the half strongly, but Exeter’s defence were meeting the challenge. The closest the visitors came two getting on terms was through a Keith Lowe header, meeting a Luke Summerfield corner at the far post, but it sailed wide.
Half-time: Exeter City 1 York City 0
York came out quickly in the second half and Pat Baldwin was on hand to make a great recovery tackle to deny Jake Hyde the chance to pull the trigger, after his weak back-header had been pounced upon by the York striker.
Luke Summerfield had a chance to strike from a free-kick from right of centre, 25 yards from goal, but couldn’t get direction on his effort.
It was an evenly-balanced affair, although York were getting more of the efforts away on goal. Jake Hyde was the latest to get a chance, but his bending effort was well wide of Christy Pym’s goal.
Cummins was released through on goal and the Big Bank were incensed when no decision was taken as centre-half Keith Lowe appeared to bundle down the former Rochdale and Preston man.
The striker was almost gifted a route to goal courtesy of a wayward pass by Ilesanmi, but the forward was blocked off well by Lowe as he shaped to shoot left-footed.
In a carbon copy of the first half, a corner from the right from Summerfield was header inches over the bar by Lowe as the centre-half continued to threaten.
But minutes later the defender did get his goal – it was the same combo again but from the other flank, as Summerfield’s inswinger was header into the ground and bounced up into the net at the back stick.
Between those efforts from the defender, Jimmy Keohane had come on to replace Grimes and immediately after his arrival had almost teed up Wheeler for his second, but Ingham was well-positioned to take.
Bennett, working tirelessly up front, found space to curl an effort towards goal from the edge of the D but missed the target with his strike.
Exeter had a chance to win it through Davies, but Marvin McCoy threw himself in front of a half-volley to protect the goal.
And the last action of the game saw Summerfield again deliver a dangerous corner to Lowe, but Pym was well-placed to collect the headed effort.
Full-time: Exeter City 1 York City 1
Exeter City: Pym; Dawson, Baldwin, Oakley, Woodman; Wheeler, Sercombe, Grimes (Keohane 79), Davies; Bennett, Cummins.
Subs: Hamon, Riley-Lowe, Tillson, Jay, Pope, Watkins.
Goal: Wheeler (7).
York City: Ingham; McCoy, Lowe, Winfield, Ilesanmi; Platt (Fletcher 61), Penn, Summerfield, Straker (Meikle 53); Hyde (Hirst 77), Coulson.
Subs: Mooney, McCombe, Parslow, Montrose.
Goal: Lowe (81).
Attendance: 2,741 (141 away).
Referee: Stephen Davis