City and Fifers play out score drawExeter City ended their first pre-season friendly with a 1-1 draw away in East Fife.
It was a chance for both teams to get game-time into the legs of their players ahead of the new season.
And the Grecians looked like they were going to win the game when Christian Ribeiro poked in late on.
However Nathan Austin pegged back late on with a swinging effort from outside the area.
Trialist Alex Fisher was amongst the starters for Exeter, as was Jamie Reid after a lengthy spell away from action in City colours with injury.
The Fifers were using numerous trialists of their own, with no less than five starters and four subs all unnamed.
The hosts were seeing a decent share of the ball in the opening exchanges, but Exeter were working hard to deny space and prevented any openings.
James Hamon, who began in goal, was stewarding the defence and twice made sure that free-kicks from the right amounted to nothing.
At the other end, it was Jamie Reid who brought the first save of the match – he stole in to win the ball on the left and eventually worked an angle to fire from a tight angle, forcing Ryan Goodfellow to parry around the post.
From the resultant corner, a weak clearing header fell into the path of Alex Nicholls – he dug out a strike but it was teammate Jordan Tillson who accidentally kept the effort at bay.
Reid, who was operating on the left flank of a front three, was cutting inside to good effect and again tested the reactions of Goodfellow, who tipped over a 25-yard effort.
Kyle Wilkie had half a chance to get an effort away but he found his route to goal blocked by a number of Exeter bodies. Pat Slattery too had a chance but it lacked sufficient power to worry stopper Hamon.
Fisher almost etched his name onto the scoresheet on his first game in Exeter colours – it was a dissecting through-ball from Tom McCready which sent him clear, but it just ran too far for him to get a telling touch and allowed Ryan Goodfellow to block from close range.
Goodfellow again had to be alert when Nicholls, working space on the right, swung a ball towards Fisher – it was a firm fist which took it off the striker’s head and to safety.
McCready and Fisher combined well just before the interval – a clever reverse-ball from the forward found his midfield partner, and a dinked effort was just diverted past the far post via the head of a Fifers defender.
Half-time: East Fife 0 Exeter City 0
Arron Davies linked well in the area with Reid after the break but couldn’t put sufficient power in his shot to trouble the goalkeeper. Reid then latched onto a nod-down from Fisher – there was plenty of oomph in his half-volley from 30 yards, but it cleared the crossbar.
After a couple of changes at the break, City made half a dozen more on the hour to give the team a different complexion.
One of those introduced was Tom Nichols, who got onto the end of a right-flank delivery from Nicholls, but the goalkeeper saved and held the effort.
The Fifers were still showing prowess in the Grecians’ final third and the lively Nathan Austin saw a shot saved from a tight angle by sub goalie Christy Pym, after being sent clear down the left.
After Manny Oyeleke won a free-kick 30 yards from goal, a smart ball from Alex Byrne found the feet of Nichols in the area – a drop of the shoulder allowed him space but goalie Goodfellow saved with his outstretched legs.
Shortly after Pym made another telling save, Nichols then escaped down the left but couldn’t hit the target after cutting inside onto his right peg.
But the breakthrough came shortly before the end when Ribeiro was able to slot in from close range, after a whipped inswinging corner from Lee Holmes caused all sorts of problems for the home defence.
However the Fifers levelled before the end – it was a neat bit of footwork from Austin to find space, and he bent a terrific effort past Pym to tie the scores up.
Full-time: East Fife 1 Exeter City 1
East Fife: Goodfellow, Trialist, Walker, Trialist, Trialist, Wilkie, Slattery, Austin, Trialist, Trialist, Page.
Subs: Trialist, Mullen, Trialist, Trialist, Smith, Trialist.
Exeter City: Hamon (Pym); Davies (Ribeiro), Tillson, McAllister (Brown), Woodman (Butterfield); McCready (Oyeleke), Jay (Wheeler), Byrne (Oakley); Nicholls (Holmes), Fisher (Watkins), Reid (Nichols).
Unused subs: Olejnik, Harley, Noble, Hoskins.
Referee: Steven Reid