City and the Exiles share the spoils at SJPLine ups:
Exeter City: Olejnik, McAllister, Harley, Holmes, Davies, Nicholls, Moore-Taylor (capt), Wheeler (Taylor 76’), Tillson, Stockley (Reid 90+3’), Brown.
Subs: Butterfield, Hamon, Grant, Woodman, Morrison.
Goals: Tillson 51’
Newport County AFC: Day, Holmes, Jones, Davies, Elito, Wilkinson, Donacien (Hughes 46'), Ayina (Morgan 68’), Boden, Rodman (Klukowski 76’), Byrne (capt).
Subs: Owen-Evans, Parselle, Meechan, Beeney.
Goals: Boden 84’
Referee: Mark Heywood
IN A REPEAT of the reverse tie at Rodney Parade in October, Exeter City were pegged back by Newport County AFC as both sides had to settle for a point.
Paul Tisdale made four changes to the City side following midweek’s trip to York City, with Jamie McAllister, Arron Davies, Alex Nicholls and David Wheeler all coming in.
The home side's first chance fell to Jayden Stockley, whose shot was deflected just wide of Newport keeper Joe Day’s goal. City continued to push for an opener as Alex Nicholls' right-footed free-kick was curled just over the bar.
Despite City’s early dominance they came within a whisker of going behind on two occasions - both times, Conor Wilkinson had Bobby Olejnik beaten, but his shot struck the same post as the away fans prepared to erupt behind the goal.
Ryan Harley produced a thunderous strike almost out of nowhere for Day to make the spectacular save, and he was later denied by the post from a free-kick.
HALF-TIME: EXETER CITY 0–0 NEWPORT COUNTY AFC
City began the second half excellently, and were rewarded for their good work after Lee Holmes’ free kick found Tillson at the back post. Tillson volleyed past Day into the top corner for his first league goal in an Exeter City shirt.
It was a goal that was much-celebrated by the City players, but not one that rocked their opponents into submission. Rather, through a number of key performances from the likes of Ben Davies and Conor Wilkinson, tested City multiple times in the closing stages of the match. It was a barrage that City defended well - that is, up until there were five minutes to go. Medy Elito crossed for Scott Boden to nod in the leveller, and from there it was the visitors who looked most likely to win it, with another effort going too close for comfort over the bar.
FULL-TIME: EXETER CITY 1–1 NEWPORT COUNTY AFC
ATTENDANCE: 3,924 (443 away)
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ryan Harley