Exeter City 0 Luton Town 0: Match report
Exeter City came within inches of victory at home to Luton Town but had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
It was a game of limited chances throughout the 90 minutes, but Ollie Watkins came closest to getting the breakthrough as his volley cannoned off the crossbar.
City manager Paul Tisdale welcomed back Troy Brown to the starting line-up for the first time since August 27. The 26-year-old defender played the last 25 minutes of last Saturday’s defeat to Carlisle United but had spent two-and-half-months out injured prior to that.
There was also a place on the bench for Ryan Harley, who is also on his way back from a lengthy spell out injured. However, Lee Holmes was ruled out with concussion meaning that Liam McAlinden, having impressed in Tuesday night’s 1-0 win over Leyton Orient, kept his place on the left side of midfield.
It was a quiet first half in terms of chances, with City looking well organized and solid at the back along with their visitors from Bedfordshire.
It took City until the 17th minute to register their first chance on target as Jake Taylor swung a cross to the near post which David Wheeler glanced into the hands of Christian Walton.
Luton then registered their first effort at goal after Glen Rea won a free-kick off McAlinden, but when Alan Sheehan shifted the dead ball into the path of Cameron McGeehan he scuffed his effort off target.
However, the former Norwich City youngster went closer with his next strike at goal as it took a deflection of a Grecian defender before drifting out for a corner.
The best effort of the half came with two minutes to go though as Pierce Sweeney, who had a penalty wrongly given against him when these two sides met earlier in the month, hit a first-time volley just wide after Lloyd James' cross was headed out of the Luton area by James Justin.
The second half started with Christy Pym racing off his line quickly to deny Danny Hylton a shot at goal.
Walton, at the other end, then made smart stop from Reuben Reid after the striker latched onto a Jake Taylor through ball, rounded his defender and fired a shot from close range.
Both sides pushed further forward in the second half and Luton’s Isaac Vassell caused problems with his pace as he got in down the left side of the box. He squared a perfect pass to Olly Lee, but the former Plymouth Argyle midfielder was denied by a superb instinctive save from Pym.
Pym then continued his man-of-the-match performance as he clawed an Alan Sheehan free-kick out of the top corner before Craig Woodman fired a similar effort just past the post for City.
However, with 20 minutes to go, came the chance of the match as Watkins hit a sweet volley from 20 yards that rattled the crossbar with Walton well beaten.
It could have been a nervy last 20 minutes for City, considering they conceded two late goals last Saturday against Carlisle, but they ended the match the stronger of the two teams with David Wheeler setting up their final chance of the game as he nodded a cross into the path of Watkins who shot straight at Walton.
Exeter City (4-4-2): Pym; Sweeney (Ampadu, 71), Brown, Moore-Taylor, Woodman; Wheeler (Simpson, 87), James, Taylor, McAlinden (Oakley, 63); Watkins, Reid. Subs not used: Olejnik, Harley, Grant, Stacey.
Luton Town (4-2-3-1): Walton; Justin, Mullins, Cuthbert, Sheehan; Rea, Lee (Ruddock-Mpanzu, 60); McGeehan, Cook (Gilliead, 70), Vassell (Marriot, 82); Hylton. Subs not used: King, O’Donnell, Smith, Mackail-Smith.
Booked: Cuthbert, Rea, Ruddock-Mpanzu
Attendance: 3,823 (634, away)