Exeter City were unable to make their offensive pressure pay dividends as the Grecians were forced to settle for a goalless draw against Morecambe at St James Park.
The Grecians dominated much of the ball and the chances, but credit to the Morecambe defence, who shut down the City attacks to prevent them making it two wins from two.
City boss Matt Taylor made one change to the starting 11, with Lee Holmes returning from injury in place of Chiedozie Ogbene.
It was an evenly-matched opening period, with the home side producing some attacking football that was very easy on the eye. The Grecians came closest to opening the scoring in the first quarter of an hour as Nicky Law and Lee Martin combined just inside the penalty area, but Martin’s through ball was cut out at the last moment.
It was Law again who had a massive chance to open the scoring eight minutes later; good work from Lee Martin down the Morecambe left presented Pierce Sweeney with a chance to cross, and his delivery was met by Law – but the header landed agonisingly wide of the visitors’ goal. The home side would then go close just after the half-hour mark as Craig Woodman’s cross was met by a mishit clearance that nearly rolled past a helpless Mark Halstead in the Morecambe goal.
City were dominating the game in terms of chances created and came close again five minutes later – a tidy spell of possession eventually found Sweeney in enough space to fire in a rasping shot that took a small deflection and hit the Morecambe crossbar. From the resulting corner, Exeter fashioned another chance for the Irishman, but his header flew over.
The visitors’ Rhys Oates took a shot from the edge of the box that was one of few half-chances that Morecambe were able to fashion in the opening 45, but it was an effort that Christy Pym was able to save comfortably. An audacious long-range switch of play from Archie Collins then found Martin at the other end, but his shot was blocked and was the last action of note before half-time.
The second half began in a similar vein to the first; there was very little to differentiate the two sides. It took until the 63rd minute for there to be anything resembling a decent chance, and it fell to the visitors – Oates’ effort on the half-volley from close range flew over Pym’s crossbar.
Ryan Bowman made his City debut, replacing Holmes in the 69th minute, after the completion of his transfer from Motherwell. But it would be the visitors who had the stronger final third of the game; Andrew Tutte’s free-kick forced Pym into a diving save minutes after Jordan Cranston’s effort from range forced the City goalkeeper into a smart stop.
City came close through Dean Moxey in the last 10 minutes – good work from Nicky Law and Craig Woodman to recycle possession resulted in a cross that Moxey headed narrowly wide. It would prove to be the best chance City had of winning the game; as it was they were forced to settle for a point at St James Park.
Attendance: 4,113 (62 away)
EXETER CITY: Pym; Sweeney, O’Shea, Moxey, Woodman; L Martin, Law, Collins, Taylor ©, Holmes (Bowman, 69); Forte (Jay, 77).
Subs not used: Hamon, A Martin, Tillson, Abrahams, Hartridge.
Booked: Moxey, Law
MORECAMBE: Halstead; Old, Lavelle, Sutton; Conlan, Cranston, Kenyon ©, Tutte (McKay, 86), Mills; Ellison, Oates (Mandeville, 69).
Subs not used: Szczepaniak, Campbell, Mendes-Gomes, Hedley, Hawley.