A goalless draw at St James Park proved an engrossing fixture as Exeter City were held 0-0 by Colchester United at St James Park on Saturday.
City boss Matt Taylor made two changes to the side that won in Grimsby last weekend, with Nicky Ajose and Jayden Richardson coming in for Lee Martin and Brennan Dickenson. Alex Fisher returned from injury to take his place on the Grecians’ bench.
The Grecians started very brightly and had a superb chance to open the scoring after just two minutes as Ryan Bowman countered single-handedly with a wonderful solo effort, but delayed his shot long enough for the onrushing Colchester defenders to recover and pressure the striker just enough to prevent him from finding the back of the net – Bowman’s shot rolling agonisingly wide.
Jonny Maxted was called into action for the first time with 13 minutes on the clock, getting down low to save from Harry Pell’s effort from 25 yards. It was the Grecians who applied the majority of the pressure in an engaging opening 45, with Archie Collins the next to go close as a surging run was cut down at the last by a superb sliding tackle from Kwame Poku. Jake Taylor would also see an effort saved before half-time, as his curling effort was held by Dean Gerken in the Colchester goal, before Pierce Sweeney produced a superb defensive moment as he blocked a goalbound shot from Callum Harriott off the line with his chest.
Into the second-half, and Nicky Law did well to play in Jayden Richardson down the left-wing with a delightful through ball, but unfortunately for City the wingback’s effort was neither a cross nor a shot – the ball eluded both the Colchester goal and Nicky Ajose on its way out of play, as the striker stood ready to pounce on a pass that wasn’t forthcoming.
City threatened through a combination of Randell Williams, Law and Bowman, but a staunch Colchester unit kept the Grecians at bay. There was a welcome return to first-team action for Alex Fisher, who replaced Nicky Ajose after 69 minutes, and the substitute nearly had a chance to score but for Nicky Law’s pass being cut out.
Perhaps the best chance of winning the game came in the last minute for City, as a brilliant run from Jayden Richardson culminated in a loose ball that Law slid onto, but his shot was deflected out for a corner. From the set-piece, the ball fell for Archie Collins and his effort on the volley stung the palms of Dean Gerken but didn’t beat him – the Colchester goalkeeper palming the ball away as the last action of the game. Perhaps somewhat fittingly for a game featuring two sides who haven’t been beaten since the start of November, the game ended goalless.
Exeter City: Maxted, Sweeney, A Martin, Law, Williams, Bowman, Ajose (Fisher 69), Parkes, Richardson, Taylor ©, Collins.
Subs not used: Ward, L Martin, Jay, Fisher, Moxey, Randall, Seymour.
Colchester United: Gerken, Jackson, Prosser ©, Pell, Robinson (Norris 88), Comley, Harriott (Senior 70), Eastman, Clampin, Gambin (Stevenson 80), Poku.
Subs not used: Ross, Lapslie, Sowunmi, Moore.
Booked: Comley, Pell