Sam Nombe and Matt Jay found the net as Exeter City recorded their seventh draw of the season in Hertfordshire.
Nombe opened the scoring after ten minutes with a calm finish into the corner and despite the early Exeter momentum, Elliot List scored the first equaliser on the counter.
After the break Jay headed City back in the lead, finding the near post from an acute angle. List again proved troublesome for Exeter as he smashed home to share the points.
Matt Taylor made a single change to the side that started against Walsall last week. Archie Collins earned his first league start of the season after a strong performance against Cheltenham in midweek. Former City captain Jake Taylor started for Boro, as well as ex-striker Jamie Reid.
City almost took a fifth minute lead through Sam Nombe. Captain MJ’s inch perfect slide tackle set away the number 10. Nombe shifted the ball onto his left foot from the edge of the box and flashed narrowly wide.
Sam wouldn’t miss the second attempt in the tenth minute, though, and City were one-nil up.
George Ray picked up the ball in midfield. The centre-half sent a seventy-yard ball forward behind the Boro defence. Sam Nombe shrugged off a weak challenge from the Stevenage defender and rolled the ball beyond Joseph Anang to put City ahead.
The Grecians continued the momentum and Jevani Brown twice found space for a cross. His first effort skimmed Nombe’s toe on the way into Anang’s hands, and the second floated just over his strike partner’s head.
Exeter almost doubled the lead from a corner. Brown looped high to the back-post where Alex Hartridge kept the ball alive. His nod fell to MJ, who was denied first by Anang, and then by the offside flag.
Despite the City dominance, Stevenage were level on 23 minutes. Suspicions of handball from Jake Taylor as he brought the ball through midfield. He threaded the ball through for Elliot List who made no mistake.
Exeter came within a whisker of restoring the lead. A short corner between Brown and Jay allowed the former to deliver. Hartridge again was on the end of it. His downward header was held by the Boro keeper right on the line.
Stevenage asserted themselves and without a desperate but brilliant block from Alex Hartridge could’ve take the lead.
Ever present in the first half, Nombe had a crack from range, but was comfortable for the towering Stevenage keeper to claim.
With five minutes left of the break, Stevenage broke down the left. Ben Coker’s first-time ball was well intercepted by Archie Collins, but the loose ball dropped to Jamie Reid who fired over.
With Matt Taylor’s words still ringing in their ears City brilliantly restored their lead four minutes into the second half.
Jevani Brown turned around 25-yards out and sprayed the ball wide right. Key raced onto the ball. His high ball into the Stevenage box was met by the skipper Matt Jay who, from the tightest of angles, squeezed the ball into the near post.
Tim Dieng almost added a third for City straight after. Nombe again out-muscled his marker and played it inside to the Frenchman. A delicious feint sold two Boro blockers, and the midfielder’s left-footed strike hit the bottom of the post.
Matt Jay nearly doubled his tally from a smartly worked free-kick, but City’s failure to capitalise cost them up the other end.
Elliot List again sneaked around the back and found the far corner to level the game again on the hour.
Archie Collins came close the heading City ahead for a third time. He connected with Brown’s cross but Anang was equal to it.
Cam Dawson was alert to a 70th minute chance for the home side. Andrade’s deflected effort looked dangerous, but the City keeper got down well to retrieve.
Owura Edwards’ introduction added more pace down the left. The winger’s eagerness to get on the ball opened up space for Jake Caprice down the side. Cap’s fizzed ball was difficult for MJ to keep down.
Edwards again caused problems for the Boro defence. The Bristol City loanee cut onto his right foot and stung the hands of the Stevenage keeper. Sam Nombe couldn’t find the target on the rebound.
City pressed for a late winner. On 87 minutes, Key crossed for Nombe to awkwardly volley toward goal, but the chance was unthreatening.
Josh Coley was inches from scoring a winner as the clock struck 90. Caprice’s ball was teasing and had the substitute got a touch City surely would have scored the winner.
Thats how it stayed until the final whistle. City are back on home turf next Saturday against Newport County.
Stevenage FC: Anang, James-Wildin, Coker, Reeves, Cuthbert, List, Taylor, Osborne (Melbourne 83’), Andrade, Vancooten, Reid (Norris 71’)
Subs: Bastien, Prosser, Smith, Marshall, Townsend-West.
Exeter City: Dawson, Caprice, Ray (Edwards 66’), Sweeney, Hartridge, Key, Dieng (Atangana 78’), Collins, Jay, Brown (Coley 88’), Nombe
Subs: Lee, Amond, K.Taylor, Daniel
Referee: Chris Pollard