The Grecians made it four points and two clean sheets from two League One games as they drew 0-0 at home to Blackpool.
On an otherwise quiet afternoon for 'keeper Vil Sinisalo, the Finn made two big saves in the second to deny the Tangerines, though it was City who had the best chances to win the game.
Gary Caldwell made three changes to the squad who secured City a place in the second round of the Carabao with a win over Crawley, with Jack Aitchison, Demetri Mitchell and Tom Carroll all getting their place in the starting XI.
It was a strong start to the game for City as they saw almost 100% in the opening four minutes, sussing out their passig channels against the recently relegated Blackpool. This led to the first chance of the game as Demetri Mitchell put on the burners down the left-hand side, laying the ball on a plate to Jack Aitchison, but his effort on goal was blocked and behind for a corner.
The resulting corner was taken short, but Dion Rankine’s tricky footwork was eventually cut out by a Blackpool defender and deflected back off Rankine for a goal kick.
There was controversy in SJP moments later as Tom Carroll and Ollie Norburn came to blows in front of the dugouts, with Norburn appearing to drag Carroll to the ground. After what looked like a reaction from the Blackpool player, it was Carroll who received a yellow card, leaving manager Caldwell perplexed.
With the game having hit the 25th minute mark, City found the back of the net courtesy of Aitchison. However, the linesman adjudged him to have been offside from Nombe’s flick on and the City applause was replaced by groans and boos for the disallowed goal.
City were causing the majority of the problems in the first half with Mitchell and Rankine causing issues for their opposing full backs, all that was missing was a City goal with everything else going way of the team in red and white.
It was a fast start to the second half for both sides with Nombe having a big chance in front of the Big Bank, howeveri t was the away side who had the two biggest chances of the game in quick succession. A combination of an Aimson block followed up by a reaction save from close range from Sinisalo prevented the Tangerines from taking the lead.
City came close once again, after Mitchell was tripped on the left-hand side resulting in a yellow for a CJ Hamilton, Cole stepped up to whip in a free kick. The ball was headed away but only as far as Trevitt, however with the Brentford loanee leaning back his effort sailed over the bar.
After only just coming back from his knock picked up at Wycombe, Mitchell made way on the 65th minute and was replaced in a like for like swap by Vincent Harper.
There wasn’t long until Caldwell made his second change with James Scott called upon to replace Cole.
The same as the first half it was Rankine causing all the problems in the second half with his step overs sending Blackpool defenders sliding all over the place. He then sent a ball into Scott who went for an audacious scorpion kick, but his effort was deflected behind for a corner.
City almost found the opener in the 78th minute as a Blackpool corner was cleared. That allowed James Scott to mount a counter attack, with Rankine quickjly in support. He went for the Nombe option, eyeing the striker inside the area leathering the ball across the penalty area. Nombe turned on a sixpence with the goal in his sights, but astute defending blocked his path.
With the game nearing its end, Gary made a double change with another run out for Kyle Taylor as he is eased back into the game following his injury layout and academy graduate Sonny Cox, replacing Aitchison and Nombe.
With the game in the first minute of an added five, Sinisalo secured the point with a point-blank close range save from Owen Dale.
City’s next game is a midweek trip to Fratton Park as the Grecians take on Pompey live on Sky Sports on Tuesday 15th August.
City: Sinisalo, Rankine, Sweeney, Aimson ©, Hartridge, Mitchell (Harper), Carroll, Trevitt, Cole (Scott), Aitchison (Taylor), Nombe (Cox)
Subs not used: Woods, Jules, Diabate
Blackpool: Grimshaw, Husband, Norburn ©, Morgan, Carey, Beesley, Lavery, Casey, Ekpiteta, Hamilton, Lyons
Subs not used: O’Donnell, Thompson, Apter, Tharme
Referee: Sam Purkiss
Attendance: 7340 (726 Away)