City held in lackluster stalemate
The County Ground
Bitterly cold conditions accompanied a truly forgettable game of football at The County Ground this afternoon as Swindon and Exeter played out a dour 0-0 draw.
Both sides hit the woodwork in a scrappy first half but despite the open nature of the game neither team looked capable of claiming maximum points.
City welcomed back Ryan Harley to the starting line-up and John O`Flynn was also recalled as Paul Tisdale shuffled his pack following last weeks victory over Walsall.
Meanwhile struggling Swindon were having to search for an improvement in their form without the departed Charlie Austin.
Despite their troubles Swindon did calve out several early chances. In the ninth minute Alan O`Brien burst past Steve Tully and his clipped centre was perfect for the onrushing Matt Richie who thundered his header against the cross bar.
City`s Ben Hamer was by far the busier of the two keepers early on as he was soon forced into a several saves. First from Jonathan Douglas` deflected effort which he did well to get his body behind and then throwing himself low to his right to deny Richie from range.
City finally offered something in attack after twenty minutes, Jamie Cureton heading wide from O`Flynn`s cross. It proved to be Cureton`s last contribution as he was forced to limp off against his former club to be replaced by Jake Thomson.
Kevin Amankwaah thought he`d given Swindon the lead as he turned the ball home at the far post but the off-side flag was raised just as the PA system began to blast out unnecessary goal music.
Ryan Harley almost gave City a barely deserved opener when his twenty yard free -kick rebounded back off the bar but goalless was how it stayed as the teams headed for the dressing rooms.
What little quality was on offer in the first half disappeared altogether after the break as neither side managed to so much as force a save from either keeper.
Man of the match O`Brien continued to get the better of Tully down City`s right hand side but his final ball was often found wanting and on the occasion when he did pick out a team-mate Thomas Dossevi inexplicably missed the target when well placed.
As an attacking force City`s afternoon was littered with wayward passes and lack of power in the final third, O`Flynn and Daniel Nardiello cut frustrated figures as neither seemed to be able to assert themselves on proceedings.
The introduction of Logan for O`Flynn did little to change this as the game seemed set in its ways.
David Noble almost wriggled through half a dozen tackles to score but his rare venture into the penalty area was halted by a late covering block.
It would have been harsh on Swindon who despite their own shortcomings certainly didn`t deserve to lose, 0-0 a fair reflection of a game between two teams not at their fluent best.
A point away from home is by no means disastrous for the Grecians but tougher challenges lie ahead in the form of Southampton on Tuesday night and Huddersfield next Saturday.
City: Hamer, Tully, Taylor, Duffy (Archibald-Henville), Golbourne, Sercombe, Noble, Harley, O`Flynn (Logan), Cureton (Thomson), Nardiello
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