Hatters held in bore draw at Exeter

League Two: Exeter City 0 Luton Town 0

Cameron McGeehan shoots for goal at Exeter
Cameron McGeehan shoots for goal at Exeter

Luton Town were held to an instantly forgettable goalless draw at struggling Exeter City this afternoon.

Sometimes you can leave a ground wondering just how neither side have broken the deadlock, unfortunately that wasn't the case this time on what was a desperately poor 90 minutes of football.

Hatters boss Nathan Jones made two changes as Scott Cuthbert came in alongside Johnny Mullins in the centre of defence, with Glen Rea moving back into his role as a holding midfielder.

The diamond remained though, Olly Lee surprisingly at the tip this time, with Jordan Cook recalled to the left hand side, Alex Gilliead and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu dropping to the bench.

Against a side whom Luton had seen off 3-1 in the FA Cup just three weeks ago, and who had yet to win at St James Park for 10 games, expectations were high that the visitors could get back to winning ways after their nine game unbeaten run was ended on Tuesday night.

However, there was little evidence of that on show in the opening 15 minutes, in which Danny Hylton, who won a dubious penalty earlier this month, was already well cast in his role as pantomime villain, every single touch jeered and the slightest mistake cheered.

Neither keeper was threatened seriously in that time, Christian Walton easily claiming David Wheeler's glancing header, while Cameron McGeehan's 30 yard free kick was well, well wide.

The midfielder, who was making his 100th appearance for the club, had another go from 25 yards, his left-footer deflecting behind, with the game soon degenerating into a tedious affair, until on 43 minutes, Pierce Sweeney volleyed narrowly wide of Walton's posts.

The second period eventually brought about the odd talking point, Hylton's efforts to win a penalty waved away by referee Chris Kavanagh, while Reuben Reid finally escaped the attentions of Cuthbert, only for Justin to produce a superb last-ditch block as the striker looked destined to open the scoring.

Hylton had a decent opportunity from Sheehan's whipped free kick on 55 minutes, flicking over and Luton should really have been ahead moments later, Vassell storming past his marker on the byline.

He looked up and crossed for Lee, but from a matter of yards, he couldn't beat Pym, the City keeper repelling his effort.

The Grecians stopper was flying the the hour just after the hour mark, turning Alan Sheehan's free kick behind for a corner, which was enough to win the man of the match award from home sponsors.

Exeter then put on what could be described as a modicum of pressure as Walton had to be alert to turn Craig Woodman's dangerous set-piece behind.

It was City who then came closer than either side to breaking the deadlock, with Ollie Watkins' wonderful half volley from 25 yards clipping the top of the bar with Walton completely beaten.

Jones rang the changes, bringing Mpanzu, Gilliead and Jack Marriott on as the half progressed, but little changed for the visitors in terms of an attacking threat, Hylton well marshalled, although the striker did well to keep his frustrations locked away this time, his second game without a booking.

Watkins had another opening, this time much closer and much easier for Walton to save, as despite five minutes of injury time being added, Luton never seriously looked like snatching a last-gasp winner.

Although the result saw Luton edge a point clearer to top spot, frustratingly they failed to pull back significant ground on the likes of Plymouth and Portsmouth who suffered surprising defeats to Morecambe and Stevenage respectively, the Hatters staying fifth, with Carlisle now at the summit after leapfrogging Argyle.

City: Christy Pym, Craig Woodman, Lloyd James, David Wheeler (Robbie Simpson 87), Ollie Watkins, Jordan Moore-Taylor (C), Liam McAlinden (Matt Oakley 63), Jake Taylor, Pierce Sweeney (Ethan Ampadu 72), Reuben Reid, Troy Brown.

Subs not used: Bobby Olejnik, Ryan Harley, Joel Grant, Jack Stacey.

Hatters: Christian Walton, James Justin, Alan Sheehan, Johnny Mullins, Scott Cuthbert, Glen Rea, Olly Lee (Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu 60) Jordan Cook (Alex Gilliead 72), Cameron McGeehan, Danny Hylton, Isaac Vassell (Jack Marriott 81).

Subs not used: Craig King, Stephen O'Donnell, Jonathan Smith, Craig Mackail-Smith.

Attendance: 3,823 (634 Luton).

Booked: Cuthbert 57, Rea 65, Ruddock Mpanzu 67.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh.

Star man: Scott Cuthbert.