Exeter City 1 Imps 1

Ali Smith's first goal for the club earned the battling Imps a point at Exeter City to extend Tom Shaw's unbeaten run as interim head coach to three games.

City started brightly and Ethan Hamilton forced Vil Sinisalo into the first save of the game after four minutes - although his effort was too close to the Finnish keeper to trouble him.

Exeter’s James Scott flicked over from a corner after eight minutes, but the Imps continued to create the better of the opening chances.

Hakeeb Adelakun, in a rich vein of form, almost put City ahead in the 11th minute as he twisted and turned to create space for himself before seeing his shot from distance palmed away. 

Lasse Sorensen did well to win a challenge and threaten to send Adelakun through on goal, but the stand-in centre forward just could not control the ball.

City took the lead in the 20th minute as Adelakun's throw eventually dropped to Paudie O'Connor in the area who pulled the ball back to Ali Smith to send a first-time effort high into the roof of the net.

Sorensen, continuing in an attacking right-wing role, caught the eye, with only a last-gasp interception stopping him from sending goalscorer Smith though on goal again.

The Dane also had a shot blocked by Alex Hartridge after 36 minutes. And City’s last strong chance of the opening half came from a quick counter started by Lukas Jensen which sent Adelakun away - with his cross into the area cleared behind for a corner.

The home side enjoyed their best spell of the opening half in time added on, with Admiral Muskwe pulling a shot wide after being played through by Demetri Mitchell and Jensen having to be alert to claw away a James Scott header.

City boss Gary Caldwell had seen enough and made a treble change after 57 minutes, sending on Tom Carroll, Yanic Wildschut and Vincent Harper.

With the home side now enjoying much of the ball as they pressed for an equaliser, it needed some strong organisation and commitment from the Imps.

And when Ryan Trevitt’s low free-kick from just outside the area got past the wall after 64 minutes, Jensen got down well with his body behind the ball to hold.

City found their better chances in this period came from counter attacks, with two crosses from Sorensen just evading any of his team-mates.

Alex Mitchell, searching  for his second goal for the Imps, headed just over after 69 minutes after he got on the end of Sean Roughan’s cross.

And Roughan was so close to doubling City’s advantage after 73 minutes. A counter attack led by Jack Vale, who by this point had replaced Adelakun, ended with Smith playing the ball across the area and the left wing-back saw his shot crash off the woodwork.

Smith was the next to try his luck with a speculative shot after 75 minutes, aiming for the top right corner but seeing his effort go just over.

The home side drew level with nine minutes to go, with Trevett heading home from Mitchell’s cross.

Sorensen went close to snatching all the points back for the Imps but his late effort went over - leaving both sides to settle for a point apiece.

Exeter: Vil Sinisalo, Will Aimson (c), Alex Hartridge, Demetri Mitchell, Ryan Trevitt, Admiral Muskwe (Vincent Harper 57'), James Scott, Reece Cole (Kyle Taylor 90+2'), Harry Kite (Yanic Wildschut 57'), Pierce Sweeney, Jack Aitchison (Tom Carroll 57'). Subs (not used): Shaun MacDonald, Jack Fitzwater, Cheick Diabate.

Goals: Trevitt (81').

Imps: Lukas Jensen, Jack Burroughs, Alex Mitchell, Paudie O’Connor (c), Adam Jackson, Sean Roughan, Ethan Hamilton, Ethan Erhahon, Lasse Sorensen, Hakeeb Adelakun (Jack Vale 68'), Ali Smith (Dylan Duffy 90'). Subs (not used): Jordan Wright, Jaden Brown, Ted Bishop, TJ Eyoma, Jovon Makama.

Goals: Smith (20').

Attendance: 5,612 (189 away).

Referee: Jeremy Simpson.