Derby County played out a 0-0 draw with Exeter City at Pride Park Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The hosts dominated possession and had by far the greater number of chances but were unable to unlock a resolute Exeter defence on what turned out to be a frustrating evening in Derbyshire.
The Rams started well and had a couple of decent opportunities to take the lead within the opening two minutes.
First, Louie Sibley got in behind and fired just wide of Jamal Blackman’s left-hand post before Haydon Roberts got on the end of a teasing ball from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing but headed over under pressure.
Jay Stansfield nearly gave the visitors the lead with Exeter’s first real flurry into Derby’s half. He latched onto a long ball before cutting inside and driving a low effort which was saved well at the second attempt by Joe Wildsmith.
An early injury forced Head Coach Paul Warne into a change and a change of shape when David McGoldrick was introduced for James Chester.
Didzy was immediately involved and his clever play on halfway teased Archie Collins into a challenge that resulted in a booking for the Exeter man.
Warne switched things up again at the break introducing Everton loanee Lewis Dobbin for Louie Sibley and the youngster almost found himself on the scoresheet with his first attack. He battled tremendously well down the left before charging into the box and firing a cross-shot just wide of the goal.
Seconds later and Pride Park was up in arms when William Osula was brought down by Blackman outside of the area. The striker beat the offside trap and was able to beat the onrushing keeper to the ball. He took the ball around the former Chelsea shot-stopper and looked to have been taken down but the referee waved play-on to the anger of those in black and white.
Dobbin continued to threaten down the left following his introduction and after again beating his man – this time with a cheeky nutmeg – he laid off Max Bird whose effort was deflected over for a corner.
It looked like it was going to need a moment of magic to win the game and Conor Hourihane nearly provided it with a vintage strike. A direct free-kick was laid off to him by McGoldrick and Hourihane bent an effort that was destined for the top corner but for a fingertip save from Blackman.
The visiting stopper, who had had a very solid game, was forced off in the final five minutes following a collision and the Grecians brought on 17-year-old Harry Lee in his place.
Seven minutes of stoppage time were indicated following the lengthy delay and the Rams continued to press as the visitors sat back but the goal never came and Paul Warne's men had to settle for a point on home soil.
It's a quick turnaround for the Rams who return to Sky Bet League One action at Pride Park Stadium this Saturday (3pm kick-off).
Joey Barton's Bristol Rovers are the visitors.
Derby County: Wildsmith (GK), Forsyth, Hourihane, Chester (36’ McGoldrick), Cashin, Bird (C), Mendez-Laing, Smith, Roberts, Sibley (45’ Dobbin), Osula
Substitutes not used: Loach (GK), Thompson, Stearman, Oduroh, Rooney
Exeter City: Blackman (GK) (90' Lee), Caprice, Sparkes, Hartridge, Collins, Stansfield, Nombe (80’ Kite), Key, Dieng, Brown (69’ Jay), Sweeney (C)
Substitutes not used: Harper, Chauke, Cox, James
Attendance: 24,640 (1,197 Exeter City supporters)