THE wait for a league victory this season goes on for Oxford United and Exeter City after the winless pair shared the points at St James Park.

City roared out of the blocks at the start of a remarkably open first half, with Graham Cummins opening the scoring from the penalty spot in the fourth minute.

United were not behind for long, drawing level when Callum O'Dowda tucked away Joe Riley's cross for his first senior goal.

Both sides had spells from which they had chances to take the lead, but neither could find the moment of inspiration needed to take all three points.

O'Dowda was one of four changes made to the XI which began the 1-1 draw at Southend a week earlier.

David Hunt and Michael Collins also came into the side, while Tyrone Barnett made his debut. Danny Rose, Junior Brown and Alex Jakubiak dropped to the bench with Will Hoskins out injured.

United were shaken inside three minutes, when Cummins chipped a ball through for Alex Nicholls.

There was at least a hint of offside, but when the flag did not go up the City striker was brought down in the area by George Long.

The keeper escaped a card, but dived the wrong way as Cummins put the hosts in front from the penalty spot.

It was part of a sloppy start to the game for United, who gave the ball away cheaply several times and looked vulnerable defensively.

But on the quarter-hour mark, they drew level with a flash of quality.

Collins pounced on a loose ball and played in Joe Riley, who burst forward and swung in a brilliant cross, which was perfect for O'Dowda to slam in at the back post.

The pattern of the game continued for the rest of the half, with both sides looking dangerous going forward but insecure at the back.

City had the ball in the net through David Wheeler midway through the half, but this time the flag did appear to cut City's celebrations short.

Nevertheless, United seemed unable to plug the gaps when the home side came forward.

On 23 minutes, Matt Grimes was given time and space to measure a shot from range which Long could only parry.

Jake Wright conceded a corner, from which Scot Bennett and Liam Sercombe had efforts blocked.

At the other end Barnett had an opportunity to open his account after a precise ball forward from Tom Newey.

The striker took the ball down well, only for Jordan Moore-Taylor did just enough to snuff out the chance and allow Christy Pym to gather.

The goalkeeper had a relatively quiet half, but made one excellent save seven minutes before the break.

An O'Dowda corner was flicked on by Newey to the back post, where Johnny Mullins made good connection with a volley from eight yards, only to see Pym save.

But United were repeatedly caught on the break from their own set pieces, as City often got three attackers on three defenders.

After Pym's save they broke to win a corner, from which an unmarked Nicholls headed wide with the last good opening of the half.

City gained the upper hand when play restarted.

Mullins conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area, which Sercombe took and curled into Long's arms.

United came under increasing pressure in the opening 15 minutes of the half.

Long saved from Cummins, while Grimes fired wide when well placed on the edge of the box.

The visitors needed a change and head coach Michael Appleton responded by bringing on Jakubiak.

The pacy forward helped wrestle the initiative away from City, who were forced backwards.

They had a decent spell, but the only real opportunity came when Barnett diverted a Hylton header on target, which Pym dived to catch.

United also won several set pieces, taking their corner count into double figures, but aside from Mullins' first half chance they came to nothing.

City again broke well and Long made a decent stop at his near post to keep out Sercombe.

Both sides had spells in the closing 20 minutes, although neither goalkeeper was especially tested.

United had the final moment of danger when they won a free-kick out wide deep into stoppage time, but Riley failed to clear the first man to confirm the stalemate.

Appleton's men now take their search for a win on to a home game against Accrington Stanley on Tuesday.

Exeter: Pym, Bennett, Oakley, Moore-Taylor, Ribeiro (Noble 71), Sercombe, Grimes (Davies 80), Woodman, Wheeler, Nicholls, Cummins.

Unused subs: Hamon, Butterfield, Keohane, Nichols, Tillson.

Oxford Utd: G Long, Hunt (Jakubiak 59), Mullins, Wright, Newey, Collins, Ruffels, Riley, Hylton, O'Dowda (Brown 88), Barnett (Rose 76).

Unused subs: Crocombe, Raynes, Morris, Potter.

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight).

Attendance: 3,076 (434 visitors).