Sky Bet League One leaders Portsmouth had to settle for a point as their disappointing festive form continued with a goalless draw at struggling Exeter.

Pompey created the first chance of the match when former Exeter man Jack Sparkes was played in on the left, but his shot was saved by Vili Sinisalo.

Dion Rankine was also off target with a header from a well-worked corner routine for the home side before Reece Cole won the ball and teed up Sonny Cox, but he poked his shot straight at Will Norris from 10 yards.

Rankine had a shot blocked by a Pompey defender before Jack Aitchison – on three occasions – also had efforts blocked and then Cheick Diabate brought the half to a close by heading over from an Exeter corner.

The second half started with Pompey’s Paddy Lane being denied by a superb block by Diabate and, as Exeter countered, Cox crossed low for Ilmari Niskanen, who slid in and fired against the base of the post.

Lane had another great chance, but Sinisalo made a superb save low to his left, while Niskanen brought a fine save out of Norris at the other end as both teams cancelled each other out.