Match 20
24th November 1990
Brentford (home)



City's depressing run of league games without a win continued at St James Park, with Brentford aking a point from a hard fought encounter played on a heavy pitch. There were bright points for City, notably the impressive performance of midweek signing Peter Cawley, but with the attendance dropping below the 4,000 mark it is clear that Exeter are desperately in need of a Third Division win.

Brentford looked the more confident of the two sides in the opening exchanges, but it was Exeter who had the best chance. After ten minutes Steve Neville brilliantly tricked his way past two Brendlord defenders, and his cross was parried by goalkeeper Graham Benstead, but the stretching Trevor Morgan could only send the ball against the post.

Scott Hilley was as always a real attacking threat on the City right, and on two occasion he sent in dangerous crosses which first Tom Kelly and then Gary Marshall headed narrowly wide.

Brentford, on the other hand, only had one real chance, a Dean Holdsworth shot which Kevin Miller did well to push away. After half an hour though City took the lead. Referee Alan Seville awarded a penalty for a trip on Steve Neville, and after two disappointments from the spot in recent weeks, City's supporters could hardly believe it when Tom Kelly's kick was smothered by the diving Benstead. However, Mr Seville ordered the kick to be retaken-apparently after the linesman had spotted encroachment- and a relieved Kelly drilled his second effort firmly home.

Brentford responded well to this setback, and might have equalised instantly after a wayward Mark Cooper back pass allowed Eddie May to cross only for Holdsworth to head against the post and Jones to fire the rebound off target. A quickly taken freekick was the key to the Bees' equaliser nine minutes later, with the ball s swung in from the left catching the City defence fat footed, as Gary Blissett arrived to dispatch his header beyond Miller and into the City net

Exeter enjoyed their strongest period of the game for the first quarter of an hour of the second hall, with their attacking football creating several dangerous positions and winning a string of comers. Trevor Morgan had a header saved and a well struck shot turned away for a corner, whilst Shaun Taylor's shot was cleared off the line and Steve Neville always looked capable of tearing the visitors defence apart.

As the second half wore on, City began to push forward in numbers and Brentford had several chances to snatch a goal on the break. Twice within a couple of minutes Kevin Miller made memorable saves, first diving full length to his left to get a vital hand to May's shot and then demonstrating his reflexes to get behind a fierce drive from Cockram. The same player really should have done better after 70 minutes, but after Holdsworth had picked him out with a perfect cross, an unmarked Cockram sent his shot wide.

Richard Dryden hobbled off with fifteen minutes remaining, and Richard Young was sent on to bolster City's attack with Tom Kelly dropping back and Paul Batty switching to the left side. However, the last ten minutes were probably the least eventful of the game, with both teams seeming to tire on a pitch which had cut up badly but still provided an excellent surface considering the difficult conditions and its recent frequent use.



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