31st October 2009
Exeter City 3 Brentford 0.
Saturday 31 October 2009.
The Ant Moxey Report
On a warm and sunny afternoon at the Park, City run out fully deserved 3-0 winners over a very ordinary looking Brentford side in front of an impressive 5,355 supporters.
After the usual sizing each other up during the opening exchanges it was City who had the first opportunities to open the scoring against last year's League Two Champions. In the fifth minute Craig Noone crossed for Marcus Stewart to attempt a long range header from the edge of the box that flew harmlessly over, then three minutes later with their next attack they took the lead. A corner from the right in front of the massed Brentford fans found its way out to Matt Taylor lurking in the far corner of the box where he had the presence to calmly lay it back for Bertie Cozic 20- yards out. Side-stepping a defender, Cozic flashed a shot goalwards that scuffed its way in via a deflection to give City a 1-0 lead. For the next half an hour any real chances were virtually zero as both defences mopped up anything their opposing forwards could throw at them, but nevertheless, despite the Brentford players spending more time on the floor than a badly worn carpet, it was an enjoyable affair with plenty of honest endeavour from City looking to find a way of increasing their lead. They had a chance with five minutes remaining though, but Taylor's huge jump saw him nod a comer harmlessly wide, before City finally did score a second just as the fourth official raised the board to signal two minutes of stoppage time. Stuart Fleetwood, showing an unbelievable turn of pace, robbed a defender on the touchline in front of the playerstunnel before being upended on the edge of the box. Alex Russell drilled the free kick across goal where a defender cleared, but only as far as Steve Tully lurking centrally 18- yards outIn one single motion Tully gleefully struck the sweetest volley to crash an unstoppable Exocet into the back of the net via the underside of the bar to make it 2-0 to City.
Exeter were pressing for a third in the second half. Fleetwood's 53rd minute challenge won the ball and set up Noone, but his blast across goal was marginally wide. Then following a couple of minutes of intense pressure on the Brentford goal, Noone again blasted wide when in a good position 25-yards out. City survived a bit of a scare in the 65th minute when a ball into the box appeared to strike Taylor on the arm, but in fairness the only real appeal came from the Brentford fans behind the City goal rather than the players and bench. With the ref not even remotely interested the ball was soon back up the Brentford end and played into Noone stationed centrally just outside the box with his back to goal. All of a sudden from nothing he turned and unleashed a wicked drive just inside the post to make the game safe at 3-0 with the keeper rooted to the spot. Two minutes later came the most controversial of an increasingly bizarre set of refereeing decisions when James Dunne and a defender tangled on the touchline, Dunne fell into Stewart, who in turn fell into the defender, and all three ended up in a heap on the floor. Incredibly the ref decided all of this was Stewart's fault and as well as awarding a free kick to Brentford gave Stewart a yellow card for his troubles too. His second of the game as well, the first coming for an equally innocuous nothing challenge in the first half meaning Stewart was off and City had to play the remaining half of the half with ten men. Not that you'd notice as City continued to push forward. In the 73rd minute Fleetwood made way for Barry Corr, presumably Paul Tisdale thinking Corr more suited to holding the line up front on his own. Then with just ten minutes remaining Brentford had their first genuine shot on target when the normally deadly Charlie. McDonald found space in the City box, but could do little better than hit a powder puff effort straight at Andy Marriott. With five minutes left Noone made way for Ryan Harley and that was pretty much that, job done. And job done it most certainly was. City were well worth the three points, and well worth the three goals too. In the previous two away games they had suffered a couple of heavy defeats, so this was pretty much the perfect response securing four points from back to back home games. In goal Marriott had one of the easiest games he's had in years, and this was largely down to the four in front of him. Danny Seaborne and Taylor were simply immense and had the dangerous Brentford pairing of McDonald and the giant Carl Cort in their pockets all afternoon. Scott Golbourne at left back had one of his best games in a City shirt, and the honest and hardworking Tully was rewarded for his patience on the sidelines recently with a lovely goal. In the middle Cozic and Russell added much needed bite giving the two wide players Noone and Dunne - time and space to play. Up front Fleetwood at times was electric, but it was the wise old head of Stewart who stole the show in attack with a fine performance that would surely have seen him in contention for the man of the match award had it not been for his ludicrous sending off. But never mind that, this was a good battling performance from City with everyone contributing to a good team effort and getting their just rewards for their endeavour.
BBC match summary and information
Steve Tully scored his first Exeter goal but Marcus Stewart was sent off in their home victory over Brentford. Exeter went ahead on seven minutes when Bertie Cozic's deflected 20-yard shot nestled into the net after Alex Russell's corner made its way to him. Tully hammered a volley in off the crossbar from Craig Noone's free kick, then Noone made it 3-0 after 69 minutes with a fine shot into the corner. Stewart was sent off thanks to a second bookable offence 19 minutes from time.
City team: Andy Marriott; Scott Golbourne, Danny Seaborne, Matt Taylor, Steve Tully: Craig Noone, Bertie Cozic, Alex Russell, James Dunne, Stuart Fleetwood, Marcus Stewart.
Brentford team: Price, O'Connor, Wilson, Foster, Phillips (Osborne), Wood (Weston), Taylor (Saunders)Bean, Dickson, Cort MacDonald
Attendance 5355 with 575 away fans.
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale told BBC Radio Devon:
"Hard working, professional and competent are words which typify our approach and our performance, which was about doing the basics correctly and working very hard as a team. "We have to be good at home and make sure we play to the conditions and to our position in the league and we did that. "We have to be very sound when it comes to set-piece situations, when the ball goes from one end to the other we have to move as a group."
Brentford manager Andy Scott told BBC London 94.9:
"It's a case of the players actually believing that what we were doing at the start of the season and all last year was the right thing. "At the moment we've got players in the side who aren't sticking to the game plan and then all of a sudden we fall apart. "The way we play, it's vital that all 11 components know how the other ones in the team are going to play. "As soon as someone starts doing their own thing you play into the opposition's hands."