Match 14
8th October 1980
Brentford (h)

THERE is no doubt that Exeter City are a good footballing side.

But the question which still needs to be answered after last night's disappointing goalless draw against Brentford is are they good enough?

Manager Brian Godfrey was probably quite right to claim afterwards that City had done enough over the 90 minutes to deserve both points. There is, however, a world of difference between deserving to win and actually winning. If City continue to perform as they did last night, they might well discover by the end of the season that a fairly huge gulf exists between deserving to get promotion and actually being promoted. Well organised make no mistake Brentford are a well organised side and it is not difficult to understand how they have managed to take nine points from six away games so far. However, the fact remains that Exeter had the chances to finish them off and failed to take them. In the end they could perhaps claim to have been robbed by the width of a post or the crossbar after twice hitting the woodwork, but that will come as cold comfort to players and sup- porters alike if City are still in the Third Division next season. It would be wrong to read too much into last night's result. After all the point they gained extended City's unbeaten home run to 15 games and pushed them back up into fourth place in the table by virtue of the fact that they have scored more goals than Rotherham. But they cannot really afford to surrender any ground at all in what already looks like being one of the closest promotion races for years.

The most disappointed man in St. James's Park last night was probably midfield player Frank Prince who, according to Godfrey, sat in the dressing room after- wards unable to believe that his 88th minute shot from Steve Neville's excellent cross had hit the post instead of finishing up in the back of the net. In the cold light of today, however, Prince probably has more reason than most to be satisfied with his performance last night. It was easily his best dis- play since joining City from Bristol Rovers and he might well have crowned it with a hat-trick. Only the boot of Brentford's goalkeeper David McKellar robbed Prince of a goal in the first half and only the determination of defender Pat Kruse to win a goal- line tussle prevented him from putting City ahead before that that costly 88th minute miss. Jimmy Giles also came within inches of getting his name on the scoresheet for the second successive match with a tremendous first half header which hit the top of the crossbar. City in fact created enough chances to win the match handsomely. The Best of them undoubtedly fell to Neville who, only a minute before Prince's shot hit the post, had been put through on his own by a great ball from Tony Kellow. Neville panicked and ended up shooting straight at the goalkeeper. Brentford also had their moments, however, and City's goalkeeper Ian Main distinguished himself with some fine saves, particularly from David Crown and Bob Booker. It was by no means a classic match the torrential rain saw to that but there was still plenty for the sup- porters to enjoy. City's defence looked rock solid as it has done for most of the season, and the mid- field again waded through a tremendous amount of work with Prince and Ian Pearson particularly outstanding. Up front it was not so much a case of City lacking punch, but of Brentford's Kruse and the brilliant Danis Salman having an answer to practically everything that was thrown at them.



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