ECFC v Brentford 03.10.79
CONSISTENCY. Consistency. Consistency. That is the message which Exeter City's manager Brian Godfrey has been vainly trying to drum into his side all season.
It is the stuff of which champions are made, but it is also a quality which City are still sadly lacking as they so ineptly demonstrated in last night's dreary goalless draw against Brentford. It was a match which carried all the excitement of a wet weekend in Bognor Regis and I mean no disrespect to the Sussex seaside resort. Brentford's manager Bill Dodgin summed it up afterwards in two words which are not printable and a short sentence: "The match was not worth watching," he said.
After their fine away performances at Birmingham and Gillingham, Exeter dropped back into bottom gear and ground through 90 minutes of almost stunning mediocrity. Godfrey might well have put his finger on the problems afterwards when he suggested that Exeter were now beginning to feel a little tense about playing in front of their own fans. If that is the case, then the players might not need to worry for much longer, for if they continue to perform as they did last night, there will not be any spectators left to make them nervous. To be fair the torrential rain made conditions difficult and to their credit Exeter defended well on the slippery surface. But they rarely even looked like doing anything creative with the ball when they had possesion. In fact, Brentford fullback Danis Salman was probably the one player to provide a brief glimmer of light on a distinctly gloomy night. He inspired just about the only action of the first half, sending over a cross from which Steve Phillips forced a fine save out of Vince O'Keefe, and then firing in a shot himself which O'Keefe again did well to save. Things improved slightly after the interval and former Torquay United defender Pat Kruse twice came close to breaking the deadlock. As Kruse challenged O'Keefe for Tucker's free kick, the City goalkeeper allowed the ball to slip through his hands, but fortunately for Exeter Jimmy Giles was there to hook the loose ball to safety. Then substitute Paul Shrubb set up a chance for Kruse with a fine ball into the box, but this time the Brentford defender shot wide of the target from 12 yards. Exeter had their best period midway through the second half and Brentford. goalkeeper Len Bond twice had to make brave saves at the feet of John Delve and. John Sims. But these were only fleeting moments of excitement on a night when Exeter's only consolation was that they managed to come out of the match with a point.