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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
10:05 17th August 2011

Exeter City 1 Brentford 2

So on a balmy night at the Park, 4344 supporters see City lose a second consecutive home game, this time a 2-1 reverse at the hands of Brentford. City lined up: Krysiak; Golbourne, Archibald-Henville, Duffy, Tully; Sercombe, Shephard, Noble, Dunne; Logan, Bignall.

City's only change from Saturday was Logan in for McNish with the team playing a more conventional 4-4-2 formation with both strikers in an advanced postion, and it showed with City on the attack almost immediately from the kick-off. Less than 30 seconds were on the clock when Bignall knocked down Dunne's defence splitter for Shephard to send a long range sighter over the bar.

In the second minute nifty work down the left from Golbourne, Noble and Sercombe saw Sercombe drill the ball across goal where Shep's sharp header was blocked away on the six yard line. Ten minutes later, under the severest pressure, Shephard threaded a neat through ball to Bignall who somewhat wastefully blasted over the near post from the corner of the box.

But, as with Saturday, against the run of play and in somewhat fortuitous circumstances, Brentford took the lead in the 16th minute. A needless foul from Logan gave the Bees a free kick on the edge of the 'D' - Jonathan Douglas gave it an almighty thump, somewhere towards the corner flag it looked, but on the way it took a massive deflection off Dunne to ping in to the corner of the net giving Krysiak no chance and making it 1-0 to the visitors.

Midway through the half City had a free kick themselves in an almost identical position to the one Brentford scored from - Noble swerved it in, but with no-one applying the merest of touches that would surely have seen it flying into the back of the net, instead it flew straight into the keeper's arms. With City pressing Troy had a great chance from a deep Sercombe cross from the right after staying up from a corner, but his good looking flick header across goal just beat the far post with the keeper no more than an interested spectator.

On the half hour a quick break saw Logan feed Shephard who in turn played it right to Dunne who let fly with a fierce low drive that was bravely blocked by a sprawling defender. But then Brentford mounted a second attack of the half and promptly went 2-0 up. A break down the left was allowed to go all the way to the byline where the ball was whipped in past a static defence to the unmarked Clayton Donaldson who had the simplest task of glancing a six yard header into the far corner with Krysiak stranded.

With five minutes of the half remaining Sercombe and Golbourne combined down the left to set up Bignall with a chance to pull one back, but he looped a tame header straight to the keeper from Golbourne's hoisted cross to the far post.

The second half began with the substitution of Logan for home league debutant Guillem Bauza, and within a minute of the restart Noble's cheeky backheel in the box to Golbourne was smartly laid off for Bauza to see his goal bound shot deflected away for a corner. Eight minutes in and more injury misery for City - with Logan and Bauza back after missing Saturday, Bignall was withdrawn with a painful looking knee injury to be replaced by the lively Tom Nichols.

As with Bauza, his impact on the game was almost instant as he chased a dinked ball through beating the keeper to it by inches but just prodding the ball inches wide. On the quarter hour Tully and Bauza echanged passes down the right as Tully broke at lightning speed then whipped in a develish cross that was cleared for a corner as players looked to pounce. Shephard's inswinger was met by Troy on the full, but unfortunately for City the keeper was alert enough to tip it over the bar for another corner.

In the 18th minute City were thrown a lifeline when Nichols chased Dunne's excellent through ball into the box. Under heavy pressure from a defender, the youngster twisted and turned looking for an opening before forcing the defender into a clumsy challenge that left the ref with little option but to point to the spot. Up stepped Bauza to plant a cool blast high to the keeper's left as he dived right for his second goal of the season and reduce the deficit to 2-1.

City pressed on, and five minutes later spurned a great chance when good build up play from Noble and Golbourne saw Sercombe pull the ball back for Shephard to smash a first time drive well over. It wasn't all City by any stretch of the imagination though as Brentford looked stronger as the half wore on and enjoyed a far greater share of the possession too. In the 28th minute they earned a free kick just outside the box after an apparent handball by Duffy. Sam Saunders stepped up to send a wicked swerving drive to Krysiak's left hand post, but the City keeper was equal to it pulling off a fine full stretch dive to turn the ball around the post for a Brentford corner.

Shephard had another chance with ten minutes to go after Bauza and Noble combined to set him up just outside the box, but his low drive to the far post was always pulling wide. In the 43rd minute Billy Jones replaced Sercombe just before Shephard sent over another tantalising corner that the keeper looked to claim. He missed it completely, much to the surprise of Troy barrelling in behind him to send a bullet header just wide in the final action of what, in the end, turned out to be a pretty decent game.

But you don't get anything for decent, however it does seem that luck just isn't with City at the moment. Twice in consecutive home games the opposition has taken the lead in less than conventional circumstances, plus as one player leaves the treatment table it seems another immediately takes his place. But it can't stay like this forever, and surely once they get the rub of the green then they'll be on their way. We're playing some pretty good football at times, with crisp accurate passing and decent build up play too. Sooner or later someone's going to convert their chances, and the time to worry will be if we fail to create those chances and fail to keep possession and play our football.

So be patient and keep supporting the lads as they try to turn things round, which surely they'll do before too long. And what better place to try than back here at the Park in a week's time when Liverpool are the visitors for a Carling Cup second round tie. After that we welcome newly promoted Chesterfield, then it's back to cup action when old rivals Plymouth Argyle try and take revenge for the JPT defeat inflicted on them last season. Exciting times, dare you miss any of them? Didn't think so.

    Data provided by Press Association