Honours even after first leg
Brentford and Exeter City`s Johnstone`s Paint Trophy area final is evenly poised after a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Griffin Park.
Jamie Cureton`s fine finish gave Exeter a first half lead but Gary Alexander`s tap in brought the home side back level.
Paul Tisdale once again rotated his squad making four changes from Friday`s league clash with The Bees. City`s goal scorer that night, John O`Flynn, found himself benched in the reshuffle.
On a tricky pitch early chances were traded between the two sides. Nicky Forster went close with a header and Alexander stung the palms of Paul Jones as Brentford looked to make use of their home advantage.
Daniel Nardiello thought his curling shot had given City the lead midway through the first half but a fantastic fingertip save form Richard Lee thwarted the former Manchester United striker.
Jamie Cureton`s pace was causing constant problems for Brentford`s back four and just before half time from Richard Logan`s pass Cureton sprung the offside trap before clinically driving the ball into the bottom corner to hand City a half time lead.
Nardiello was once again denied by the excellent Lee after the break as the game continued to be played in an open nature.
The Londoners drew level when Jones` unconvincing punch fell straight to Myles Western who`s cut back found Alexander who stroked the ball home with Jones nowhere to be seen.
Western almost won the match for the hosts, his header came back off the post with the keeper beaten.
Sercombe struck a late volley but Lee was once again equal to the task as the match petered out into a draw.
The second leg at St James` Park is on Tuesday 8th February. The winner will play either Carlisle or Huddersfield at Wembley.
City: 4-3-3. P Jones, Tully, Duffy, Taylor, Golbourne, Dunne, Noble (Archibald-Henville), Sercombe, Nardiello (B Jones), Cureton, Logan (O`Flynn)