Writer: Kithson Bain
Date:Tuesday February 8 2011
St James' Park
On a night that should have inspired the players, City turned in an abject display crashing to a 2-1 defeat against a deserving Brentford side.
Myles Western produced a telling contribution for The Bees, teeing up Sam Saunders and Gary Alexander for simple first half goals.
Daniel Nardiello`s low drive in stoppage time proved nothing more than a consolation as Brentford ran out 3-2 winners on aggregate.
Jamie Cureton, scorer of City`s goal in the first leg, could have given the Grecians the perfect start but when he was presented with a chance he blazed wide from 10 yards out.
After that it was all Brentford in the first half, having already worked Ben Hamer on several occasions The Bees took a twentieth minute lead. Western escaped his marker and drove hard for the byline, before squaring for Saunders to tap into the roof of the net.
Six minutes later and Western was at it again, a clever nutmeg on Richard Duffy sent him racing free down the Exeter`s right, this time he stood up a deep cross for the unmarked Alexander to nod home to give the visitors a commanding 3-1 aggregate lead.
Brentford played with a relaxed freedom all night and in Western always carried a threat on the counter attack. Exeter in contrast seemed hurried in possession and lacked any natural width going forward.
Second half introductions of Richard Logan and Daniel Nardiello improved City`s options in the final third but too many hopeful balls forward were easily mopped up by Brentford`s backline.
Nicky Forster`s men passed up several chances to increase the victory margin, the best of which fell to substitute Nicholas Bignall who lashed wide when well placed.
Nardiello`s strike came too late to stir a comeback , a full five minutes into injury time he weaved in off the left flank to fire across the keeper into the furthest reaches of the bottom corner.
It was the kind of calculated attacking play that City could have done with from the start.
Once again changes were made in the starting line-up for tonight`s game, eight in total. Paul Tisdale has rotated the side in recent weeks to try and cope with the busy schedule but it`s a policy that seems to be backfiring.
City are back in league action at the weekend and facing a tough trip to Notts County. Poor form since the turn of year has City nervously looking over their shoulders at another relegation scrap.
City: Hamer, Duffy, Taylor, Archibald-Henville, Jones (Golbourne), Dunne (Nardiello), Sercombe, Harley, Noble, O`Flynn (Logan), Cureton
Date:Tuesday February 8 2011
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