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Match Report


Posted Mon 13 Apr 09 at 13:57 PM


Billy Clarke struck a last minute equaliser as Brentford earned a point against fellow-promotion chasers Exeter City.

The on-loan striker popped up with a vital goal seconds from the end of the 90 minutes to ensure the spoils were shared but that only told half the story as Brentford battered their visitors and will come away believing they could have had more.

Exeter goalkeeper Paul Jones was the busiest man on the pitch, producing a number of fine saves, including denying Clarke from the penalty spot, and the visitors spent most of the afternoon in their own half.

Their goal, scored by Stuart Fleetwood, came against the run of play and was one of the few times they were able to get forward.

They started on the back foot as Brentford - playing a 4-3-3 formation - flew out of the blocks.

Marvin Williams shot over and Damian Spencer had a header deflected wide and then a shot well saved by Jones inside the first ten minutes.

They also had a goal ruled out when Spencer headed a David Hunt corner home at the far post but it was deemed the ball had curled out of play.

John Halls had a half volley saved and Jones saved superbly from a Spencer header as Brentford continued to dominate.

Hunt had a free kick tipped round the post and Jones smothered at the feet of Spencer after Clarke headed a Hunt cross down.

Troy Archibald-Henville - who was excellent, if overworked, in the Exeter defence - looked like he had brought Spencer down inside the box but referee Roger East deemed the tackle to be fair and Brentford continued to make openings - Hunt curling a free kick inches wide and Alan Bennett flicking a header just past the far post.

Exeter had been limited to sporadic attacks on the break in the first half hour with Hunt blocking an early Marcus Stewart shot after good play by Craig McAllister before Matt Gill had a shot blocked and Liam Sercombe shot over.

But they made a half chance count late in the first half when Fleetwood picked up a Ryan Harley pass and skipped past Karleigh Osborne before slotting home.

Ben Hamer saved a Bertie Cozic header soon after but it was Brentford still creating most of the openings.

Osborne had two attempts blocked and Clarke fired a free kick over before the break and five minutes into the second half Mr East, and Gill, handed Brentford a great chance to level.

The referee noticed Gill block a Clarke shot with his hands and awarded a penalty - but Jones dived to his left to keep out Clarke's spot kick.

Spencer and Clarke combined to nod a Hamer kick into the path of Marvin Williams moments later but he lofted an effort wide at full stretch and Clarke and Spencer had efforts blocked soon after.

Sam Williams - who replaced the injured Spencer - flicked a header wide soon after and Hunt volleyed wide from the edge of the box soon after.

Bennett had blocked well from Fleetwood early in the second half but Exeter's chances were otherwise limited - Fleetwood shot across the face of goal and McAllister blazed over after a quick break.

In fact, the closest they came to extending their lead was when Osborne almost diverted a Dean Moxey cross past Hamer.

Clarke had a volley blocked as time ticked on and Gary Smith shot wide but inside the 90th minute Brentford levelled with a goal of real quality.

Smith picked out Osborne with a cross-field pass and he fed Sam Williams who picked out Hunt with a clever reverse pass - his low cross eluded Jones and Clarke poked home to equalise.

Marvin Williams could have won it at the death but was robbed by Archibald-Henville when he looked to be clear.

Mr East played six minutes of injury time in which Brentford continued to pour forward but the killer goal would not come and the spoils were shared.

Brentford: Hamer; Osborne, Powell, Bennett, Dickson; Halls (sub Poole 66 mins), Hunt, Smith; M. Williams, Spencer (sub S. Williams 58 mins), Clarke

Subs (not used): Simon Brown, Phillips, Newton

Exeter City: Jones; Tully, Archibald-Henville, Edwards; Sercombe, Gill, Cozic, Moxey; Stewart (sub Harley 20 mins); McAllister (sub Logan 90 mins), Fleetwood

Subs (not used): Marriott, Seaborne, Basham

Attendance: 8,234 (1,727 away fans)

Written by Chris Wickham

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