Exeter City Match Preview

Last updated : 22 July 2003 By

Three days after playing Yeovil Town, a side heading for the Nationwide Third Division, Brentford continue their pre-season mini-tour of the West Country on Tuesday evening, with a visit to a club heading in the opposite direction, newly relegated Nationwide Conference outfit, Exeter City.

The Grecians had generally found life a constant struggle in the Football League, (indeed Brentford equalled their best ever away league victory, a stunning 7-1* success in April 1983), and it therefore did not come as a surprise to many, when the small Devon club finally lost their League status last May, amidst scenes of off-field acrimony, with players’ wages being unpaid in addition to paranormalist, Uri Geller, resigning from the board.

Since their demotion there has been further upheaval. Chairman John Russell and Vice-chairman Mike Lewis, have left the club, as has manager, Gary Peters, who after being installed in the hot seat as late as February, narrowly failed in his desperate bid to keep Exeter City afloat in the Nationwide Third Division.

Eamonn Dolan arrived as the new manager during the close season, as the club prepares for their first season outside of the Football League since 1920.

Flack: Prolific
Amidst the wholesale changes, a number of players have also moved on to pastures new. Two key players remain, ex-Wycombe Wanderer, Sean Devine and Steve Flack. As the dust settles, Dolan will no doubt be planning to build an immediate assault on the Nationwide Conference title around these two prolific and vastly experienced forwards.

However, the early signs are not particularly encouraging and pre-season has not so far gone according to plan.

A heavy 4-0 home defeat by newly promoted FA Barclaycard club, Portsmouth, last Wednesday evening has been followed by a rather embarrassing 3-2 reversal at East Devon rivals, Exmouth Town, on Saturday.

Exeter City’s main claim to fame before national attention became focused with their relegation plight was that fact that they share the same ground name, St James Park, as more illustrious counterparts, FA Barclaycard Premiership club, Newcastle United.

Even more peculiar is that the Grecians recorded their highest ever attendance against the Magpies deadliest rivals, Sunderland, when 20, 839 filed into the ground to watch an FA Cup sixth round replay in 1931.

So with Brentford boss Wally Downes continuing to experiment with his starting eleven, possibly resulting in places for trialists, Paul Gedman and Scott McDonald, another tricky pre-season encounter can be expected.

All Bees’ fans will be aware that the side can perform much better than they did last Saturday and will hope the team returns to winning ways after the disappointing 2-0 loss at Nationwide Third Division outfit, Yeovil Town at the weekend.

If you are planning a summer evening trip to North Devon, please take a look at the Bee Hive’s travel directions by clicking here.

* Brentford also defeated Southampton 6-0 on 9th March 1959.