Town had a lot of possession and a good few chances in the second half of today's game against Exeter, but couldn't find the breakthrough and lost to a first-half set piece goal against the Grecians.
The first incident of the game saw Exeter's number three - Richard Duffy - slide recklessly through the back of Jordan Rhodes. From the resulting free-kick Town won a corner offering the Terriers their first opportunity to test the Grecians 'keeper. The ball into the box from Gary Roberts was well directed and almost found the onrushing Peter Clarke; however, Towns captain was marshalled well by Duffy who made a smart clearance.
During the early proceedings of the game possession was evenly matched, however Town were marginally dominating territorially.
Exeter's first effort on Ian Bennett's goal came in the 14th minute when James Dunne took a wild swing from the edge of the area. The midfielder's effort was well defender by Town who managed to get a body in the way and prevent the ball troubling Town's 'keeper.
Town began to dominate proceedings following the early jostling. In the 16th minute Rhodes had his first sight of goal thanks to an excellent cross from Graham Carey. The on-loan Celtic full-back picked the ball up down Town's left flank and delivered a curling cross onto the head of Rhodes. Sadly for Rhodes, he could not get enough purchase on the ball and saw his header fly over Artur Krysiak's goal.
Some good link up play between Damien Johnson and Rhodes rewarded Town with their second corner of the game in the 25th minute. The resulting period of pressure following the corner lifted the spirits of the Town faithful as the Terriers began to look more dangerous in front of goal.
In the 26th minute the excellent combination of Carey and Rhodes so narrowly missed out on giving Town a deserved lead. Carey picked up the ball just outside Exeter's box and swung a delicious cross onto the head of Rhodes. This time Jordan got better purchase on his header and had the Grecian's 'keeper beaten all ends up, however, the cross bar intervened to prevent Rhodes adding to his season tally.
GOAL - Town were hit by a sucker punch in the 37th minute when they once again undone from a corner. An Exeter corner from the right was attacked well by Richard Duffy who beat his marker in the air to thunder his header past a hapless Ian Bennett.
Town looked to get back into the game immediately following their setback. A free-kick from 20 yards out had the returning Anthony Pilkington interested, the forward lined up his effort and in trademark fashion rifled a shot which went narrowly over Krysiaks goal.
In the 41st minute Exeter and their travelling fans thought Troy Archibald-Henville had doubled their advantage with an identical effort to Duffy's earlier goal. However, referee Miller deemed Henville to have fouled Peter Clarke during his attempt to head the ball past Bennett.
The first half closed with Exeter leading. Despite some neat and quick interplay Town had failed to create any clear cut chances and would have to rectify that if they were to get back into the game.
HALT TIME: TOWN 0 EXETER 1
SUB: Lee Clark made his first change of the game as the players reappeared for the second half. Midfielder Joey Gudjonsson was replaced by Alan Lee. The switch saw Pilkington move to the right hand side of midfielder pushing Arfield into a central berth and allowed Alan Lee to partner Rhodes upfront.
Some brilliant individual play from Town's left back - Graham Carey - in the 48th minute forced Krysiak into his first save of the game. The tricky full-back cut inside Richard Duffy and fired a shot with his weaker right foot from the edge of the area. Carey's attempt would have given Town the lead if it wasn't for the efforts of Krysiak who showed good agility to palm the ball away.
A lack of concentration in the 53rd minute almost handed Town a way back into the game. A misplaced header by Exeter's goalscorer Duffy was well anticipated by Rhodes who was left one-on-one with the Grecians 'keeper. Unfortunately for Rhodes his first touch was not perfect which meant his shooting angle was decreased massively, the striker still managed to get a shot away but it was not good enough to test Krysiak.
Rhodes' effort seemed to inspire Lee Clark's men as they went in hunt of an equaliser. Anthony Pilkington very nearly delivered in the 55th minute when he saw his volley skim past the post of Exeter's goal.
Town went close again minutes later when Scott Arfield hit a shot in anger from 25 yards stinging the hands of the busy Krysiak. The Scotsman picked up the ball thirty yards out and intently drove on towards goal, with the option of a pass blocked off; Arfield took aim and let fly forcing Krysiak into a sprawling save.
As the game entered the final twenty minutes it was evident that Exeter were looking to sit and defend their one nil lead. Henville had moved into a defensive midfield position as Exeter now lined up 4-1-4-1 with Jamie Cureton leading the line.
SUB - Town made their second change of the game in 75th minute when the hard working Jordan Rhodes was replaced by the young Gunner - Benik Afobe.
Afobe's first action of the game was to win Town a corner in the 78th minute. Gary Roberts stood over the corner and delivered an attackable ball in to the six yard box. Sadly for Town, no one was close enough to make any really effort at attacking the ball and Exeter cleared with ease.
BOOKING - Lee Peltier was the first man to go into Mr Miller's book in the 79th minute when he was deemed to have dived just outside of the Exeter area.
SUB - In the 80th minute Richard Logan was replaced by John O'Flynn who took over his role on the right hand side of midfield.
SUB - Jamie Cureton had done his job for the day and handed the mantel of lone striker over to Daniel Nardiello in the 83rd minute.
SUB - Lee Clark made his final alteration of the night replacing Antony Kay with Jamie McCombe in the 84th minute.
As the minutes tumbled away Town continued to apply pressure to Exeter's back line. As in previous games Jamie McCombe was sent forward to act as a makeshift forward as Town searched desperately for an equaliser.
In the final minute of the ninety a scintillating effort by Scott Arfield almost levelled matters. The Scotsman rifled in a shot from all 25 yards which swerved dramatically and looked to have Krysiak beaten all ends up. However, to the disbelief of every Town fan in the Galpharm the shot rattled the post of Exeter's goal and somehow stayed out.
FINAL SCORE - TOWN 0 EXETER 1
Town's team (4-4-2):
Ian Bennett, Graham Carey, Antony Kay (Jamie McCombe - 84), Peter Clarke, Lee Peltier, Gary Roberts, Damien Johnson, Joey Gudjonsson (Alan Lee - 46), Scott Arfield, Jordan Rhodes (Benik Afobe - 75), Anthony Pilkington.
Alex Smithies, Liam Ridehalgh, Lee Croft, Joe Garner.
Lee Peltier (79)