Toothless Exeter City struggle in Jevani Brown’s absence


Exeter City fell victim to a smash and grab 1-0 defeat against Cheltenham at St James Park with their in-form talisman Jevani Brown away on international duty with Jamaica.

The Grecians had 16 shots but could not convert any as Cheltenham stole all three points thanks to a goal from Dan Nlundulu, inflicting Exeter to their first home defeat of the season.

It was the first time since being promoted that the Devon-side were without Jevani Brown who continued his brilliant form from last season and carried it into the current campaign by directly contributing to five goals in the opening four fixtures.

This hot-streak was rewarded by Jamaica who gave the 27-year-old his first-ever international call-up for a tournament in Vienna where the Reggae Boyz go up against Ghana, Morocco and Qatar.

Consequently, Brown will be forced to miss three fixtures for the Grecians the first hurdle of which they failed to clear, looking toothless in front of goal against a Robins side they thumped 7-0, in the Carabao Cup just ten days prior

Exeter City manager Matt Taylor was disappointed his side could not step up to the mark in Brown’s absence. He said:

“Jevani’s the one that can create and he has that little bit of control, but the squad has to be utilised, I’ve said time and time again, we’re only a couple of injuries away from a really weak squad and that probably was on show but the others need to learn how to make themselves selectable.

“We didn’t have it, in terms of our play and our bodies to really break them down.

“We started really well, you can say we missed him [Brown] but if we started the way we did in terms of goal return off the back of that start then you wouldn’t be saying we missed him.

“We just fell between the lines too much and if we watch that match back no one player had anything they could really hang their hat on.”

Brown from released to first-class plane seats

Jevani Brown has finally found a home where he is finally appreciated by his players, management and fans and the overall atmosphere surrounding Exeter City has provided a platform for the forward to express his talents.

Cambridge United, Forest Green Rovers and Colchester Uniter were all clubs who were unable to unlock the consistency of high-level performances that Brown now shows on a regular basis.

Having struggled to make an impact and being left out the squad at Colchester and Forest Green Rovers in 2020, it seemed as though the 27-year-old’s career was petering out with a whimper especially after the Jamaican was eventually released by Colchester in 2021, however the forward found new life when called upon by Matt Taylor and the Grecians.

A slow start to the 21/22 campaign in terms of goal output was not punished by Taylor who appreciated the work put in by Brown on and off the ball and the Exeter City manager felt the goals would eventually come.

His upturn in goalscoring form came after the unfortunate injury to strike-partner Samuel Nombe and Brown took on the responsibility to help maintain the Grecians promotion push in Nombe’s absence.

Following the return of Nombe,  the pair have gone on to form a formidable partnership which propelled Exeter City to promotion, narrowly missing out on the League Two title on the last day.

Yet the duo started the new campaign as they left off the old season.

A delightful turn on the halfway line by Brown set himself free to find Nombe in behind the Lincoln City defence to score the Grecians’ first goal in League One for over a decade.

While Exeter’s form and potential back-to-back promotion may be hampered in his absence the Grecian’s manager was keen to focus on the positive aspect of the international call-up. Taylor said:

“Let us remember where we got him from, – released by Colchester United.

“Now he is one of the most talked about players in League One. He has started the season well and getting that international recognition and we have played a part in that.

“There is no bigger accolade than international recognition and if he goes and plays for Jamaica then I am delighted for Jevani first and foremost, and I am still excited as there is more to come.

“We will miss him but that is part and parcel of success, he is getting the recognition at a top level of world football and we will wish him all the best.”

Brown is in line to face Morocco tomorrow in the first fixture of a four-nation tournament that has been put together to help Qatar prepare for the World Cup in December.

As a result he will miss the next two games for Exeter City against Gillingham and Accrington Stanley.

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