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Match Report


Posted Tue 12 Feb 02 at 23:46 PM


The classic metaphor could be attributed to this game, particularly in relation to Brentford`s performance. For it really was a game of two halves.

The first period saw the Bees second best in most areas to their visitors from South Wales. Jason Bowen continued his apparent excellent form from the weekend and Graham Kavanagh dictated events. The Bees on more than one occasion were grateful to the presence of Paul Smith in goal. He made two telling saves in the opening fifteen minutes which kept Cardiff at bay before they took the lead in the 18th minute when Bowen`s dipping header eluded Smith at the near post from Mike Simpkins` centre.

Smith also made his presence felt in the 29th minute when his clearance led directly to a corner from which Paul Evans` sent a terrific volley just inches over the bar from 25 yards.

The Bees had started well though when in the fourth minute Stephen Hunt picked up a loose ball in midfield and on beating his marker played through to Lloyd Owusu who saw his well-intended centre fly tantalisingly across the face of the goal just ahead of Ben Burgess.

But it was Cardiff who looked the more likely to open the scoring until Smith intervened.

A shot from Simpkins in the 31st minute from twenty yards out was palmed away by Smith. Then seconds later a shot out of the blue from the overlapping Gabbidon was again thwarted by the Bees young keeper.

A minute later came what proved to be the defining point of the game.a chipped shot from Hunt almost found the goal inside the angle of bar and post. But the keeper under extreme pressure from Owusu punched the ball away and ended up in the back of the net. From then on in the keeper's confidence seemed to have evaporated, and with it the shape of the Welsh sides defence. At about the same time the Bees changed their formation with Mahon moving deeper amidst a back five.

However it still required another fine save by Smith from Kavanagh who had burst through into the area six minutes before the break, to keep the deficit down to one at the half time interval.

It must have been one hell of a half time talk in the home dressing room as Brentford looked a different side after the break. But first they had to endure the sight of former Bee Leo Fortune West sending a shot from the edge of the area over the bar in the 46th minute.

In the 48th minute Evans lifted the ball over the retreating defence fort Hunt to run onto. He took it on and cracked in a shot from 25 yards which flew wide.

Two minutes on and Steven Sidwell`s shot from outside the area was saved by the keeper. Then from the Bees fifth corner Owusu headed wide at the far post. Then in the 54th minute the Bees were back on level terms. Michael Dobson sent in a long throw, Gabbidon headed out partially but only to Evo who sent a header back towards the edge of the area whereupon Ijah Anderson dipped low to head on for Hunt to fire home from 12 yards out.

The Bees were now fired up as were the fans who really got behind the Bees in the second period. Peter Thorne replaced Fortune West in the 62nd minute.

Two minutes later and a centre led to a cracking header from Ivar Ingimarsson which was goalbound before Alexander got to it. The Bees were really pressurising the Bluebirds goal and from Brentford`s 6th corner Ivar lifted the ball over the bar after the ball had been pinballing around the area.

With 25 minutes remaining Darren Powell made a telling clearance which led to a break for the Bees. Owusu, on beating the keeper at the edge of the area wasn`t quite able to steer the ball home and the chance was gone.

Cardiff still looked fairly dangerous but rarely showed the flair so evident in the first half.

Then in the 78th minute came the decisive strike. From the Bees 8th corner, Evo`s centre was half punched clear by the keeper and then hoicked away by a defender. Gavin Mahon midway in the Cardiff half headed it back whereupon Powell missed the ball which ran on to Owusu who touched it to Triple B who thrashed it home with his left foot. His 15th goal of the season and more importantly what proved to be the winner for the rampant Bees.

In the remaining minutes, Cardiff tried in vain to get back on level terms but in fairness it looked more and more likely that the Bees would score a third.

However it wasn't to be, and the Bees fans amongst the 6,718 present had to be content with the spoils from this 2-1 victory which in turn moved the Bees up to 4th place.

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