A spectacular goal from Rowan Vine gave Brentford their first League victory of 2003 at Kenilworth Road. Vine's thirteenth goal of the season will come as a great boost to players and fans alike.
Graft over grace was the order of the day, but a world-class goal setled the encounter. It was no less than The Bees deserved, battling for every ball in a team decimated by injuries and suspensions. It forced Wally Downes to shuffle the pack, 20-year-old Lee Fieldwick making his League debut at left-back, with Matt Somner and Andy Frampton moving to the centre of defence.
Luton started the better of the two sides, a Paul Hughes direct free-kick was palmed away by Paul Smith in the fifth minute. Brentford forced their first corner in the twelfth minute, Rowan Vine sprung The Hatters' offside trap to make a good run down the right - but failed to whip-in a good enough cross to trouble the Luton defence. Chris Willmott's header in the seventeenth minute went close, the ball fizzing inches over the Brentford crossbar
Three minutes later, Luton were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead. Paul Smith made a hash of a straightforward goalkick, which landed straight to the feet of Dean Crowe. As the forward advanced towards goal, he unselfishly tried to pass it to Thorpe but he put too much weight on the pass and the ball ran harmlessly out of play, much to Smith's relief.
Smith was called into action on half-hour, making a save with his legs from Thorpe's ten-yard shot. An leg injury to Jamie Fullarton allowed substitute Eddie Hutchinson his first taste of League since last November, and he went on to play one of his finest games in a Bees shirt. Brentford's best chance of the half came in the 43rd minute, firstly Mark McCammon and then Stephen Hunt were thwarted by the Hatters' backline with the goal at their mercy.
In the 49th minute, Tony Thorpe skipped past Bees skipper Michael Dobson but shot wide and how must Joe Kinnear have rued that miss as sixty seconds later Rowan Vine unleashed an unstoppable twenty-five yard drive that flew into the net to give Brentford the lead.
Luton received a further scare midway through the half as Stephen Hunt's free-kick towards goal fooled Emberson, but the Luton custodian managed to tip the ball away for a corner at the last second.
Mark McCammon twice had the chance to double the lead with four minutes of normal time left, a curling shot and point-blank header both going close. Brentford finished the stronger of the two sides and can count themselves unlucky to not finish the match further ahead.