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Match Report


Posted Tue 04 Mar 03 at 22:53 PM


A young Bees side put up a valiant fight against a vastly experienced and monied Cardiff City side until they were dealt a cruel blow in the 52nd minute with a fluke goal.

From then on in there was only going to be one result and the obligatory goal from the country's leading Football League scorer Robert Earnshaw in the 78th minute dispelled any lingering doubts that the full three points were heading back westwards down the M4. The Brentford side saw three changes from that which took the field just three days earlier.Rowan Vine replacing Constantine, Andy Frampton returning from injury to replace Fieldwick, and Martin Rowlands back in the side in place of Hughes.

Cardiff who themselves made a couple of enforced changes from Saturdays line up were still able to field eleven players rich with experience and still have four internationals on the bench, plus former Bee Leo Fortune West. The normally dependable Ibu Sonko buckled under pressure in the third minute to concede the game`s first corner.

Two minutes later a penetrative centre from Rowlands flew directly to Eddie Hutchinson on the edge of the area. But he rushed his shot which flew high and wide. Sixty seconds later a superb left footed strike from Rowan Vine twenty-five yards out beat the keeper but also the far left hand post.

Another fine centre from Rowlands a further two minutes on, flew low across the area deceiving all but the keeper. All in all it was an encouraging start for the Bees. In the eleventh minute City captain Graham Kavanagh saw his shot deflected by Hutchinson for a corner. Kavanagh again in the 18th minute was well placed at the end of a slick move by Cardiff. But Frampton was there to clear for the Bees.

In the 20th minute a quick break down the left flank by Rowlands spelt danger for the visitors. But the player failed to see Vine and Kevin O`Connor in space, and the chance was gone. Midway through the half Alan Mahon fed Earnshaw but Sonko was well placed to clear in front of goal.

In the 33rd minute a rasping drive from Rowlands was taken at the far post by the keeper. The half ended with the Bees forcing their second corner resulting from a powerful header by Hutchinson. The Bees having gone in all square at the break, came out confidently and forced two early corners both of which emanated from Hutchinson headers.

But then in the 52nd minute came the goal that broke the Bees` resolve. Kavanagh progressed into the area and chipped two defenders before the ball was cleared wide. From the wide position Cardiff won a free kick from which Young sent his header goalwards. The ball cannoned off the foot of the post against the body of Paul Smith and rebounded into the back of the net. From then on in it was Cardiff who stole the plaudits, and exuded confidence every time they went forward.

But they had to wait until the 78th minute before doubling their lead and thus sealing the points. Earnshaw broke free and cracked the ball wide of Smith into the back of the net for his 30th goal of the season. Prior to that the Bees had made a double substitution replacing McCammon and O`Connor with Constantine and Peters. Cardiff made two late substitutions themselves with Fortune West replacing Mahon and Collins coming on for Prior. The match ended with the Bees having two shots blocked on the edge of the area.

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