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Match Report


Posted Sat 13 Sep 03 at 17:24 PM


Stephen Hunt's header sealed three points for Brentford as they inflict Rushden's first home defeat of 2003. Dour defending was a feature of the victory, with Alan Julian making some tremendous stops, particularly in the second half.

Bees boss Wally Downes placed new signing from Leicester City Tommy Wright on the bench, with Matt Somner at right-back for the injured Michael Dobson. Stephen Hunt took the captain's armband.

Rushden nearly drew first-blood nine minutes in, Onandi Lowe met Paul Underwood's left-wing cross with a fine header but Alan Julian tipped the ball over the bar. In the seventeenth minute, Roget averted another Lowe header, as Julian dithered about collecting the cross.

Sixty seconds later, Brentford were ahead for the first time this season. Tony Rougier's free-kick was met by Stephen Hunt, whose final contact fooled Billy Turley in the Rushden goal to double his tally for the season.

The Irishman did well to stay on the pitch on half-hour mark as he took the full force of Bignot's volley that cannoned straight into him. Brentford's back four were an improved unit from the home defeat to Plymouth, Rushden restricted to a tame effort from Rodney Jack in the thirty-eighth minute, and Gray's curling header moments later.

Perhaps in a new-found team spirit, Brentford's players gathered round for a pre-half huddle, much to the annoyance of the home support. Rushden pressed early in the half, Gray's corner met an un-marked Lowe, but his header went wide.

Brentford breathed a sigh of relief on the hour mark as Alan Julian pushed the ball away from Jack's attention but the ex-Crewe forward was adjudged offside. Three minutes later Rushden substitute Duane Darby lost his footing at the vital moment when shaping up to shoot, Sonko clawing the ball away to safety.

Lee Fieldwick's cross gave O'Connor a chance in the sixty-eighth minute, his header claimed well by Turley. From the brekaway Alan Julian palmed away Bignot's fierce thirty-yard drive for a corner. Tommy Wright replaced Ben May with eighteen minutes left. Julian was called into action once again, punching away Paul Hall's goalbound shot. The young goalkeeper again excelled himself with eleven minute remaining, diving superbly to his right to stop Lowe's powerful header.

Wright almost opened his account in the 84th minute, his header brushing the side-netting from Rougier's right-wing cross. Darby's header caused a few missed heart beats but The Bees held on to record their first away win of the season.

Attendance: 4396 (826 Bees).

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