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Match Report


Posted Thu 04 Dec 03 at 16:37 PM


AFC Bournemouth edged out Brentford in an entertaining match played at a wet Fitness First Stadium.

Wade Elliot's goal separated the two sides in a match that was marred by poor finishing both teams. Jay Smith was the only change that Bees boss Wally Downes made from last Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Grimsby Town. He replaced the injured Eddie Hutchinson in the centre of midfield.

Jay Tabb led the first Brentford attack after two minutes, making a strong run down the left, but Michael Dobson's cross was high and wide. After six minutes Marcus Browning should have given the home side the lead, but his header from six yards was off-target. Two minutes later, Steve Fletcher missed from a similar position.

Wade Elliott's cross in the sixteenth minute had Bees goalkeeper Paul Smith in all sorts of trouble but he managed to palm the ball away. From the resulting corner, Carl Fletcher's unmarked header blazed wide. Brentford then immediately broke away - Tony Rougier supplied Tabb with a shot that was deflected away at the vital moment. Rougier then planted the ball into the net from Dobson's corner but the goal was ruled out for an infringement.

Attacks moved from one end of the field to the other, Stephen Hunt missing a defensive header on the edge of the Bees box that firstly Wade Elliot and Brian Stock failed to capitalise on. The home sides' best chance came before two minutes before the hour-hour mark. Smart play from Stock led to a Browning cross from the right. It was a gift for Garreth O'Connor, but the Cherries' midfielder contrived to shoot wide from twelve yards out with the goal gaping.

The travelling Bees' fans thought their side had taken the lead with five minutes remaining of the first-half. Stephen Hunt finished off a great pass from Kevin O'Connor with aplomb, but the Irishman's effort was ruled offside. Shortly afterwards, a Steve Fletcher diving header was cleared away.

Just when it seemed Bournemouth were building a promising attack, Brian Stock was disposed by Jay Smith and fed Tony Rougier with a minute left of normal time. The Trinidad International released Ben May with just Cherries' goalkeeper Neil Moss to beat, but his first touch was too cumbersome - Moss making a vital interception to deny the on-loan forward.

Brentford came under pressure immediately after the break. Garreth O'Conner's testing cross was intercepted by Michael Dobson with a posse of home forwards waiting. Moments later, Stephen Purches' thirty-yard shot was pushed round the post by Paul Smith.

Brentford fought back - Kevin O'Connor going close with direct free-kick awarded for handball. In the 57th minute, Warren Feeney rounded his marker in the Bees' box, but shot straight at Smith. Five minutes later, Sonko survived an appeal for handball and Stock's firm drive was pushed away by Smith. Sixty seconds later, the home side took the lead.

Wade Elliott pounced on a loose ball to fire home from ten yards after Paul Smith had initially cleared Warren Feeney's goalbound effort.

With twenty minutes left, Wally Downes brought on Stephen Hughes and Mark Peters for Tony Rougier and Ben May, the former clearly disappointed at being substituted. The changes made an instant improvement. Peters got his chance from a neat Hunt pass within four minutes of coming on, but his shot hit the side-netting.

Bournemouth could have wrapped things up in the 80th minute. Carl Fletcher sprayed the ball wide to Warren Feeney, but his twenty-yard swirling shot hit the top of the Brentford cross-bar.

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