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Match Report


Posted Sat 15 Jan 05 at 17:16 PM


Eddie Hutchinson's first goal of the season gave Brentford a great away win at Vale Park. It was the Bees first win at Port Vale since the 1966/67 season and meant they extended their winning run to three games, without conceding a goal.

Brentford made three changes from the team that won at Luton last week, two of them enforced. Jamie Lawrence and Andy Frampton were both injured and unable to play, while Scott Fitzgerald dropped to the bench. They welcomed back Michael Dobson from injury and Sam Sodje from suspension, with Andy Myers also promoted to the team. Martin Allen used the same system that served him so well at Luton, using Deon Burton as a lone striker.

The visitors could have been ahead after only three minutes. Isaiah Rankin, revelling in his new role, took on Ryan Brown and drilled in a shot which slipped just past the far post, evading the onrushing Ben May by inches.

Port Vale also caused early problems, George Abbey curled in a sixth minute free kick which slipped just wide of the far post. The same player forced Stuart Nelson into a save in the ninth minute with a ferocious right footed shot from 25 yards, and a minute later Levi Reid had a shot deflected narrowly over.

Slowly but surely Brentford began to take control, May blasted over from only 5 yards in the 19th minute after Burton had turned Stewart Talbot's free kick back across goal, and Hutchinson headed wide from a Myers cross.

Brentford took the lead in the 29th minute; Dobson floated a free kick to the far post, May headed down and the ball dropped to Hutchinson 10 yards from goal. He fired low past Jon Brain in the Port Vale goal for his first goal of the season.

The Bees could have been two up when Sodje failed to make good contact with a Talbot corner when unmarked, and Rankin had another good effort which slipped narrowly wide of the far post after he had run from the half way line.

Port Vale stepped up a gear as half time approached, captain Sam Collins had a couple of good headers from corners which were off target but their best chance fell to Billy Paynter. He controlled a long ball in the 39th minute, and his first touch took it around Nelson but his goal bound effort was deflected for a corner by Sodje.

Brentford could have had a second early in the second half, Rankin again the danger man. He did excellently down the right, slipping past Brown and firing in a shot which eluded everyone. Rankin went even closer in the 55th minute. Half time substitute John Salako went on a weaving run into the Port Vale half, his lay off was smacked against the cross bar with Brain well beaten.

It was the home side who had the majority of the play after the break, with Paynter an influential figure. A good run down the right got him clear of the Bees backline; he cut it back to Jeff Smith who blazed the ball over the bar from only seven yards.

Nelson denied Robin Hulbert an equaliser in the 56th minute. Paynter laid the ball to him on the edge of the box and his curling effort looked destined for the bottom corner before Nelson intervened. Smith had another shot saved by Nelson in the 73rd minute as he made space in the penalty area.

Vale's best chance came in the 77th minute when a corner was only half cleared. George Pilkington headed back into the danger zone and Paynter swivelled and volleyed from only four yards, but Nelson was there yet again for The Bees.

Nelson saved his best until last, Paynter cut inside and curled a shot that looked destined for the top corner, but the Brentford keeper was again there to keep Port Vale at bay. That was as close as the home side came to getting an equaliser as Brentford defended well and claimed the points.

Brentford: Nelson, Dobson, Turner, Sodje, Myers (sub h/t Salako); Talbot (Capt.) (sub Tabb 70 mins), Hargreaves, Hutchinson; Rankin, May; Burton.

Subs (not used): Julian, Fitzgerald, Lee.

Attendance: 4230 (251 Bees).

Written by Chris Wickham.

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