Brentford got their promotion push back on track with a 1-0 win at Layer Road against Colchester United. Jay Tabb's goal 13 minutes into the second half ensured the visitors left Essex with all three points.
Brentford made three changes from the team defeated by Southampton four days ago. Michael Dobson, John Salako and Isaiah Rankin dropped out of the starting eleven, taking places among the substitutes with new loan signing Scott Fitzgerald. Kevin O'Connor
, Darren Pratley and Stephen Hunt came into the team, with Andrew Frampton reverting to his more accustomed left back position.
Brentford made a bright start and had two great chances to take the lead inside the first five minutes. Firstly a delightful flick from Deon Burton freed Tabb who raced towards the Colchester goal, he got a shot away under pressure from Wayne Brown but it was weak and straight at Aidan Davison. Three minutes later there was an even better chance, O'Connor's cross from the right found Eddie Hutchinson six yards out, his header forced Davison into a reflex save.
Brentford continued to press forward, Burton's 20 yard shot forced Davison to spill a shot for a corner. Stewart Talbot curled it in and Davison had to be alert to tip it over the crossbar as it dipped viciously and late.
Colchester came back into the game as the half went on, a long throw from Greg Halford was not properly cleared and John White's volley was blocked by Hunt. The home side thought they had taken the lead in the 26th minute. Their left back Stephen Hunt got to the by-line; his cross found Gareth Williams whose shot was blocked by Sam Sodje, the follow-up from White was stopped on the line by a combination of Sodje, Michael Turner and Stuart Nelson.
Brentford thought they had won a penalty in the 39th minute when Stephen Hunt fell just inside the area and when Frampton picked up the loose ball and fired a shot in Brown was in the right place to block. The nearest either side came to breaking the deadlock was in the final minute of the half, Brown's long ball was well controlled by Marino Keith, he laid it off to Williams who curled the ball onto the top of the crossbar.
The home side started the second half where they left off in the first, by hitting the cross bar. Pat Baldwin's dipping volley from 25 yards smacked the underside of the bar and bounced just the right side of the line as far as Brentford were concerned. Then Williams forced Nelson into a good save minutes later as he let fly from 25 yards.
Brentford got their noses in front in the 58th minute, Half time substitute Fitzgerald latched onto a poor back pass from Baldwin, his shot was saved by Davison but the loosed ball dropped straight to Tabb who knocked the ball into the empty net from ten yards.
The visitors were buoyed by that and pressed on looking for a second, clinching goal. Pratley flicked a header wide from Tabb's corner and Hunt created a chance when he danced to the by-line but his cross eluded all the Bees attackers.The home side attempted to get themselves an equaliser but were mainly restricted to long ranger efforts. Marino Keith curled one wide and Williams forced Nelson into a low save with a curled effort from the edge of the box.
In the dying minutes the home side threw everything forward, the U's Hunt had a shot from 20 yards which was tipped wide by Nelson after Sodje's deflection appeared to have taken it past him. And in injury time Davison up for a corner forced Nelson into a great save at his far post.
Brentford: Nelson; O'Connor, Turner, Sodje, Frampton; Hutchinson, Talbot, Pratley; Tabb (sub Dobson 75 mins), Hunt; Burton (sub Fitzgerald (30) h/t)
Subs (not used): Salako, Rankin, Bankole.
Attendance: 3,066Written by Chris Wickham