Brentford's play-off push continued to gain momentum as they defeated Bristol City 1-0 at a blustery Griffin Park
. Sam Sodje was again Brentford's match winner, notching his 7th goal of the season in the 13th minute.
Martin Allen made two enforced changes to the team which won at Stockport County last weekend with Michael Dobson and Stephen Hunt both injured. Marcus Gayle made his first Brentford appearance since his return and Deon Burton was restored to the line-up after suspension. This meant a change in system with Gayle on the left wing and Jay Tabb on the right in a 4-4-2 formation.
Gayle almost created an opening for Scott P. Fitzgerald inside the opening three minutes but his cross just eluded the Bees front man. City danger man Leroy Lita also had a chance in a frenetic opening, Steve Brooker flicked on a long Steve Phillips kick and Lita beat Kevin O'Connor
to the ball but his toe poke was easily saved by Stuart Nelson. Brentford's winner came minutes later when Stewart Talbot's free kick was poorly punched by Phillips under pressure from Sodje and Burton. Sodje reacted quickest as the ball dropped and volleyed the ball home with the outside of his right foot.
The game gathered pace with both teams attacking, Tabb set up Fitzgerald who had a shot saved low at the near port by Phillips and Brooker and Lita both had shots that were off target. Burton could have marked his return with a goal when he latched onto Nelson's long kick but his shot was saved comfortably by Phillips.
Brentford had two more good chances to stretch their lead before the break, firstly when Darren Pratley's corner was half cleared Tabb fired in a shot that was deflected inches past the post with Phillips stranded and just before the interval Burton's chipped through ball found Fitzgerald unmarked in front of goal but he miss-hit his volley and Phillips was able to gather.
Brentford continued to have the better chances after the interval, Danny Coles made a good interception to deny Gayle a shooting chance after Burton's lay-off, Tabb shot narrowly wide after another Burton pass and Burton himself wasted a good opportunity after beating Phillips to a long through ball. He rounded the Bristol City stopper but shot over the bar from a tight angle.
Bristol City threw on extra attackers, forcing Brentford to move Gayle into the defence and switch to 5-3-2. Brooker shot wide at the near post and he had an even better chance in the 73rd minute. Lita's lofted through ball found the balding striker one-on-one with Nelson, he wasted the chance by shooting straight at the Bees keeper's legs.
Burton should have killed the game off in the 77th minute, Tabb floated a cross to the far post but the Jamaican striker headed wide when unmarked. Brooker almost made him pay for it when he lifted the ball over the bar from four yards out after Nelson and Michael Turner failed to deal with a Scott Murray corner. That was as close as the visitors came to snatching a point and was their final chance.
Line-up: Nelson; O'Connor, Turner, Sodje, Frampton; Tabb, Talbot, Pratley, Gayle; Burton (sub Rankin 81 mins), Fitzgerald (Scott P.) (sub Harrold 88 mins).
Subs (not used): Myers, Peters, Bankole
Attendance: 6,870Written by Chris Wickham.