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Match Report


Posted Tue 25 Jan 05 at 22:20 PM


Brentford and Barnsley shared the spoils in an archetypal game of two halves at Griffin Park. Barnsley lead at the break through a Michael Boulding goal but Sam Sodje's fourth goal of the season extended Brentford's unbeaten record to five, although they had the chances to take all three points.

Brentford made three changes from the team that defeated Swindon on Saturday; Chris Hargreaves' injury ruled him out, while Stewart Talbot and Ben May were on the bench. Scott Fitzgerald returned to the starting line-up, playing in midfield, while Isaiah Rankin and Matt Harrold played the supporting striker roles.

The visitors showed early confidence, and Sodje had to be at his best to deny Boulding making a break through the home defence in the 7th minute. Sodje's fantastic last-ditch tackle prevented a clear run at goal for the Tykes forward. There was no let-up from Barnsley who continued to dominate.

Paul Reid and Michael Chopra tested Stuart Nelson in the home goal with good low shots, as did Sodje. His sliced clearance was dipping under the bar before the Bees keeper tipped it over. Moments later Barnsley were ahead. Reid's long ball forward was allowed to bounce, Boulding reacted quickest and while the home defenders appealed for offside he beat the onrushing Nelson and headed into an unguarded net to give the visitors a 33rd minute lead.

Eddie Hutchinson

Barnsley could have doubled their lead on three occasions before the interval. Jacob Burns finished a run from half way with a fierce shot that Nelson had to tip round the post. Matt Carbon headed a Stephen McPhail corner wide and Sodje had to clear off the line after McPhail had chipped the ball over Nelson.

Brentford's best chance of the opening period came in stoppage time. Michael Dobson floated a free kick to the far post where Burton had pulled off his marker, he cracked a volley towards the near post but Ross Turnbull turned it round the post.

The home team came out after the break with new personnel and a new system and they were completely rejuvenated. Saturday's match winner Stephen Hunt and the influential Talbot replaced Fitzgerald and Harrold with Brentford switching to 4-4-2. From then on they dominated the game. Talbot grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and Barnsley's one touch football and neat interplay was no longer effective. Boulding, Chopra and McPhail drifted out of the game and The Bees pushed forward.

Dobson had a deflected shot tipped around the post by Turnbull and Sodje headed over in the first ten minutes of the half. Brentford went closer still in the 57th minute when Michael Turner - who's first Bees goal can't be far away - headed against the cross bar from Talbot's free kick. A minute later a great run from Rankin created space, which Jay Tabb exploited, his shot looked destined for the net before a Barnsley defender deflected it wide.

From the resulting corner Brentford drew level. John Salako curled in a beautiful cross and Sodje rose highest at the far post to power a header past Turnbull. Both teams went looking for the winner but it was Brentford who looked most likely. Rankin had a shot tipped over the bar in the 72nd minute and had a golden chance to win the game with ten minutes to play.

Nelson's quick throw released Tabb on the right, he attacked the Barnsley defence before finding Rankin racing forward in support. As he bore down on goal Antony Kay came in with a tackle, which put the Bees man off, and he fired over the bar. Chopra shot wide for the visitors in stoppage time, and both teams had to settle for a point.

Line-up: Nelson; Dobson, Turner, Sodje, Salako; Fitzgerald (sub Hunt h/t), Hutchinson, Tabb; Rankin (sub Peters 87 mins), Harrold (sub Talbot h/t); Burton.Subs (not used): May, Julian

Attendance: 4,835

Written by Chris Wickham.

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