Two poachers goals on his full debut from loan signing Scott Fitzgerald gave Brentford a fantastic 2-0 win at Boundary Park against Oldham Athletic, making it seven points from nine without conceding a goal the play-off chasing Bees.
Brentford made two changes to the team that battled hard for a point at Doncaster three days ago. Darren Pratley and Fitzgerald came into the team replacing John Salako and Isaiah Rankin. Brentford continued with their 4-5-1 formation with Fitzgerald on the right side of midfield and Andrew Frampton reverting to left back.
Brentford started the game quickly and Sam Sodje caused problems in the penalty area inside the first minute, but his overhead effort cleared the bar comfortably. In the tenth minute a quick Stewart Talbot free kick found Jay Tabb in space on the left to get in a cross, Eddie Hutchinson won the header but it went straight into the ground and was easy for Les Pogliacomi.
Oldham created very little in the first half, Will Haining flicked a header wide from a David Eyres free kick but their best chance came three minutes before the break. Adam Griffin swung in a cross which Stuart Nelson could not gather cleanly, Kevin Cooper cracked in a shot which Michael Turner cleared off the line, with Oldham protesting that it had been with his hand.
It was the visitors who pushed forward looking for a goal before half time. Sodje headed wide from a Tabb corner, Deon Burton volleyed over from 25 yards and had a shot blocked from the edge of the box. Burton had a good chance on the half hour, when Nelson's long kick was flicked on by a defender. The ball dropped inside the six yard box but as Burton got a shot away Pogliacomi came from his goal to save with his legs.
Brentford's best chance came in the final minute of the first half, Kevin O'Connor - making the extra man on the far post - volleyed back across goal from a Pratley cross, Burton knocked it down and as Tabb was ready to pull the trigger Stefan Stam came in with a last ditch tackle to keep the scores level at the break.
Oldham had a good chance to take the lead in the 53rd minute, a Neil Kilkenny free kick found Haining on the six yard box, he got in a header but Nelson saved low at the far post and a minute later Brentford were ahead. An O'Connor long throw was not properly cleared and Turner knocked it back across the six yard box. Fitzgerald reacted quickest and nipped in ahead of Pogliacomi to knock the ball into the empty net.
Oldham almost grabbed themselves an equaliser three minutes later, Eyres found some space on the left flank and swung in a beautiful cross. Kevin Cooper flicked out a left leg and diverted the ball towards Nelson's goal but it went inches over the bar, it was to prove crucial as Brentford extended their lead in the 63rd minute.
A corner from Talbot was not properly cleared and it came back to the Bees captain, his left footed cross ran across the penalty area and Fitzgerald was again the quickest to react, knocking the ball past Pogliacomi with ease.
Oldham threw bodies forward in an attempt to get themselves back into the game but resorted to pumping balls into the penalty area and putting Nelson under pressure. Hutchinson got his body in the way on two occasions and Haining headed against the crossbar but there wasn't a clear cur chance for the home team and Brentford claimed the points comfortably.
Line-up: Nelson; O'Connor, Sodje, Turner, Frampton; Hutchinson, Talbot (sub Dobson 66 mins), Pratley; Fitzgerald (sub Hunt 83 mins), Tabb; Burton (sub Rankin 75 mins)
Subs (not used): Hargreaves, Bankole
Attendance: 4,291 (111 Bees)
Written by Chris Wickham