Brentford kicked off their season in the best possible way with a 2-0 victory over newly promoted Scunthorpe United at Griffin Park. Dudley Campbell created the first goal for Jay Tabb and scored the second from the penalty spot himself to cap an excellent debut.
Martin Allen decided to pair Lloyd Owusu and Isaiah Rankin up front for the opening game, leaving Campbell on the substitute's bench. Stuart Nelson was fit enough to start the game and Eddie Hutchinson partnered Olafur Skulason in midfield.
The first half was a stop-start affair with referee Ray Oliver halting the game regularly for infringements. It did not allow either team to get into their stride and despite working very hard Brentford weren't able to spread the play as they would like.
They could have opened the scoring after only 30 seconds however, after an elongated period of head tennis, Owusu's flick was perfect for Rankin to race towards goal, he curled a shot in but Paul Musselwhite saved well low to his left.
Nelson was soon called into action at the other end, saving well to his right after Richard Hinds had unleashed a 20 yard shot after being set up well by Cleveland Taylor. The Bees stand-in skipper Michael Turner was then in the thick of things heading away a cross from Matt Sparrow as Steve Torpey looked set to pounce.
Rankin went close again just before the half hour after Hutchinson put him clear with a header, his shot beat Musselwhite but Cliff Byrne cleared the danger. At the other end Torpey headed wide as he couldn't quite direct Andy Parton's drilled cross.
Brentford's best chance of the half came just past the half hour, Owusu was set to go clear when Rankin and Paul Brooker combined but Andy Crosby stopped the ball with his hand. Referee Oliver booked Crosby and from the free kick Andrew Frampton fired in a free kick which deflected for a corner. Hutchinson flicked Brooker's corner at the near post but Musselwhite clawed it away, it dropped to Tabb who fired over the bar.
If the first half was stop-start the second started frenetically, Skulason marked his debut with a yellow card just after the interval and Scunthorpe could have taken the lead three times in the next five minutes.
Firstly Sparrow turned Michael Dobson, who replaced Kevin O'Connor at half time, and laid the ball back to Ian Baraclough. His curling shot cannoned away off the post. Moments later Taylor volleyed over from inside the area after a corner wasn't properly cleared.
The next chance came after Turner attempted a header back to Nelson that Torpey intercepted only to fire weakly straight at the Bees keeper. Nelson had to be at his best minutes later when Taylor cut in off the right flank and fired a hot that was excellently tipped over the bar. From the resulting corner a near post flicked header was cleared off the line by a combination of Nelson and Dobson.
Brentford introduced Campbell for the hard working Rankin in the 66th minute and five minutes later he repaid the Brentford boss' faith in him. Owusu flicked on a Dobson throw and Campbell nipped in front of Marcus Williams. His pull back was inch perfect for Tabb who fired low past Musselwhite and into the far corner.
Owusu headed straight at the Irons keeper from a Brooker free kick and Tabb then set up the Bees striker who's first shot was well saved by Musselwhite and he then put the re-bound wide.
Brentford sealed the win with ten minutes remaining, Hutchinson had a shot saved by Musselwhite and as Owusu went for the loose ball he was bundled out of the way by the Irons man. Referee Oliver awarded the penalty and Campbell dispatched it with aplomb, sending Musselwhite the wrong way.
Brentford: Nelson; O'Connor (sub Dobson h/t), Sodje, Turner, Frampton; Brooker, Skulason, Hutchinson, Tabb; Owusu (sub Fitzgerald 82 mins), Rankin (sub Campbell 66 mins)
Subs (not used): Gayle, Bankole
Written by Chris Wickham