Brentford maintained their position at the top of Coca-Cola League One with a 1-0 victory over Milton Keynes Dons at Griffin Park. A twice taken Kevin O'Connor penalty just past the hour mark was all that separated the sides, after referee Lewis had awarded the Bees a spot kick for handball.
The Bees lined up with the same team that won at Nottingham Forest last week and Marcus Gayle, who was partnering Scott Fitzgerald in attack, almost opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Stuart Nelson fired a long ball forward and Jay Tabb rose well to lay it into the path of Gayle. He let fly on the volley from 35 yards and the ball dipped narrowly over.
The visitors could have been ahead before that when Aaron Wilbraham controlled a kick from Matthew Baker and turned Sam Sodje, he lofted a shot over the head of Nelson but the ball bounced off the underside of the crossbar and was cleared. O'Connor had to be alert on nine minute to deny Wilbraham a shooting chance and seconds later an even better challenge from O'Connor denied Wade Small, who seemed to be clear of the home defence.
Brentford began to create chances as the game wore on. Gayle forced a fine save from Baker after Tabb had slipped the ball through to him and Michael Turner failed to make a good connection after he found space from a Darren Pratley corner.
A spell of possession from Milton Keynes almost brought them the opening goal in the 34th minute. They worked the ball from left to right and back into a central area where Paul Mitchell strode on to it and let fly from the edge of the area. The ball beat Nelson but cannoned to safety off the post. The visitors wasted a golden opportunity a minute later when a corner was not properly cleared, Wilbraham set up a shooting chance for Mirano Carriho but he sliced his shot and the ball dribbled wide.
At the other end Baker had to pull off a top class save to keep the scores level. Andrew Frampton swung a cross over from the left, Gayle knocked it down into the path of Rankin and his shot looked destined for the bottom corner, but Baker got a hand to it and kept it out. Fitzgerald was just unable to squeeze the rebound in from a tight angle.
The visitors seemed certain to score a minute before half time when substitute Marvin Kamara wriggled his was to the by-line, he pulled it back for Clive Platt who clipped the ball past Nelson but he couldn't beat Sodje, who cleared it off the line with a flying header. Tabb fired wide from 25 yards seconds before the interval.
After the break Brentford held on to the ball better and dominated the opening exchanges of the second half. Frampton, fresh from his first league goal last week, forced Baker into a neat save when he drove in a shot from fully 25 yards. Dudley Campbell entered the game in the 57th minute, replacing the hard working Fitzgerald and three minutes later Brentford were awarded a penalty.
Campbell won the Bees a corner with a fine run down the left and when Pratley's dinked ball was flicked on by Gayle the arm of Dons defender Pablo Mills prevented the ball continuing on its journey. O'Connor stepped up and placed the ball into the top left corner of Baker's goal but Mr Lewis ordered it to be retaken due to encroachment. O'Connor stepped up again and this time nestled the ball into the bottom left corner with Baker going the wrong way to give Brentford a 62nd minute lead.
They could have doubled it 90 seconds later when Tabb sent Campbell clear, the Bees striker raced towards goal and shot past Baker, but the ball rolled agonisingly wide of the far post.
The visitors pressed forward looking for an equaliser and had a deal of possession without creating too many openings. Leon Crooks shot wide from distance and Mills shot wide after Craig Morgan headed Nicky Rizzo's free kick back into the danger area. Mills then headed well over from a Mitchell cross.
Kamara had the visitors' best chance with only seven minutes remaining, his run took him clear of the home defence but with only Nelson to beat he pulled his shot wide. That was as close as they came as Brentford claimed the win.
Brentford: Nelson; O'Connor, Turner, Sodje, Frampton; Rankin (sub Peters 72 mins), Hutchinson, Pratley, Tabb; Gayle, Fitzgerald (sub Campbell 57 mins)
Subs (not used): Bankole, Osborne, Lewis
Written by Chris Wickham