Two cruel late goals denied Brentford victory at the Galpharm Stadium as Huddersfield Town came from 2-1 down with 90 minutes on the clock to beat Brentford 3-2. Dudley Campbell's 46th minute goal appeared to have given The Bees the full three points but after two late red cards the home side won through.
Brentford made two changes to the team which beat Milton Keynes Dons last week with Eddie Hutchinson and Kevin O'Connor missing. Junior Lewis came into the centre of midfield, replacing Hutchinson while Sam Tillen started at right back. Lloyd Owusu and Paul Brooker, returning after injury, were fit enough for places on the bench.
The game started slowly, with neither team over committing in attack. Andrew Frampton headed over the bar from a Michael Turner free kick and at the other end Gary Taylor-Fletcher forced Stuart Nelson to palm away a fierce shot after Danny Adams had created an opening.
The opening quarter of the game lacked goalmouth action but in the rest of the first half both teams attacked with purpose. Isaiah Rankin picked the ball up after a strong tackle by Tillen and set Scott Fitzgerald clear but Tom Clarke denied him with a well-timed tackle, but there was no denying Rankin from the resulting corner. Paul Rachubka had Tabb's dinked corner headed out of his grasp by a defender and the ball dropped to Rankin. He turned, created a yard of space and curved the ball deliciously past Rachubka into the top corner to give the visitors a 24th minute lead.
That lead was almost doubled on the half hour when Frampton, Lewis and Tabb combined to create a shooting opportunity for Pratley. Rachubka failed to deal with the stinging effort and just about gathered at the second attempt as Fitzgerald closed in.
Andy Holdsworth fired over as the home side failed to create much with their possession but in the 34th minute, out of nothing, they were level. Pawel Abbott, the Terriers Polish striker was the man who did it, and re-affirmed his penchant for the Bees back line with his third goal in as many game against them. He picked the ball up on the edge of the box and played a one-two with Danny Schofield before lifting the ball over Nelson and into the far corner off the underside of the bar.
It was the home side who came closest to going in ahead at half time. Taylor-Fletcher latched onto an Abbott flick and forced Nelson into a tidy save at his near post and Adams and Schofield almost created another chance for Taylor-Fletcher but Nelson was quickly out to deal with the danger. Abbott curled an effort wide from the edge of the box and after Abbott had another shot blocked, Taylor-Fletcher set up Adams who blazed wide at the near post.
Campbell replaced Fitzgerald during the break and with his first touch, within 30 seconds of the re-start, the former Yeading man put Brentford back in front. Rankin played a through ball which was inch perfect for Tabb, who unselfishly rolled it across goal for Campbell who had the simplest of tasks to slot it into the empty goal from eight yards.
There could have been even better news for the visitors five minutes later when Tabb broke clear again, he laid it through to Marcus Gayle, who just failed to pick out Rankin, racing forward from midfield, with a cross field pass. Rachubka then did well to gather a cross from Campbell after he worked his way to the by-line.
The home side pressed forward, keen to prove they had promotion ambitions of their own. Nathan Clarke fired well over and Chris Brandon forced Nelson into a low save after he turned Schofield's cross towards goal. Michael Turner could have extended Brentford's lead at the other end when he rose unmarked to meet Pratley's corner, but his header was off target. Nelson then produced another good save to deny Abbott, who let fly from the edge of the box.
Huddersfield brought on Andy Booth and Junior Mendes in an effort to rescue the game and Tillen had to be in the right place at the right time to block from Abbott. Brentford seemed to have sewn things up when Tabb was crudely brought down by Tom Clarke. It was the England under 19 international's second yellow card and he headed for an early bath.
But events then conspired against the visitors. Tabb had to be replaced by Owusu and appeared to be struck by an object thrown from the home fans as he made his way off, and in the 83rd minute Brentford were also reduced to ten men. Frampton was given a second caution and dismissed, when it might have been Sam Sodje who made the foul tackle.
Huddersfield sensed they could get something out of the game. Tony Carss had a shot deflected wide and Abbott then shot over but two minutes into the five added on by referee Ilderton the home side got their equaliser. Nathan Clarke swung a cross in, the ball dropped loose and Schofield squeezed it past Nelson and the bodies on the line to draw Huddersfield level.
The late goal spurred them on and three minutes later they had their third, and the three points that went with it. Holdsworth's long throw was met expertly by the veteran Booth, who gave Nelson no chance with a powerful looping header into the far corner, which meant Brentford made the long journey home without reward.
Brentford: Nelson; Tillen, Sodje, Turner, Frampton; Rankin, Lewis, Pratley, Tabb (sub Owusu 80 mins); Gayle, Fitzgerald (sub Campbell h/t (sub Peters 90mins))
Subs (not used): Brooker, Bankole
Attendance: 11,622 (350 Bees fans)
Written by Chris Wickham