Brentford ended 2005 on a sour note with a 2-0 home defeat against Colchester United, bringing to an end their ten match unbeaten run. A goal in each half from U's wide man Mark Yeates separated the teams on a crisp early afternoon at Griffin Park.
Martin Allen made two changes to the team which had beaten Swansea City on Boxing Day with Ricky Newman and Jay Tabb available again after suspension. They came back into the starting 11, replacing Junior Lewis and Marcus Gayle, who dropped to the bench.
The game opened slowly with both teams trying to play the ball around but unable to create any chances, the first opening came for the visitors in the 13th minute when Greg Halford slipped the ball to Chris Iwelumo who forced Stuart Nelson into a save low to his left. Brentford had a goal disallowed in the 21st minute when Lloyd Owusu was flagged offside as he rounded Aidan Davison and rolled the ball home after Tabb's through ball.
Iwelumo headed wide from a Jamie Cureton cross and in the 30th minute Colchester inched ahead when Yeates picked the ball up on the left, cut inside Kevin O'Connor and lashed the ball past Nelson at the near post and into the net.
The goal spurred Brentford and Michael Turner headed narrowly wide from a Paul Brooker free kick but chances continued to come at the other end, Nelson saved well from a cross-cum-shot from Halford and Yeates had a volley deflected wide by O'Connor.
Brentford had chances to equalise before the interval, firstly a run from deep by Owusu set Tabb free on the left, his cross found Owusu again whose header forced Davison into a low save, Eddie Hutchinson then headed a Sam Tillen cross wide and volleyed over moments later.
Ryan Peters was introduced at half time, replacing Brooker and almost had an immediate impact when he latched onto an Owusu knock down but his effort was saved to his left by Davison. At the other end Yeates sent Halford away but he blazed over the bar.
Colchester continued to hold the upper hand and kept Nelson very busy, he produced a fantastic save to deny Yeates after Iwelumo flicked on a Halford cross and saved again from the same player from the resulting corner. Turner also denied the influential Yeates with a terrific last ditch tackle after a long run from deep and at the other end Davison tipped a free kick from Tabb over the bar.
Colchester should have sealed the points with twenty minutes remaining when a kick from Davison split the Bees defence, Yeates raced onto it but fired straight at Nelson when he only had the Brentford goalkeeper to beat. Nelson also saved well from George Elokobi and Halford while substitute Richard Garcia shot into the side netting after good work from Iwelumo and Halford.
Iwelumo should have added a second for the visitors when Colchester cut the home defence open with seven minutes remaining. Iwelumo picked up the ball from Yeates and fed Halford, the cross to the far post was met by the big Scottish forward but he headed it into the ground and over the bar.
Brentford should have equalised with three minutes remaining when Marcus Gayle flicked on a long throw from Tillen, Hutchinson headed towards goal but Davison was able to block. The ball dropped to Owusu but his effort hit the post and was cleared off the line by Wayne Brown. Colchester went straight up the other end to score a second when Yeates latched onto a long ball and curled it past Nelson and into the far corner.
Brentford still pushed forward, Owusu challenged Davison for a long cross by Tillen, the ball dropped to Dudley Campbell who shot into the ground and Owusu couldn't turn the loose ball home. Despite their best efforts the goal wouldn't come and Brentford ended the year with a defeat.
Brentford: Nelson; O'Connor (sub Gayle 64 mins), Sodje, Turner, Tillen; Brooker (sub Peters h/t (sub Lewis 83 mins)), Newman, Hutchinson, Tabb; Owusu, Campbell
Subs (not used): Bankole, Rankin
Written by Chris Wickham