Brentford suffered their heaviest league defeat of the season as they went down 4-1 at Southend United's Roots Hall. The Shrimpers started the day in 2nd place and showed their credentials with a fine display while Brentford slip slightly behind in the promotion race.
The Bees were forced into a change from the team which booked a place in the FA Cup Fourth Round at Stockport last week with Sam Sodje unavailable through suspension. They were, however, able to welcome Andrew Frampton back into the starting line-up after injury, and he replaced Sodje. Jay Tabb was also fit enough to return to the team, and he started on the left side of midfield, instead of Marcus Gayle.
Brentford flew out of the blocks and had a half chance within 90 seconds when a long throw from Kevin O'Connor was only half cleared, the ball dropped to Michael Turner who had a shot blocked, it then fell to Tabb, who failed to make a decent contact with his shot. But from then on the home side grabbed the initiative and put Brentford to the sword.
Stuart Nelson was forced into a fine save just before the quarter hour when Wayne Gray met a cross from Mark Gower at the far post, he nodded it down but the Bees' keeper turned it around the post. They created another chance minutes later when Freddy Eastwood nodded a long ball into the feet of Gray, he couldn't get a shot away but the ball dropped to Kevin Maher, he slipped it into Gower, and it took a great block from O'Connor to deny him, but Southend didn't have to wait long to take the lead.
The resulting corner was played short by Maher to Eastwood, he gave it back and Maher swung a cross to the far post where Efe Sodje rose to head home. Eastwood should have doubled the lead five minutes later when he raced onto a long ball from Adam Barrett but he wasted the chance when, with only Nelson to beat, he shot wide, but the lead was doubled just past the half hour.
Eastwood got away on the right and tried to play the ball into in Gower but O'Connor managed to get a block in, the ball fell straight back to Eastwood, who fed Gower at the second attempt and he curled the ball past Nelson and into the far corner.
Brentford tried to find a way back into the game, a dangerous cross from Lloyd Owusu forced Sodje to turn the ball inches past his own post and the visitors came even closer moments later. Ricky Newman lofted the ball over the home defence and Dudley Campbell got clear of Spencer Prior, Prior appeared to be pulling him back but the Brentford striker managed to get a shot away, which beat Darryl Flahavan in the Southend goal but Sodje cleared it off the line.
The home side should have wrapped the game up before half time when a ball from Mark Bentley's ball set Gray free, in behind the Brentford defence, Nelson managed to block the shot but the ball dropped to Gower, who was denied by a great block from Turner. The danger was still not over and when Maher shot, Barrett tried to divert it past Nelson but turned it narrowly wide.
Brentford made a change at half time with Isaiah Rankin replacing Paul Brooker, meaning Campbell moved out to the right hand side but it was the home side who continued to dominate. O'Connor did well to deny Gray a chance to head home from six yards when Bentley crossed from the right, and from the resulting corner Southend had a goal disallowed when the ball was lashed home following a melee in the six yard box after Gray shot against a post.
The Bees made a further change just past the hour mark when Gayle replaced Newman but his first action was to concede a free kick on the right. Maher curled the ball in and Barrett stooped to head past Nelson and into the far corner.
The game seemed to be over but Brentford his back immediately with the goal of the game. O'Connor fed Campbell thirty yards from goal, he let the ball ruin past him before flicking it up and volleying it past Flahavan and into the far corner.
The goal rocked Southend momentarily and Brentford sensed there could be a way back into the game, Frampton headed a Tabb corner against the crossbar and Owusu had a penalty appeal turned down when he was bundled over near the dead ball line but Southend confirmed their victory with afourth goal late on.
Campbell was dispossessed on halfway and Gower broke forward, substitute Che Wilson overlapped and Gower slipped the ball through to him, he curled the ball past Nelson and into the far corner with his first touch.
The day got even worse for Brentford when Eddie Hutchinson was dismissed for two bookable offences in the space of a few minutes, meaning he will miss the game against Nottingham Forest.
Brentford: Nelson; O'Connor, Turner, Frampton, Tillen; Brooker (sub Rankin h/t), Newman (sub Gayle 62 mins), Hutchinson, Tabb; Owusu, Campbell (sub Mousinho 86 mins)
Subs (not used): Lewis, Bankole
Attendance: 10,046 (1,513 Bees fans)
Written by Chris Wickham