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Match Report


Posted Sat 07 Apr 07 at 18:08 PM


Brentford's season took a further turn for the worse as they lost 2-0 to fellow relegation battlers Cheltenham Town at Griffin Park. Scott Fitzgerald made two changes to the side that lost to Gillingham last Saturday. Lloyd Owusu replaced the injured Neil Shipperley in the front line, to make his first full start in twelve months, and Thomas Pinault replaced John Mousinho, who dropped to the bench. Brentford started brightly enough, playing with pace and purpose and Charlie Ide had the first chance of note of the game, seeing his goal-bound volley from twelve yards blocked by Shane Duff. At the other end, JJ Melligan saw his 20-yard free-kick blocked by the Bees' defensive wall. Jo Kuffour then nearly latched onto a long Pinault pass into the Cheltenham box, before Owusu saw his header easily saved from another Pinault pass. Moments later, the visitors were in front. Stuart Nelson did well to make a double save from Damien Spencer, but as the ball ricocheted in the area, Stephen Gillespie reacted quickest to head the ball over the line, via another deflection of Nelson. Two minutes later, Melligan had a great chance to make it two, breaking clear but seeing his shot saved by the legs of Nelson. Three minutes later Kayode Odejaye got the better of Garry Richards with a lightning turn of pace, but dragged his shot wide when well placed. At the other end, Michael Leary's clever back-heel played in Jo Kuffour, but his teasing cross eluded both Lloyd Owusu and the far post. Michael Townsend then curled a 20-yard shot just wide before Melligan hit a speculative long-range volley into the Brook Road stand. Pinault, who was pulling the strings in the Bees' midfield, then saw his long ranger easily saved by Shane Higgs in the Cheltenham goal, before the Frenchman's intelligent pass played in Jo Kuffour, who in turn couldn't quite put Owusu away, inside the visitors' box. Fitzgerald made the first substitution of the match on twenty minutes - Matt Heywood replacing Sam Tillen in what appeared to be a tactical switch, Heywood taking up his customary centre-back role, with Andy Frampton switching to his familiar left-back position. Moments later Frampton did well to block Melligan's driven effort, before Kuffour's mazy run at the other end finished with a shot that went just wide, without troubling Higgs. Kuffour then combined well with Joe Keith, whose cross landed perfectly onto the head of Owusu, who couldn't direct his header goalwards. On the stroke of half-time Higgs saved well under pressure from Charlie Ide, and in doing so injured himself sufficiently to have to permanently leave the field, and be replaced by substitute goalkeeper Scott Brown, who saw out the half comfortably. But Brentford could not have made a worse start to the second period, going two behind in unfortunate circumstances just after the re-start. Melligan lined up a shot from 25 yards that cannoned off Frampton, completely wrong-footing Nelson, bouncing and spinning into the far corner of the net with the Bees' custodian helpless. This knocked the stuffing out of the Bees, but they came close to a response in the 56th minute. Kuffour's bicycle-kick dropped to Garry Richards who poked the ball goalwards with power, only to be denied by Brown's brilliant one-handed save. From the resultant Keith corner Richards was again denied by Brown, who tipped his powerful header over the bar. From the next corner Pinault cleverly lobbed the ball towards goal, but with Brown scrambling back, the ball landed safely on the roof of the relieved keeper's net. On 62 minutes Kuffour saw his acrobatic effort fly over the bar, and five minutes later Fitzgerald made a double substitution, Paul Brooker replacing Richards who was limping heavily, and Scott Taylor coming on for Ide. This saw Frampton return to centre-back, with Brooker going wide right, Taylor wide left, and Keith dropping to left-back. Shortly afterwards Craig Armstrong did well to clear under pressure from Owusu, and from the resultant corner a clearing header dropped for Paul Brooker on the edge of the box; he volleyed wide of the target with his first touch of the game. Brooker came closer two minutes later, his long range cross cannoning down off the crossbar with Brown well beaten, Owusu unable to turn home the rebound, the ball bouncing too quickly for him to react. Melligan then shot wide following good work by Odejaye, and shortly afterwards Craig Reid replaced Gillespie in the Robins' frontline. The last action of the game saw David Bird shoot wide following a decent interchange of passing from Jeremy Gill and Melligan, and then a well timed tackle by Matt Heywood denied Reid the opportunity of a one-on-one with Nelson. The visitors comfortably held on through four minutes of injury time to seal the win and leave Brentford perilously close to the prospect of playing League Two football next season. Brentford: Nelson; O'Connor, Richards (Brooker), Frampton, Tillen (Heywood 20); Ide (Taylor 68), Pinault, Keith; Owusu, Kuffour Subs (not used): Abbey, Mousinho Bookings: None Cheltenham Town: Higgs (Brown 45), Gill, Duff, Finnigan, Spencer, Bird, Townsend, Odejayi, Armstrong, Melligan (Caines 84), Gillespie (Reid 75) Subs (not used): Lowe, Connor Bookings: None Attendance: 4831 Written by Matt Davis

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