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Match Report


Posted Mon 28 Dec 09 at 16:54 PM


Brentford picked up their second successive away win as they overcame the dismissal of Charlie MacDonald to beat Gillingham 1-0.

The Bees' top scorer was sent off for a second bookable offence midway through the second half with the visitors already in the lead.

Ben Strevens scored the crucial goal late in a first half that Gillingham had the better of but until the dismissal of MacDonald The Bees were on top.

They were helped by the red card awarded by Gillingham's Josh Gowling for a pair of clumsy challenges but they also improved after a slow start.

With it reduced to ten-a-side the home side were spurred on but they could not find a way to break through the superbly organised Brentford defence.

Although The Bees defended well they were indebted to goalkeeper Lewis Price for some fine early saves.

The home side had much the better of the first half hour - Leon Legge made an early block to deny John Nutter but Price was the Brentford's key man.

He made a superb save from Fabian Brandy after the on-loan striker skipped past a couple of challenges and denied the same man from eight yards after a fine lay off by Dennis Oli.

Brentford generally kept Gillingham's top scorer Simeon Jackson quiet, his first sight of goal came when he was slipped through by Oli but he was forced wide by Pim Balkestein and appeared in two minds whether to cross or shoot and in the end fired across the face of goal.

Gowling had a shot blocked by Balkestein, Curtis Weston volleyed over and Barry Fuller curled a free kick wide but after a slight system alteration Brentford began to get a grip on the game.

The crucial moment came three minutes before the break when Myles Weston isolated himself on Fuller and skipped past him, his low cross found MacDonald who turned well, the first shot was blocked but Strevens was lurking and nodded the ball over the line, although Gills' keeper Alan Julian looked as though he could have stopped it.

Strevens should have doubled the lead before half time when he volleyed a curling David Hunt free kick over the bar from close range and he had a shot blocked soon after before Weston shot wide from distance.

Nutter sliced an effort wide before half time but after the break Brentford continued to hold the upper hand.

Substitute Sam Saunders could have doubled the lead when he was played in by Strevens but the shot was blocked.

However, the game swung Brentford's way five minutes after the re-start when Gowling, who had been booked for a late tackle on Weston just before the break, clattered into MacDonald and was given his marching orders.

Saunders brought a fine low save out of Julian but referee Fred Graham evened the numbers when MacDonald, who had been harshly booked for diving in the first half when he appeared to slip in the penalty area and did not appeal, was shown a second yellow for a foul on Tom Wynter.

The dismissal revived Gillingham - Chris Palmer had an effort blocked and then shot over from range before Danny Foster cleared two yards from his line after the hosts' Weston nipped on to a long ball and lofted an effort over Price.

Palmer and Jackson fired efforts off target and in truth Gillingham were not able to create an effort of note.

The main action was coming in a series of flashpoints involving Gillingham captain Fuller and Brentford's Weston, which ended in both of them picking up a yellow card from Mr Graham.

Fuller fired a shot over late on but Brentford took the Boxing Day points and continued their fine run.

Gillingham: Julian; Fuller, Bentley, Gowling, Palmer (sub McCammon 90 mins); Oli, Weston, Maher, Nutter (sub Wynter 54 mins); Jackson, Brandy

Subs (not used): Locke, Payne, Lewis, Rooney, Yussuff

Bookings: Gowling (45 mins), Weston (51 mins), Fuller (82 mins)

Sent Off: Gowling (50 mins) (second booking)

Brentford: Price; Foster, Legge (sub Bennett 74 mins), Balkestein, Wood; Bean, Hunt (sub Saunders h/t), O'Connor, Weston; MacDonald, Strevens (sub Murphy 90 mins)

Subs (not used): Moore, Osborne, Bostock, Cort

Bookings: MacDonald (22 mins), Balkestein (37 mins) (second of season), Wood (76 mins), Weston (82 mins)

Sent Off: MacDonald (65 mins) (second booking)

Attendance: 7,019

By Chris Wickham

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