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Match Report


Posted Tue 13 Apr 10 at 23:09 PM


A patched-up Brentford team held together with sticky plasters and sheer grit secured a 2-2 draw against Southend United.

The Bees lead twice - through Charlie MacDonald and Carl Cort - only to be pegged back on both occasions by a pair of Francis Laurent goals, but that only told half the story.

The visitors lost stand-in captain Marcus Bean to injury in the first half and then had to withdraw Karleigh Osborne at half time.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny picked up an injury as Laurent scored Southend's second equaliser and had to be replaced by Nikki Bull with more than a quarter of the game remaining.

And when Pim Balkestein picked up a groin injury he was patched up and sent back out to play just in front of a defence that by then featured David Hunt at right back and Danny Foster in the centre of defence.

Despite all this it was Brentford who ended stronger and could have won it.

The visitors also started brightly and for the first 25 minutes were a class above Southend - they took the lead during their dominant spell and could have been home and dry.

Lewis Grabban had the first sight of goal when he raced onto a MacDonald pass but his lofted effort landed on top of Steve Mildenhall's net.

MacDonald had a header half blocked and on a rare early attack Scott Vernon headed across the face of goal for the home side.

The goal Brentford had been threatening came when Cort picked up the ball in the centre of the field and slipped a pass through - MacDonald raced clear and clinically slotted it past Mildenhall.

Southend came back into it after falling behind and started to impose themselves on the game, without creating too many clear cut chances.

Vernon headed inches wide, Johnny Herd had a shot blocked and after a nice move Laurent blasted over from the edge of the box.

Osborne made an important clearance from underneath his own bar from a Vernon flick and Alan McCormack blasted over when a corner was half cleared.

The Bees went to the break with the lead and without Szczesny making a save of note but the second period was a different story.

Southend started very brightly and an equaliser looked only a matter of time.

Balkestein cleared a Vernon shot off the line, McCormack fired over and Szczesny saved a flicked Laurent header - but from the resulting clearance Southend were level.

Szczesny threw it out to Myles Weston on the left but the wide man went into the path of Simon Francis, who won the ball back and exchanged passed with Anthony Grant before working the ball to Laurent - his shot flicked off Balkestein and flew past Szczesny and into the net.

Southend continued to come forward - Szczesny smothered when Laurent miss-controlled a Franck Moussa pass and then saved a Vernon header.

Moussa blazed over after good work by Francis and McCormack miss-hit a volley as Southend pressed.

But it was Brentford who scored next - Grabban robbed Grant in the centre of the field and picked out Cort in the inside left position with a fine pass, the striker opened his body up and placed the ball past Mildenhall and into the far corner.

Southend were probably unfortunate to be behind, and within 30 seconds they weren't.

From the kick off, the ball was worked to Moussa, who burst into the box, the ball squirmed across and Laurent slid in to level it up again.

He caught Szczesny in the process and the Polish keeper had to be replaced by Bull, who was forced into a save from a curling Francis free kick soon after.

Leon Legge made an important interception from a Laurent cross and Jean-Yves M'voto headed wide while at the other end Mildenhall made a fine save high to his left to keep out a strong Weston shot.

Grant shot over before Bull made a fine save at point blank range from Jean-Fran├žois Christophe.

The Bees could have won it in the dying seconds when Grabban broke free with only Mildenhall to beat, but he went a little wide and shot early, allowing the keeper to make a low save.

It proved to be the last action as the whistle was blown seconds later to bring the all-action game to a close.

Southend United: Mildenhall; Francis, M'voto, Baldwin, Herd; Grant, McCormack, Christophe, Moussa; Vernon, Laurent

Subs (not used): Malone, Paterson, Sankofa, Jack, O'Keefe, Crawford

Bookings: McCormack (36 mins)

Brentford: Szczesny (sub Bull 67 mins) ; Osborne (sub Foster h/t), Legge, Balkestein, Wood; Grabban, Bean (sub Hunt 42 mins), Diagouraga, Weston; MacDonald, Cort

Subs (not used): Blake, Saunders, Ainsworth, Strevens

Bookings: Legge (72 mins) (fourth of season), Diagouraga (90 mins) (third of season)

Attendance: 6,838 (401 Bees fans)

By Chris Wickham

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