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Match Report


Posted Wed 09 Mar 11 at 00:40 AM


A Karleigh Osborne own goal condemned Brentford to a home defeat against League One leaders Brighton and Hove Albion.

The visitors, who look set for promotion, seemed to have wasted their best chance when Richard Lee saved an Ashley Barnes penalty.

But they got the winner with 16 minutes to go to take the points back to the south coast.

Brighton started brightly, looking every inch the League One champions elect.

Leon Legge made an important interception to prevent Glenn Murray reaching a ball forward and the defender blocked from Matt Sparrow soon after.

It took a fine save from Richard Lee low to his right to deny Murray soon after but after being second best for the first ten minutes, Brentford soon regained their poise and should probably have been ahead by the midway point of the first half.

Casper Ankergren got down well to save from Sam Saunders and when the play-maker combined with Gary Alexander and Charlie MacDonald soon after to create a chance for Adam Reed soon after, the midfield player making his full début should have done better than miss-hit an effort from eight yards.

The Bees had appeals for a penalty when Legge appeared to be pushed when attempting to meet a corner and Ankergren pushed away a fierce Saunders drive soon after as the home side pushed for the opener.

Saunders was the main making it all happen for the hosts - nominally on the left of a diamond midfield he was running the game and popping up all over the pitch to create.

After a mazy run by the wide man, Ankergren saved well again and when Alexander fired in the re-bound referee Simon Hooper waved away appeals that Inigo Calderon had stopped it with his hand.

Brighton were under pressure but by no means out of the game.

Murray lifted an effort wide from 20 yards and then forced Lee into a flying save from a fierce shot, the striker then lifted the re-bound over the bar.

Brentford were forced to withdraw MacDonald and replace him with Robbie Simpson when the striker failed to recover from a cynical Radostin Kishishev challenge that caught him high and late.

And with the man advantage for a few minutes before the change, Brighton started to gain the upper hand.

Lee saved a curling Bridcutt effort but as half time approached the chances began to dry up.

Elliott Bennett fired a late free kick into the defensive wall but the half ended scoreless, albeit not light on entertainment.

Barnes dribbled an effort wide early in the seconds half before the visitors were presented with a golden opportunity to open the scoring.

Osborne got tight to Murray and the striker went down suspiciously easily as he tried to reach a Barnes lay-off.

Mr Hooper pointed to penalty spot and after a lengthy delay, Barnes stepped up, he fired low to Lee's left but the Brentford stopper came out on top, diving full length to palm it away - Calderon fired the re-bound over.

Brighton's chance may have gone but they were dominating the opening stages of the second half and pushing Brentford back.

Barnes shot over for The Seagulls but before long The Bees recovered - the visitors seemed a little deflated by the penalty miss and the game was being played more in their half.

Ankergren got down well to keep out a drilled Simpson cross-cum-shot, with Alexander unable to force in the loose ball.

There were fewer chances as the game wore on, it developed into more of a midfield battle and although Brentford were competitive, Brighton were more incisive.

Bennett missed a golden chance when Matt Sparrow robbed Toumani Diagouraga and fed him in the inside right channel, Lee came rushing out and the wide man lifted the ball over the bar when he really should have scored.

But moments later the visitors were ahead - Bridcutt crossed from the left and Osborne, under severe - probably illegal - pressure from substitute Chris Wood, diverted the ball past Lee and into the corner for what proved to be the winning goal.

There was a lengthy delay soon after when Marcos Painter was stretchered off with a serious looking injury after a collision with Nathan Byrne.

That took the sting out of the game for a few moments but Brentford finished the stronger.

They thought they had won a penalty when Mr Hooper awarded a free kick for handball against Bennett inches outside the box and Ankergren saved well from Saunders' curling effort.

Lewis Grabban was just unable to fight his way through a crowd of bodies to convert a Craig Woodman cross, Ankergren saved from an Alexander header and then from a miss-hit Saunders volley.

Osborne had a chance to salvage it in the dying seconds but lashed over from ten yards.

But try as they might Brentford couldn't find a way through and Brighton left with the points.

Brentford: Lee; Neilson, Legge, Osborne, Woodman; Byrne (sub Grabban 88 mins), Reed (sub Weston 80 mins), Diagouraga, Saunders; MacDonald (sub Simpson 30 mins), Alexander

Subs (not used): Moore, Balkestein, O'Connor, Bean

Bookings: Legge (41 mins) (sixth of season), Reed (74 mins) (second of season)

Brighton and Hove Albion: Ankergren; Calderon, Elphick, Greer, Painter (sub Taricco 80 mins); Kishishev; Bennett (sub Dicker 90 mins), Sparrow, Bridcutt; Barnes (sub Wood 70 mins), Murray

Subs (not used): Brezovan, Sandaza, Noone, Dunk

Bookings: Bridcutt (44 mins), Elphick (68 mins), Sparrow (90 mins)

Attendance: 5,694 (1,737 away fans)

By Chris Wickham

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