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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 03 Feb 15 at 05:04 AM

Good Friday became great Friday for Brentford for the second year in a row as they recorded their biggest ever win against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

On Good Friday 2014 Alan Judge scored the only goal as Brentford beat Preston North End to clinch promotion to the Sky Bet Championship.

One year on Judge scored one of the goals as Brentford beat Fulham 4-1 to stay right in the Championship promotion race.

Stuart Dallas had given The Bees a half time lead and the Northern Ireland international doubled his and Brentford’s tally in the second half.

Fulham got back in to the game thanks to a contentious penalty but Judge curled in a wonderful free kick before setting up Jota to make it 4-1 in the last minute.

The three second half goals were scored in front of more than 6,000 visiting Brentford fans who left the ground believing their team could make it back-to-back promotions.

The home side started the game at a frantic pace.

They seemed to have an extra player as they pressed all over the pitch and found space in attacking areas.

Wide players Alexander Kačaniklič and Seko Fofana were swapping sides to good effect while Ross McCormack dropped off the front slightly to dictate play.

The hosts should probably have been ahead inside the first 15 minutes.

Kačaniklič forced a fine save from David Button after twisting free in the inside left channel and the Brentford goalkeeper denied the same man soon after following a fortunate ricochet.

A Fofana shot was blocked before a loose Alex Pritchard pass was seized upon by Cauley Woodrow and James Tarkowski had to make a fine recovery tackle to prevent Kačaniklič scoring.

Pritchard shot wide at the other end but Fulham were on top.

Another Fofana shot was blocked before Woodrow, who set up that chance, shot over the bar.

It took Brentford around 20 minutes to get a foothold in the game.

Fulham’s energy levels dropped a fraction and there was space for Jota, Pritchard and Dallas to exploit.

With Moses Odubajo and Jake Bidwell joining in from full back The Bees had an attacking threat.

Marcus Bettinelli saved a low Dallas shot before Jota went on a weaving run and was fractions away from getting the return pass from Pritchard and finding himself in on goal.

The Bees had the initiative when they took the lead 24 minutes in but it was against the balance of play to that point.

A long pass from Jota was recycled on the left side by Pritchard, he fed Bidwell and the ball was worked on to Dallas, the Northern Ireland international let fly from 20 yards and his shot flew inside Bettinelli’s far post.

Pritchard almost doubled the lead moments later with a curling free kick that bent inches wide before smashing one well over later in the half.

Fulham regained their composure and the initiative as the half drew to a close, without really looking like scoring.

Kačaniklič curled a shot over the bar before Button saved a long-range effort from Woodrow.

Michael Turner headed a McCormack free kick over and Button saved from Ryan Tunnicliffe at the near post.

The nearest the hosts came to a first half leveller was when Toumani Diagouraga sold Pritchard short with a pass and McCormack released Fofana, the winger’s shot was deflected wide by Harlee Dean although it seemed to be heading off target anyway.

Brentford went in at the break with the lead but Fulham they would have been expecting a backlash from the hosts early in the second half.

It did not, however, arrive.

Bettinelli made an early second half save from Pritchard before Jota had a shot blocked.

The Spaniard then miss-hit an effort after nice interplay on the left but Andre Gray was unable to capitalise and turn it in.

Brentford turned their good second half start in to a second goal just before the hour mark as Dallas again took centre stage.

Jonathan Douglas started the move with a burst through the midfield before finding Gray, the striker fed the ball back to Dallas and he smashed it home from 25 yards.

The Bees went looking for the third goal that would kill the game off as Fulham wobbled.

They thought they should have had a penalty when Gray appeared to be tugged back by Nikolay Bodurov as he was set to head in a Dallas cross.

But Gray could only blame himself moments later when he shot over from six yards after Odubajo had crossed when freed by a delicious pass from Jota.

Tunnicliffe had a shot blocked for the hosts but they had offered nothing after the break before they were handed a way back in to the game.

James Husband burst in to the box and Diagouraga played the ball out for a corner on the slide, the Fulham man went down and referee Simon Hooper decided a foul had been committed.

The official awarded a penalty and McCormack converted to bring the hosts back in to it.

Fulham had their tails up and Matt Smith almost equalised when he got in behind but his lob bounced wide of the far post.

Kačaniklič fired a free kick over soon after and a Tunnicliffe shot was saved by Button.

But Brentford weathered the storm and went looking for the goal to really kill the game.

Button set up a chance for Judge with a 75 yard kick but the Irishman’s shot deflected inches wide.

Jota had a shot blocked and a low Odubajo effort was saved while at the other end a Sean Kavanagh shot was defended well.

Bettinelli denied Judge but was powerless in the last minute when he curled a free kick in off the angle of post and crossbar.

Smith was unable to turn in a cross from the impressive Husband before Jota showed him how it was done.

Judge delivered a low, hard cross and the Spaniard fired it first time in to the top of the net to put the icing on the cake.

The win leaves Brentford fifth before the late afternoon and evening games kick off and in the race for the Premier League with just six games to go.

Fulham: Bettinelli; Grimmer (sub Hoogland h/t), Bodurov, Turner, Husband; Kačaniklič (sub Kavanagh 79 mins), Guthrie, Tunnicliffe, Fofana; McCormack, Woodrow (sub Smith 62 mins)

Subs (not used): Király, Stafylidis, Rodallega, Burn

Brentford: Button; Odubajo, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Douglas, Diagouraga; Jota, Pritchard (sub Judge 60 mins), Dallas (sub Smith 82 mins); Gray (sub Long 73 mins)

Subs (not used): Bonham, Craig, McCormack, Toral

Bookings: Odubajo (51 mins) (fourth of season), Judge (85 mins) (eighth of season), Diagouraga (90 mins) (seventh of season)

Attendance: 23,271 (6,151 Bees fans)

By Chris Wickham

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