Crewe Alexandra maintained their push for automatic promotion with a hard fought 2-1 victory over ten man Brentford at Griffin Park.
The game got off to a lively start and after 11 minutes the home side took the lead when an Ibrahima Sonko's long throw caught the visitors defence asleep and Stephen Hunt smashed an unstoppable left-foot strike past keeper Clayton Ince.
(Stephen Hunt - Spectactular strike put the Bees in front).
After 21 minutes home midfielder Martin Rowlands was yellow carded for a foul on Ben Rix who was subsequently carried off on a stretcher.
On the half-hour mark Kevin O'Connor cut in from the right and saw his left-foot effort from the edge of the box plucked out of the air by Ince.
At the other end the lively Steve Jones outpaced the Bees' defence and fired in a left-foot effort that flew across the face of the goal and wide of the right hand post.
Two minutes before the break Rowlands was sent off for his second bookable offence.
(Martin Rowlands - 'let the team down' according to Manager, Wally Downes).
The Cheshire side equalised seven minutes after the break when Jones' pace took him into the box and he laid the ball off to Lunt who coolly fired home from 12 yards.
On the hour mark Paul Smith made another fine save when he turned aside a David Vaughan effort from 20 yards.
The visitors took the lead after 64 minutes when home defender Scott Marshall was adjudged to have fouled Lunt in the box, who picked himself up and coolly slotted home the spot kick.
Two minutes later at the other end a Michael Dobson corner found O'Connor in the six yard box but his glancing header hit the upright and bounced away.
On 72 minutes the home side hit the woodwork again when a Rowan Vine strike from the edge of the box hit the base of the post and rebounded to safety.
At this point the home side were piling on the pressure in search of an equaliser, and indeed the home crowd thought the Bees should have had a penalty of their own late on, but the referee Mr. Williamson gave a free-kick just on the edge of the area, much to the disbelief of the home side and support alike.
Thereafter the home side pressed but to no avail, and the points went North as the Railwaymen's defence held firm.
So an important three points keeps Crewe Alexandra in second place and on course for a return to Nationwide Division One, but for Brentford, a haul of only two points from the four league games played in 2003, gives cause for concern.
Pictures courtesy of BRENTFORDFC.