Last updated : 21 January 2002 By Paul Fitzsimons
Manager Steve Coppell was forced to start with the same starting line up that had lost so tamely against Port Vale the previous week.However Steve Sidwell returned to the bench after his suspension and youngster Jay Tabb was rewarded for a string of good performances in the youth and reserve teams with a place on the bench as well.

It seemed as though the Bees had failed to shake off the effects of their disappointing defeat the previous week as they struggled to make an impression during the first half.Wigan's midfield took the game by the scruff of the neck and dictated the pattern and tempo of the half with their neat,accurate passing and their movement.Their efforts might have been rewarded in the 24th minute when a long ball over the top caused confusion in the Bee's defence and Michael Dobson headed the ball past the wrong footed Olafur Gottskalksson.Fortunately though the ball trickled wide of the left hand post and behind for a corner.Wigan continued to press forward for the first goal and their dominance showed as they won a number of successive corners.Fortunately the Bees defence stood firm on each occasion and the danger passed.Their best opportunity of the half came in the 41st minute when the ball was played into the unmarked Andy Liddell but he could only fire high over the bar when well placed in the box.

During the half Brentford's efforts on goal were limited to a couple of efforts from Lloyd Owusu which were comfortably dealth with by Wigan's custodian John Filan.

The half time whistle blew with Brentford happy to be on level terms.It had been a lethargic performance from the Bees to this point which needed to be vastly improved upon in order for them to get anything out of this one and sure enough it was as Brentford roared back at their opponents.

In the 48th minute Gavin Mahon superbly won the ball with a tremendous tackle deep inside the Brentford half.He looked up and sent through a delightful ball into space on the left.The ball was gathered by Ben Burgess who used his physical presence to shake off two Wigan defenders.He sent over a cross which Paul Evans just failed to get a significant touch.The ball eventually fell to Stephen Hunt who fired over the bar.The Bees continued to press home their advantage and were desperately unlucky not to score a few minutes later when from an almighty scramble in the box the ball fell to Burgess whose strike was blocked on the line by a Wigan defender.The ball cannoned back to Hunt who once again blasted the ball over the bar,although there was more than a hint that the ball had been deflected by a Wigan player.

It looked as though it was just going to be one of those days where no matter how hard the Brentford team did there was absolutely no way that the ball would cross the Wigan goal line.Evans had 2 efforts go agonisingly past the post whilst Owusu,Burgess and Hunt all had efforts which went just off target.

It seemed as though the game was heading for a goalless draw when on 78 minutes Wigan delivered a sickening sucker punch.Lloyd Owusu had an effort on goal comfortably saved by John Filan.He picked himself up off the floor and sent over a booming goal kick which was met by Andy Liddell.He showed great composure to lob the oncoming Gottskalksson and the ball took one bounce and went into the back of the net to make the travelling fans go wild with delight.

This deflated both players and fans alike and try as they might the Bees couldn't find a way back into the game.So at around 4:55pm the referee blew his final whistle of the day to end the game and send the 3 points away to Lancashire.

It's very hard to criticise the team when they put in the sort of performance they did in the second half.Everyone out there did their level best but it only takes one opportunity to win a game and Wigan clinically took advantage of their opportunity.As for our play-off prospects they now look as bleak as the grey clouds which seem to constantly hang over Griffin Park these days.


Olafur Gottskalksson 6
Michael Dobson 6
Ijah Anderson 7
Darren Powell 7
Ivar Ingimarsson 6
Stephen Hunt 8*
Paul Evans 6
Gavin Mahon 7
Kevin O'Connor 6
Lloyd Owusu 7
Ben Burgess 6

Paul Smith n/a
Mark McCammon n/a
Steve Sidwell n/a
Jay Tabb n/a
David Theobald n/a