Last updated : 18 February 2002 By Paul Fitzsimons
Coming into the game Brentford were looking to maintain their position in the play-off pack whilst for Cardiff they desperately needed a victory in order to make the breakthrough into those positions.The Bees kept the same side that had grinded out a result against Bournemouth the previous Saturday whilst Cardiff were forced into a significant change with the dangerous Robert Earnshaw being forced out through injury to be replaced by ex Brentford player Leo Forture-West.

It was Cardiff who started the game the brightest early on as led by Republic of Ireland international Graham Kavanagh in the heart of midfield they took the game by the scruff of the neck.Their efforts were rewarded on the 18 minute mark when a whipped in cross from Gabbidon was met by a bullet like header at the near post from Jason Bowen which zipped past the diving Paul Smith into the back of the net to spark joyous celebrations amongst the 2,000 fans who had made the trip from South Wales.

The Bluebirds had several opportunities to extend the lead during the half as Simpkins and Kavanagh both failed to convert chances when well placed.

The Bees were struggling to get into the game at this point and the best that they could muster was a Paul Evans volley that went just over the bar on the 29th minute mark.

Half time came with Cardiff one up.Manager Steve Coppell had been sizing up what had happened in that first period and came up with the conclusion that Brentford needed to stop the Cardiff midfield from dominating proceedings.The plan to do this was to push Gavin Mahon back into the centre of defence and to tuck Stephen Hunt in from the flank thus using a 5-3-2 formation.It was to work
a treat.

However the signs were that Cardiff were to carry on as they had done as on 46 minutes Leo Fortune-West missed a great chance when he fired over the bar after good work from Kavanagh.It was to prove very costly for the Bluebirds as
Brentford clawed their way back into the game with some enterprising football.They were rewarded on the 54 minute mark when an Ijah Anderson flick on was pounced on by Stephen Hunt who fired the ball past Alexander in the Cardiff goal.

This was exactly the lift that the Griffin Park faithful needed as they sensed that the game was there for the taking.The team sensed this too and set about Cardiff's defense with gusto.After putting substantial pressure on the visitors goal Brentford got their reward on 78 minutes when from a corner kick the ball fell to Burgess,who looked in an offside position,and the Irishman buried the ball in the back of the net.

Brentford had to survive a nervy closing period after that but they did so to claim 3 vital points and in doing so send the team from South Wales down the M4 with nothing.

This was a vital win for Brentford as it showed they have rediscovered their battling qualities and in doing so defeating a fellow play-off contender.This could prove very crucial come the end of the season.


Paul Smith 7
Michael Dobson 6
Ijah Anderson 6
Darren Powell 7
Ivar Ingimarsson 7
Gavin Mahon 7
Paul Evans 7
Stephen Hunt 7
Steve Sidwell 7
Ben Burgess 7
Lloyd Owusu 8 *