Brentford 0 Wrexham 1

Last updated : 24 January 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Brentford slumped to a 1-0 home defeat against away day specialists Wrexham and could have been embarrassed by the score line after being out played for much of the match.

The fact the visitors failed to score a hatful is thanks to rooky keeper Alan Julian who stepped into first choice Paul Smith's shoes with a superb display.

Brentford manager Wally Downes revealed Julian only started because Smith is set to move to Premiership side Southampton.

Downes said: “It was a difficult decision to leave Smith out but we've agreed a fee with Southoampton of £500,000 and he is having a medical on Monday.

“If Paul had played today and got injured I think the chairman would have had a difficult conversation with me so I had to do the right thing for the club.

“Julian can be very proud of his performance and is a good goalkeeper.

“It's disappointing to lose. The bottom line is we created chances but missed them.

When you are only 10 yards out with no goalkeeper you should score. If you miss those kind of chances you don't win matches." Wrexham boss Denis Smith said: "Their keeper made some brilliant saves today. If that was their second choice I wished they had played their first." Julian thwarted Chris Armstrong three times and pulled off a flying save from Paul Edwards’ long range effort which was curling into the top corner.

Smith's men have now racked up eight wins on the road which are keeping them in the hunt for successive promotions despite recent slip ups at home.

Former Tottenham striker Armstrong enjoyed his return to London and to fitness bagging the only goal with a predatory diving header from a Chris Llewellyn cross.

A careless start almost saw Wrexham fall behind within three minutes.

Sloppy defending allowed Jay Tabb to race to the byline and cross for Jay Smith who had timed a late run into the box. With an empty goal from 10 yards the midfielder fluffed his chance wide.

For all the visitors dominance Brentford thought they might steal a late point but Steve Hunt's loud claims for an 82nd minute penalty were waved away by the referee.