Last updated : 28 January 2002 By Paul Fitzsimons
In response to recent displays Manager Steve Coppell once again rung the changeswith Mark McCammon, Kevin O'Connor, Eddie Hutchinson and goalkeeper Olafur Gottskalksson being dropped.Coming into the side was the returning Lloyd Owusu,Gavin Mahon and Paul Evans(all 3 returning to the line up after being rested against Northampton) and replacing Gottskalksson in goal was rookie Paul Smith,making his first start of the season.

Right from the offset it was very clear that this was a Brentford side which was not to be denied as from the opening kick off they completely dominated proceedings. Brighton's tactic of trying to stiffle things by playing 5 men in midfield did not pay off as time and time again the Bees breached it to create many chances. Stephen Hunt's run was unceremousingly ended by a defender's
challenge. Unfortunately the ref wasn't the same one as Tuesday night and so play continued on.

Fortunately the Bees were not to be denied and so on 22 minutes they took the lead.Brentford forced a series of corners.From the final one of these the ball was cleared to Stephen Hunt.He raced to the byline and whipped over the cross which was met by the head of Ivar Ingimarsson who headed the ball powerfully past on loan Simon Royce in the Seagulls goal to put the Bees one goal up.

The Bees kept pressing home their advantage and got their just reward for their
excellence 13 minutes later.Michael Dobson played the ball down the wing and raced on.Virgo reached the ball first but Dobson nipped the ball away from him and swept over a low cross which Ben Burgess prodded home past the despairing Royce.The away contingent of 2,000 fans were silenced as the Bees fans celebrated,their emotions a combination of delight and relief.

In the past Brentford would have been tempted to sit back on their 2 goal lead and let the visitors come out at them but this night was very different to the past.The Bees kept going for the jugular and were unlucky not to be awarded a
penalty just before half time when the ref missed a seemingly obvious handball.However the Bees were content to go in at half time two up.

The Bees started the second half as they had left off in the first not letting the Seagulls have any time to settle on the ball and winning those crunch 50/50 challenges.They had a couple of chances to extend the lead with Owusu heading
just wide at the near post on the 50 minutes and Sidwell having an effort going just wide of the right hand post.Then on 58 minute mark came the third killer goal and what a goal it was.Evans tenanciously won the ball in midfield and played it into Burgess.He controlled it on his thigh,swivelled and delivered a looping volley which went over Royce and sailed into the back of the net. Another wonderful goal from the on loan striker from Blackburn Rovers

Any lingering hopes which the Seagulls had of salvaging something from this game were ended and it was just a case of damage limitation at this stage,so much so in fact that at times star striker Bobby Zamora was forced back into defensive duties.However they failed to stop the scoring as 4 minutes later the Bees made it four.The ball was played down the left hand side. Ijah Anderson got to the ball first and swept over a low cross which was dummied by Burgess to leave the oncoming Steve Sidwell the task of sweeping the ball into the net,which he did with great aplomb.

The job was done and the Bees were content to take their foot off the pedal at this stage.Youngster Jay Tabb was introduced into the action late on for the first time this season to rest man of the match Burgess.The Bees failed to add to the score and the ref blew his final whistle to end the Seagulls misery and put the Bees back into the playoff picture.

In the Northampton report I described Brentford as a team of no-hopers.Well they certainly rammed those words down my throat didn't they??They looked everything that they hadn't a couple of days previously and on this performance they would beat every single team in this division hands down.The trick for them is to produce this sort of form week in,week out.If they could do that they wouldn't be in this division for very long.It's time for them to show which team they are......the team that wasted everybody's time at Northampton or the team which was wonderful to watch,as they were this night.


Paul Smith 7
Michael Dobson 9
Ijah Anderson 8
Darren Powell 8
Ivar Ingimarsson 8
Stephen Hunt 8
Paul Evans(c) 8
Gavin Mahon 8
Steve Sidwell 8
Lloyd Owusu 9
Ben Burgess 9*

Jay Tabb(for Burgess 81 mins) 7
Olafur Gottskalksson n/a
Mark McCammon n/a
Eddie Hutchinson n/a
Kevin O'Connor n/a