Brentford Vs Reading 20/4/02

Last updated : 22 April 2002 By Chris Wickham
That is before Jamie Cureton latched onto a Phil Parkinson flick on and knocked the ball over the advancing Paul Smith to equalise for Reading and give them the point they needed for promotion.

With 13 minutes of the game left Brentford thought they had done enough to hold on after Martin Rowlands had given them a 51st minute lead. Lloyd Owusu had done the hard work, skipping past his man on the left touchline before advancing towards goal, his cutback found Rowlands 8 yards out and he dispatched the ball past Phil Whitehead to spark a period of delirium at Griffin Park.

Before that moment the game had been a very scrappy affair with neither team wanting to make a vital mistake that could cost them their season and with Reading knowing a point was enough it was no surprise that the game was close.

Brentford lined up with the same eleven that had started at Loftus Road the previous week, with Ben Burgess, Martin Rowlands and Darren Powell all shaking off suspected knocks, however Mark McCammon, who had been influential in the second half of the derby, was unable to be in the squad because of an ankle injury.

It was Brentford who forced the first moment of excitement when Whitehead had to be very alert to deny Burgess heading home a cross from the left by Ijah Anderson. At the other end Martin Butler and Nicky Forster were causing problems for the Bees defence and Butler found space at a corner but rushed his shot and it sailed wide.

Brentford also had efforts through Rowlands and Stephen Hunts with long-range shots but the clear-cut efforts were restricted to Burgess’ header and a Lloyd Owusu cross-shot, which went wide of the far post.

In the second half Brentford attacked from the start and it was no surprise when Rowlands put them ahead, however from then on Reading began to lay siege to the home goal.

Despite the pressure and possession from the visitors Brentford looked as if the were going to hold on, Ivar Ingimarsson and Powell appeared to have Forster and Butler under control and it was only when Cureton came on that Reading looked a real threat. The little forward had Reading’s only real chance of the day and made Brentford pay with the equaliser.

Brentford surged forward looking for the winner to seal the promotion that 46 games effort had deserved and finished with Ingimarsson playing as an emergency attacker. They also brought Mark Williams on for Hunt in an attempt to get the goal they needed

Three times they nearly found the breakthrough, firstly Owusu turned on the 18-yard box but his snap shot was gathered by Whitehead, Ingimarsson fired over after a free-kick hadn’t been cleared and Paul Evans had a free-kick headed away when it looked to be heading in.

Brentford couldn’t manage the goal they needed and had to settle for third place in the Second Division, a magnificent effort. They will now face Huddersfield Town over two legs for a place in the Second Division Play Off Final at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

Brentford still stand 3 games from the First Division and will need all the support they can get as they look to extend their season still further. The players’ effort could not be faulted and a similar display will hopefully see success in 3 games time.

Brentford: Smith, Dobson, Anderson, Ingimarsson, Powell, Rowlands, Evans, Sidwell, Hunt (Williams), Owusu, Burgess.

Chris Wickham