Last updated : 24 February 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Brentford won their first League game of 2003 after Rowan Vine's goal settled a poor match at play off hopefuls Luton Town.

Vine's sweetly struck volley on 50 minutes gave Brentford their first victory since a 1-0 FA Cup success over First Division Derby on January 4.

The Bees have failed to pick up maximum points in their last eight matches, but just about shaded a game in which Luton sorely missed suspended top scorer Steve Howard.

But the home side should have led before the interval with on-loan Wimbledon defender Chris Willmott and shot-shy striker Dean Crowe both missing good chances. Willmott headed over from five yards after a Kevin Nicholls corner and Crowe, without a goal in 21 games, inexplicably passed the ball out of play trying to find strike partner Tony Thorpe after Paul Smith's dreadful goal kick had gifted him a clear run on goal.

The visitors also missed two first half chances with the unmarked Kevin O'Connor volleying straight at Luton keeper Carl Emberson from six yards. Emberson then charged off his line to block Mark McCammon's shot on the stroke of half time and Willmott brilliantly blocked Vine's follow up efforts.

Home striker Thorpe side-stepped a challenge before shooting wide from ten yards on 49 minutes and Vine struck his match winning goal seconds later. The Bees forward latched onto a long ball before sending a half-volley whistling past Emberson from 20 yards.

Vine: Super Strike

Substitute Eddie Hutchinson and McCammon both went close to extending Brentford's lead.

Luton managed few threatening attacks after Vine's goal and even threw centre back Chris Coyne up front for the last five minutes. But Paul Hughes' diving header over the bar was the nearest Luton came to an equaliser.

Brentford Manager Wally Downes said: "It was a great goal. He does it every week in training and I just hope he'll do it more now."

Picture courtesy of BRENTFORDFC.