Last updated : 24 January 2002 By Paul Fitzsimons

If there is one thing that I've learned supporting Brentford over all these years is that the only thing that is sure is that nothing's for sure but even I was astonished by last night's team selection by manager Steve Coppell.Out went captain Paul Evans,Gavin Mahon and Lloyd Owusu and in came Eddie Hutchinson,Steve Sidwell and Mark McCammon amist rumours of a falling out between the players and the management.The majority of the travelling faithful must have wondered what the hell was going on and unfortunately the players shared this attitude and they,along with the Northampton players,conspired to produce a masterclass of how not to play football in the first half.

It was absolutely abysmal fair throughout both sets of players produced error after error and employed tactics that I can only liken to "kick and rush".In fact it was so bad that it was funny.Now you can forgive 5 year old children who produce this sort of football in the school playgrounds for they know no better and play the game for the sheer love of it but when you see 22 paid professional footballers produce this sort of nonsensical rubbish you just begin to wonder if it is worth all the hassle of paying good money to see this "standard" of football.

The chances,such as they were,were very few and far between.Gottskalksson flapped at a Northampton corner midway through the first half but just managed to keep the ball from crossing the line and he was nearly deceived late on in the half when he dived too early at a scuffed Sam Parkin effort.Fortunately he recovered just in time and managed to pull off the save.

Brentford's best,and dare I say it only,chance came right on the stroke of half time when the Bees produced a free flowing counter attack move.The ball fell to Stephen Hunt on the edge of the area and his curling effort clipped the top of the bar and went over.

Mercifully the referee didn't prolong the agony anymore than he had to and he blew his whistle right on the 45 minute mark to send the Bees and the Cobblers in level at half time.

The second half carried on as the first on had left off with the two inept sides making mistake after seemingly endless mistake.The ridiculous thing was that if Brentford could have even raised their game by 0.001% then they would have beaten Northampton out of site.

I don't know if a lightbulb appeared above Steve Coppell's head 20 minutes from time but at this point he seemed to realise that the game was there for the taking.He decided to take off the completely ineffective(and I'm really restraining myself there) Mark McCammon and Steve Sidwell,who struggled to make an impression in centre midfield, and replaced them with Lloyd Owusu and Gavin Mahon.

The transformation was instant as Brentford suddenly developed an attacking option at long last.Suddenly Brentford looked like as though they actually wanted to win the game and put some pressure on the Northampton goal.Burgess hit the side netting with an effort on 75 minutes and Owusu was causing the Northampton team problems with his pace and movement.

Then on 82 minutes came the moment which would surely see us on to victory....or so you would have thought.Veteran Marco Gabbiadini,who had already been booked in the first half,took a blatant dive in the Brentford penalty area.The referee wasn't fooled by this gamesmanship and promptly gave Gabbiadini his second yellow card of the evening.The forward left the field protesting his innocence,how the man could have the nerve is beyond me!!!!

So 11 v 10 again for the Bees.Surely there would be no repeat of the Port Vale result would they?????Ah but this is Brentford we are talking about here and 4 minutes from time came the unthinkable.A long ball over the top found sub Eddie Asamoah.Gottskalksson started to come and then realised he wasn't going to make the ball so started to peddle back towards his goal.Asamoah cleverly realised that the Brentford keeper was caught in no mans land and lobbed the ball towards the goal.Envitably the ball,despite Gottskalksson's attempt to recover his mistake,sailed into the back of the net.It was a truly sickening blow for the Bees.

Brentford tried to recover and had the ball in the back of the net through Owusu but this was rightly ruled out for offside and despite the ref trying his very best to help us out,by playing over 4 minutes of injury time when probably 2 would have been nearer the mark,he realised we wouldn't score this night and blew his final whistle.

It's very hard to know what to write to sum this one up.Needless to say that there are some Brentford players out there who should take a very long,hard look at themselves and wonder if they have what it takes to be a professional football player.Collectively they conspired to serve up one of the most appauling and pathetic displays I have ever had the misforture of seeing from a Brentford side.If this is a measure of things to come next season then we are in for a very bleak and depressing time indeed.I'm only thankful that we have enough points to avoid relegation because if we look as though we couldn't beat a bunch of park footballers at the moment.

A complete waste of time from a bunch of no-hopers.


Olafur Gottskalksson 4
Michael Dobson 4
Ijah Anderson 7*
Darren Powell 5
Ivar Ingimarsson 5
Stephen Hunt 5
Steve Sidwell 5
Eddie Hutchinson 4
Kevin O'Connor 5
Ben Burgess 5
Mark McCammon 4

Gavin Mahon(for Hutchinson 68 mins) 5
Lloyd Owusu(for McCammon 68 mins) 6
Jay Tabb n/a
Paul Smith n/a
David Theobald n/a