Oldham Athletic 3-2 Brentford

Last updated : 27 February 2002 By Chris Wickham

Brentford were forced into a change before the game began when Michael Dobson was injured in the warm up. This forced a reshuffle for The Bees with Gavin Mahon at right back and Steve Hunt in right midfield. Paul Gibbs returned after injury to play on the left side of midfield, while Steven Sidwell moved into the centre.

This reshuffle affected the Brentford defence and it was breached twice early on. Allan Smart should really have broken the deadlock from one of these chances but failed to get a decent effort to trouble Paul Smith.

Brentford had a legitimate shout for a penalty early on when a free kick looked to be heading towards Darren Powell who was impeded before he could get his head to the ball. The referee deemed the challenge to be fair and let play continue.

Oldham were awarded a penalty just past the quarter-hour mark when David Eyres was fouled in the box. Carlo Corazzin’s penalty was low to Smith’s right but the keeper diving full stretch turned it past the post for a corner. At the other end the home defence were having trouble dealing with the lively Lloyd Owusu and there were numerous scares in the Athletic defence.

Brentford took the lead on the half hour. Ben Burgess found space twenty-five yards from goal, ran on past his marker to slot past Gary Kelly from the edge of the area. Brentford looked likely to hold their lead until the interval before a dubious decision gave them another penalty. Ivar Ingimarsson beat Smart to a header and was adjudged to have fouled his man. This time Eyres stepped up and blasted high past Smith. This left the half time score at one all.

Brentford thought they had taken the lead in the 51st minute as Owusu battled with a defender, rounded the keeper and stabbed home but this time there was deemed to be an infringement by the speedy striker.

Ten minutes later Oldham took the lead. Smart volleying home at the far post after Ingimarsson, Burgess and Ijah Anderson contrived to give the ball away needlessly in midfield. Seconds later Brentford should have been back on terms. A mix up in the home defence gave Owusu time and space eight yards from goal but the shot was rushed and sailed harmlessly wide.

Martin Rowlands was introduced for the tiring Gibbs on 67 minutes but a minute later Brentford were 3-1 behind. Paul Smith came out to collect a ball and had it kicked from his grasp by Smart who placed the ball into an empty net for his second goal of the night.

Brentford pushed forward in an attempt to get back into the game but had their only reward with three minutes remaining. Rowlands excellent through ball found Burgess free of his marker and he placed the ball past Kelly to set up an interesting final passage of play.

Brentford were unable to equalise, thwarted by the defence and the linesman, who seemed to have a nervous twitch, as he couldn’t go two minutes without putting his flag in the air!

This defeat brought a six game unbeaten run to an end but more worryingly made in four months, and twelve games, without an away victory. Brentford need to avert this run soon before all hope of a top two placing has gone. Many teams will go to Boundary Park and lose, Oldham are a good team with a fearsome attack and are especially hard to defeat when the man in black is handing them goals on a plate. Brentford battled well and were unlucky to lose and if they continue to play with passion and commitment there is a definite chance of automatic promotion.

Brentford: P. Smith, Mahon, Anderson, Ingimarsson, Powell, Hunt, Evans, Sidwell, Gibbs (Rowlands), Burgess, Owusu

Chris Wickham