Port Vale 0 Brentford 1

Last updated : 15 January 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Once a fortress, Vale Park was infiltrated for the sixth time this season by visitors Brentford.

Both sides found it hard to gain a foothold in the game as a scrappy start saw chances wasted at both ends.

The Bees should have taken an early lead after four minutes when Isaiah Rankin squeezed a shot across the face of goal, but the arriving Ben May failed to add a touch.

Vale replied quickly and were unlucky when George Abbey's 20-yard free-kick caught Stuart Nelson napping. Fortunately for the goalkeeper, it hit the foot of his left post.

May missed from close range again after 19 minutes when Rankin provided him with the perfect chance but the visitors didn't have to wait much longer for an opening.

Christian Hargreaves' headed ball into the centre of the box was brought down well by Ed Hutchinson and coolly placed into Jonathan Brain's net after 29 minutes.

The Valiants upped the tempo and almost grabbed an equaliser soon after the break. Billy Paynter surged forward down the right and supplied the waiting Jeff Smith but the winger's shot fell to a cruel bobble.

Rankin had a chance of his own in the 55th minute but his powerful 30-yard effort crashed off the top of the crossbar.

The addition of Nathan Lowndes and Christopher Birchall gave Vale more attacking options but an inspired performance by Nelson denied any chance of a goal.