Brentford 3 Rushden & Diamonds 2

On a very windy afternoon in West London, the Diamonds slipped to defeat after their hosts took advantage of the wind-assistance to build a 3-0 lead that the Diamonds could not claw back despite goals from substitutes Andy Burgess and Onandi Lowe.

Kick Off was delayed and the Diamonds warm-up truncated as they were late arriving due to traffic problems.

Match report by Chris Barritt

A storming comeback by Diamonds ended in vain as struggling Brentford held on to take three precious points at Griffin Park.

Brentford scored three goals in ten first half minutes before Andy Burgess and Onandi Lowe grabbed two late goals to give the home fans a nervous last few minutes.

Manager Barry Hunter made two changes from the side that beat Notts County in midweek. Richie Hanlon came into midfield for Paul Hall while Paul Kitson replaced  Lowe up front.

Brentford were under new management and came into the game without a victory in 8 games and just one win from their last 19 matches. Martin Allen – a former playing colleague of Hunter at Reading – left Barnet in midweek to take up the helm at Griffin Park.

On a blustery afternoon in West London, Brentford made a bright start and Leo Roget – back at his old club – had to be alert after 4 minutes to block the on rushing Jay Tabb. Ten minutes later, a long throw from Michael Dobson came back out to the defender and he drilled the ball across the face of the goal but nobody was able to get a touch.

However, Diamonds were rocked back on their heels when they conceded two goals in a minute midway through the half. Stephen Hunt provided a 25th minute cross which was cleared only as far as Tabb and the diminutive midfielder shot low past Billy Turley.

Worst was to follow moments later. Tabb fed Matt Harrold on the edge of the penalty area and when the shot came in, Turley could only palm the ball into the path of Hunt who tucked the ball home from close range.

Diamonds first real effort of note came in the 29th minute through a long range shot from Rodney Jack while a minute later Hanlon’s 25 yard free kick was blocked by Alan Julian’s legs.

Turley pulled off a superb save to deny Hunt’s free kick before the home side scored a third goal on 35 minutes. There didn’t seem any real danger when Stewart Talbot picked the ball up 35 yards out but his speculative shot deceived Turley and found the left hand corner of the net.

Diamonds problems increased when they lost the services of Gary Mills on the stroke of half-time with an ankle injury. Hall came on for the few seconds remaining.

The visitors had the wind in their favour in the second half and Diamonds sent on Lowe to replace Hanlon but it was The Bees who still carved out the better chances. Fine play by Tabb ended with a shot that went wide while Hunt made space for himself but he couldn’t find the target.

On the hour, the industrious Tabb attempted an audacious 35 yard lob but Turley was wise to the danger while four minutes later Jack hit a shot which sailed over the bar.

Slowly but surely Diamonds increased the tempo and they were rewarded with their first goal on 75 minutes. Marcus Bignot’s cross was headed across the face of the goal by Lowe and Burgess slid in at the far post to score.

Ben May and Talbot both missed glorious chances to increase Brentford’s lead late on – Turley touching away the latter’s cross shot – before Diamonds set up a grandstand finish two minutes from time thanks to Lowe’s strike after Roget’s effort had come back off the post.

In the dying seconds, the visitors had strong appeals for a penalty waived away when Jack appeared to be impeded in the box but Brentford held on.

Diamonds: Turley, Bignot, Underwood, Mills (Hall 45), Edwards, Hanlon (Lowe 46), Jack, Gray, Bell (Burgess 69), Kitson, Roget

Subs unused: Hunter, Duffy,

Bookings: Bignot 31, Lowe 56, Roget 79

Brentford: Julian, Dobson, Talbot, Sonko, Tabb (Frampton 90), Hunt (Evans 66), Harrold (O’Conner 73), Hutchinson, May, Hunt, Bull

Subs unused:  Tommy Wright, Lennie

Bookings: Hunt 35, Evans 88, Julian 90

Diamonds MOM: Jack

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