Donaldson double sinks Dons
Clayton Donaldson scored twice as Brentford came out victorious in a promotion six-pointer against Milton Keynes Dons at Griffin Park.
The striker took his tally for the season to 13 with a brace, that included the winning goal inside the final two minutes, as Brentford won 3-2.
They had trailed twice to an excellent MK Dons side but had the strength of character and the ability to come back.
Donaldson levelled after great work by Harry Forrester after Ryan Lowe had put MK ahead and Forrester himself equalised after Stephen Gleeson had restored the visitors’ lead.
But Donaldson had the final say, scoring from close range as Brentford climbed above MK and in to the top four in npower League One.
There was no thought that the two top-of-the-table sides would size each other up in the opening stages.
Both teams probably should have scored in the opening two minutes and there could have been five goals in the first ten minutes alone.
Adam Forshaw had a shot blocked inside the first 30 seconds before Donaldson got in behind, beating Dean Lewington in a race to a Jonathan Douglas pass, his shot was well saved by David Martin, rushing out from the MK goal.
The visitors, however, had an even better chance on the break – Lowe laid the ball in to the path of Angelo Balanta 15 yards out but his low shot was saved by Simon Moore and the goalkeeper was alert to get down low when Tony Craig’s clearance hit Zeli Ismail and started to roll towards the net.
The Brentford goalkeeper made an even better save soon after when Luke Chadwick fired in an acrobatic effort from eight yards that Moore somehow tipped over the bar.
Donaldson headed wide and then narrowly missed the target with a dipping volley from the right side before Forrester saw a low shot saved.
The game continued to flow from one end to the other, much more open than would have been expected.
It provided superb entertainment as the defences battled to keep their sheets clean.
Donaldson had a header blocked before the goal that had been threatened came, scored by the visitors after 14 minutes.
MK broke when Forshaw played a loose pass in midfield and Gleeson fed a ball to Lowe 15 yards out and he slotted it past Moore.
There was scarcely a let up in the action but it was largely one way – MK sat deeper after taking the lead and although they did not attempt to defend their lead with 11 men, they were content to let Brentford dominated.
They could, however, have gone two up when a corner reached Balanta at the far post but Moore saved his curling shot.
Brentford who took the initiative after the opener – Marcello Trotta miss-hit a volley from eight yards and Martin saved a low Donaldson shot after the striker had cut inside.
Forrester came within a whisker of another special goal, he cut in off the left after good work by Forshaw and Trotta and curled in a shot that beat Martin but cannoned away off the post.
Trotta had a shot saved soon after as Brentford piled on the pressure and they had a goal ruled out soon after.
Forrester fired in a low free kick that Martin kept out and although Trotta smashed in the loose ball, he was adjudged to be offside.
The assistant referee kept his flag down two minutes before the break when Brentford did level it up.
Forrester was at the heart of it again, he latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the box – as Douglas and Trotta harried – beat two men and squared for Donaldson to slot home with MK appealing the striker was offside.
Brentford deserved to be at least level at half time but MK made an alteration at the break, switching Balanta to the right, started to show more attacking intent again and were back in front seven minutes after the re-start.
Chadwick picked out a superb pass and Gleeson turned and fired low in to the far corner.
Lowe should have scored before that when Chadwick played him in but it took a superb defensive block from Antony Kay to stop Trotta after more good work by Forrester and a Donaldson header deflected over from the corner.
MK didn’t sit back in the same way as they did after their first goal and the game was more even for ten minutes after the visitors scored.
It took Brentford a little while to gain the initiative again but they soon did and, once more, pushed MK back.
Martin held a powerful Douglas shot before The Bees had penalty appeals waved away when a free kick was half cleared, Harlee Dean fired in a shot, Donaldson flicked it on and it appeared to hit an arm but referee Lee Collins dismissed the claims.
Brentford levelled with 20 minutes remaining – a free kick was half cleared, Trotta won it when he had no right to and fired in a shot that Martin saved but Forrester reacted quickest to smash home.
Both teams tried to win it in the closing stages – Moore held a Daniel Powell shot and Trotta headed a Jake Bidwell chance inches wide.
Forrester had a golden chance when Brentford broke quickly from a MK free kick, Jake Reeves set the midfield player in behind the defence but he couldn’t beat Martin with his low shot.
The Bees won it with two minutes remaining – Douglas picked out Trotta with a pass and the striker spun and fired in a low shot that was superbly saved by Martin, but Donaldson reacted quickest to smash home the loose ball and give Brentford the points.
Brentford: Moore; Logan, Dean, Craig, Bidwell; Diagouraga (sub Kiernan 62 mins); Donaldson, Douglas, Forshaw (sub Reeves 78 mins), Forrester; Trotta (sub Hodson 90 mins)
Subs (not used): Lee, Dallas, Saunders, Hayes
Bookings: Bidwell (23 mins) (second of season)
Milton Keynes Dons: Martin; Otsemobor, Kay, Williams, Lewington; Potter, Gleeson; Ismail (sub Powell 25 mins), Chadwick (sub Smith 78 mins), Balanta; Lowe (sub MacDonald 78 mins)
Subs (not used): McLoughlin, Kouo-Doumbé, Chicksen, Sekajja
Bookings: Ismail (17 mins), Chadwick (71 mins)
Attendance: 5,833 (445 away fans)
By Chris Wickham