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29 December 2013

Brentford move to the top of Sky Bet League One after Milton Keynes Dons are beaten at Griffin Park

Brentford moved to the top of Sky Bet League One with their eighth straight home win in all competitions.

This time Milton Keynes Dons left Griffin Park with nothing to show for their efforts as Brentford took the points with a 3-1 win.

Brentford were ahead inside the first 90 seconds, although MK were extremely compliant.

A long David Button kick forward was misjudged by central defender Shaun Williams, who allowed it to bounce, as Dean Lewington dithered, Clayton Donaldson stole in and lashed home with David Martin miles out of position in the MK goal.

As often happens, the early goal helped the spectacle.

Any thoughts MK had about sitting in had to go out of the window.

The visitors responded well to the goal and gave a fine attacking performance but they left large gaps at the back that Brentford exploited.

The Bees could have been out of sight by half time but equally, MK would have gone it at the break feeling they had the chances to be level.

Within 15 minutes of the restart Marcello Trotta and Sam Saunders had scored to make the game safe and although MK ended well, Brentford had done enough.

Martin’s first action was to pick the ball out of his net; his second was to make a superb save high to his left to keep out an Alan McCormack shot.

The stopper then did enough to prevent Trotta latching on to a weak Lee Hodson back pass while at the other end, a Williams header from a free kick deflected wide.

Trotta had a great chance to make it two 15 minutes in when he broke the offside trap in the inside left channel, with only Martin to beat and Donaldson waiting to tap in if the ball was squared, the striker lashed over.

Brentford were nearly made to pay for that when a Williams ball set Patrick Bamford away in MK’s left channel his audacious lob from a tight angle bounced on top of the crossbar and over.

Martin saved a Saunders shot but was grateful to his crossbar moments later – Donaldson went flying down the right and crossed, Trotta volleyed at full stretch but could only direct it on to the crossbar and over.

Tony Craig blocked a Samir Carruthers effort and then one from Dale Jennings while a Bamford header was blocked as MK pressed, but the gaps were still there for Brentford to exploit.

Saunders shot over after being set up by Trotta and the two combined again soon after when Donaldson returned a poor Martin clearance in to the penalty area but George Saville shot over.

Bamford, MK’s main threat, shot over and then missed the target with a header as an entertaining first half came to a close with The Bees in front.

Harlee Dean had to make an interception to deny Bamford soon after half time but once again The Bees struck early.

It came when Donaldson and McCormack won the ball on the right and Jonathan Douglas released Adam Forshaw, he set Saunders in behind the MK defence, the wide man cut back and picked out Trotta who drilled it low past Martin.

Donaldson had already gone close, shooting just over after cutting in off the left, as Brentford continued to play with sublime attacking style and freedom.

And they had a third goal when Donaldson once again got clear on the right, his cross arrived at the feet of Saunders who cut back and placed a shot low past Martin.

It looked as if that would be that but MK refused to lie down.

They had much the better of the latter stages and looked as if they might mount a memorable and monumental comeback.

Darren Potter had a shot blocked and Carruthers fired inches wide after being set up by Bamford before a deflected Ben Reeves shot was saved.

Dele Alli curled a shot over and Craig blocked an effort from George Baldock before the goal MK had been threatening came with 17 minutes to go.

The ball bobbled around the area and Brentford couldn’t get it away, it broke to Hodson and he smashed a shot in to the roof of the net from ten yards.

MK had their tails up and set about further reducing the arrears.

Bamford should have done when put through by Alli after nice interplay but he shot wide with only Button to beat.

The striker then had appeals for a penalty waved away when he got goal side of Craig and went down as the Brentford defender made a tackle but referee Andy D’Urso ran away signalling there had been no foul as MK protested.

Reeves shot wide and Bamford missed the target with a header before narrowly toe poking wide after exchanging passes with Alli.

Saunders had a shot deflected wide for Brentford after he robbed Reeves and Carruthers horribly sliced an effort as the seconds ticked down.

The last action was a shot wide from Baldock in stoppage time that summed up MK’s afternoon, lots of the ball in good areas but not really troubling Button.

With Leyton Orient and Wolverhampton Wanderers drawing, Brentford leapfrogged them both to end 2013 with 11 wins and a draw in a 12 game unbeaten Sky Bet League One run and the leadership of the division.

Brentford: Button; McCormack (sub Logan 67 mins), Dean, Craig, Bidwell; Forshaw (sub Dallas 60 mins), Douglas, Saville; Donaldson, Trotta (sub El Alagui 81 mins), Saunders

Subs (not used): Lee, O’Connor, Diagouraga, Fillo

Bookings: Saville (29 mins) (fifth of season) (suspended for one match – Peterborough United, January 1), Donaldson (44 mins) (third of season)

Milton Keynes Dons: Martin; Hodson, Spence, Williams, Lewington; Potter, Smith (sub Alli 56 mins); Carruthers, Reeves, Jennings (sub Baldock 62 mins); Bamford

Subs (not used): McLoughlin, Flanagan, Galloway, Banton, Kay

Bookings: Smith (4 mins), Carruthers (27 mins), Potter (76 mins), Baldock (77 mins)

Attendance: 8,010 (498 away fans)

By Chris Wickham

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