Bees win on the road
Clayton Donaldson scored the winning goal as Brentford recorded their third win of the season against Crawley Town.
Having beaten the Sussex side in the return league game and a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie, The Bees made it three from three with a 2-1 win.
But the score line tells a fraction of the story on a night when Crawley played nearly 100 minutes with ten men, Adam Forshaw was sent off for Brentford and Donaldson missed a penalty.
But the three points were all important and Brentford got them.
The game could not have started better for The Bees as Crawley found themselves a man down within the first 40 seconds.
Bradley Wright-Phillips picked up a pass from Forshaw and laid it in to the path of Donaldson, the striker was tugged back by Mark Connolly as he looked set to shoot and referee Lee Collins awarded a penalty.
The official was left with little alternative but to send the Crawley central defender off and Brentford were given a massive advantage.
They did not, however, take it immediately as Donaldson fired his penalty wide of the far post.
Crawley seemed galvanised by the miss and, after bringing on replacement central defender Connor Essam, tried to take the initiative.
They put plenty of balls in to the box early on but Brentford stood firm and got their goals as the half ticked on.
The first came when Brentford broke from a Crawley attack – Wright-Phillips and Donaldson made the territory and Saunders fired home from the edge of the penalty area before the hosts had regrouped.
Wright-Phillips had a shot saved before the goal and Tom Adeyemi saw a shot blocked after as Brentford took control.
There was no questioning Crawley’s endeavour but they were found wanting a man down against the pace and precision of Brentford’s attacking.
Donaldson had a header saved before a piece of opportunism gave him a second goal.
Forshaw played a ball forward and as Essam, Joe Walsh and goalkeeper Paul Jones dithered, Donaldson knocked the ball past them and rolled it in to an empty net.
The striker peeled off his shirt to reveal a message “For You Mum” to mark the death of his mother just nine days ago.
That just about killed the first half as a contest – Tony Craig had been forced in to a vital interception to stop Billy Clarke scoring before Brentford’s second but the home side had little response after Donaldson doubled the lead.
The striker almost added a third after good work by Adeyemi and Brentford dominated possession in the rest of the first half.
They didn’t come particularly close to adding a third goal – Jonathan Douglas volleyed well over late in the half – but it was up to Crawley to make the running and they could not do so.
The half time break, however, reinvigorated the home side and they went looking for goals at start of the second period.
Donaldson diverted a Mat Sadler free kick over his own bar before Walsh headed the resulting corner wide.
Aiden O’Brien – who, moments earlier, had been booked by Mr Collins for coming on as a half time substitute without permission – then turned a Jamie Proctor cross wide.
The home side were then given a hand back in to the game when Forshaw was tripped in the box by Walsh but rather than giving another penalty, Mr Collins gave the midfield man a second yellow card for simulation, having booked him for a foul inside the first three minutes, to make it ten-a-side.
Donaldson pulled a shot wide as Brentford went looking for the killer third but Crawley were back in to it with 21 minutes remaining.
Nicky Adams cut in off the left and curled an unstoppable shot in to the top corner of Simon Moore’s net to halve the deficit.
Scott Barron came close to restoring the two-goal lead with a deflected shot that Jones saved with his feet while Simon Moore saved from Proctor at the other end.
Adams had a shot blocked and Proctor headed wide as Crawley pressed but Brentford largely had them at arms’ length.
They were, however, presented with an extraordinary seven additional minutes to play by Mr Collins.
Harlee Dean could have made that irrelevant but he missed the target with a header while a Proctor shot deflected in to the arms of Simon Moore at the other end.
Adams and Essam had shots blocked as the home side continued to press but Dean and Liam Moore largely dealt with the aerial bombardment.
And when Mr Collins had finally seen enough, The Bees left with the points.
Crawley Town: Jones; Dumbuya, Connolly, Walsh, Sadler (sub Elford-Alliyu 85 mins); Jones (sub Essam 3 mins), Bulman, Sparrow, Adams; Clarke (sub O’Brien h/t), Proctor
Subs (not used): Maddison, Hunt, Smith
Bookings: O’Brien (47 mins)
Sent Off: Connolly (2 mins)
Brentford: S. Moore; Hodson, Dean, L. Moore, Craig; Forshaw, Douglas, Adeyemi (sub Logan 88 mins), Saunders (sub Barron 69 mins); Wright-Phillips (sub Diagouraga 75 mins), Donaldson
Subs (not used): Lee, Dallas, Trotta, Hayes
Bookings: Donaldson (31 mins) (fifth of season), Dean (45 mins) (sixth of season), Craig (52 mins) (fourth of season)
Sent Off: Forshaw (59 mins)
Attendance: 3,695 (1,112 Bees fans)
By Chris Wickham