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8 April 2014

Jonathan Douglas heads the only goal as Brentford beat Crawley Town

A second half header from Jonathan Douglas gave Brentford their second home win in four days.

The midfield player arrived to meet an Alan Judge cross for the only goal of the game just before the hour mark as The Bees beat Crawley Town at Griffin Park.

The effort should have been kept out by goalkeeper Paul Jones, who denied Brentford on many occasions but let the header slip through his grasp to give The Bees the points and send Crawley the same way as Notts County four days earlier.

The story of the match was one that has become familiar to Brentford fans.

The Bees flew out of the blocks, pressing forward from the first whistle.

They were faced by a wall of eight white shirts, defending Crawley’s goal for all they were worth and trying to hit on the break when they could.

The breakthrough eventually came and Brentford saw the game home as the visitors suddenly found some attacking intent.

Brentford had chances to get ahead in the early stages but couldn’t find the finishing touch.

Clayton Donaldson fired inches past the far post from a tight angle after he was picked out by a quick Alan McCormack thrown before looping a header over the bar.

Donaldson then blazed over in the inside left channel before a long David Button kick caught Joe Walsh out and put him in behind but he could only lift a shot in to the arms of Paul Jones.

Judge then tried to beat goalkeeper Jones from 40 yards and forced him to save as he backtracked.

Crawley’s attacks had been limited in the first half hour as they tried to sit deep and protect their clean sheet.

Matt Tubbs got a shot away after picking up a Billy Clarke pass but James Tarkowski blocked it and the same man cut inside from the left and fired wide.

Most of the chances were at the other end and they continued to come as the first half developed.

A flowing move ended with a Judge diving header that Paul Jones did well to save and Tarkowski headed wide soon after.

Judge cut inside and fired just wide from distance before a low McCormack shot forced Paul Jones in to a low save.

McCormack then shot wide from distance, after Button saved a low Dannie Bulman shot at the other end, before Donaldson and Douglas combined to set up Judge for a shot that was blocked.

Donaldson had a volley blocked after Tony Craig had nodded down a corner before Paul Jones saved from Douglas following good work by Adam Forshaw.

Brentford continued to be faced by the white wall after the break.

And, to be fair to the visitors, Crawley defended better at Griffin Park than most teams have done this season.

They were limiting Brentford to fewer really good chances than many opponents.

The Bees went close when a Judge cross sailed just past the far post, and just eluded Dallas arriving at the far post.

Dallas then fired over before a Forshaw shot was blocked.

The opening goal, when it came, was due to an error from Paul Jones.

After Forshaw’s shot had been blocked, Brentford recycled the ball and Dallas released Judge on the left, he crossed for Douglas to head down from eight yards; the ball inexplicably slipped through the grasp of the goalkeeper and nestled in the bottom corner.

Crawley suddenly had a desire to play the game far quicker than they had for the previous hour.

They got men forward and stopped taking their time over dead balls.

Substitute Jamie Proctor forced Button in to a save with a shot from 20 yards but Brentford were still having the better of it.

Donaldson’s run down the right and cross to the far post set up a chance for Dallas but Paul Jones got down well to turn it away.

Dallas then cut inside and fired just over before Jake Reeves hit a defensive wall with a free kick.

Brentford should have sealed it when they broke on the left and Bidwell’s cross found Dallas at the far post but Mat Sadler got a block in for the visitors.

Reeves had a shot deflected wide late on but it proved not to matter and, with Rotherham United losing to Sheffield United, Brentford are now nine points clear of the chasing pack in second place with just five games to go.

They need seven points from those remaining five games to ensure promotion to The Championship.

Brentford: Button; McCormack, Tarkowski, Craig, Bidwell; Forshaw (sub Diagouraga 89 mins), Douglas, Saville (sub Reeves 68 mins); Dallas, Donaldson, Judge (sub Trotta 73 mins)

Subs (not used): Bonham, O’Connor, Dean, Grigg

Crawley Town: P. Jones; P. Connolly, McFadzean, Walsh, Sadler; Simpson, Bulman (sub Torres 69 mins), Dicker, M. Jones; Clarke (sub Proctor 59 mins), Tubbs

Subs (not used): Maddison, M. Connolly, Fallon, Monakana, Edwards

Attendance: 7,718 (409 away fans)


By Chris Wickham

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