Alan Judge celebrates scoring against his former club as Brentford take another giant step towards promotion from Sky Bet League One in April 2014. The Irish midfielder had been a fan favourite at Meadow Lane prior to his move to Blackburn Rovers the previous summer but he came back to haunt his former side with a brace in The Bees 3-1 win at Griffin Park.
Fighting bravely against relegation to the bottom division, County arrived in West London in excellent form: three straight wins under Shaun Derry had given them real hope of avoiding what had, at one stage at least, looked almost inevitable relegation. Mark Warburton’s Bees, however, needed a win to settle the nerves having taken just two points from their last three games to allow Leyton Orient to close the gap in third to just four points.
Despite their slight wobble on the road, The Bees form at Griffin Park remained imperious, league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers being the only visiting side to avoid defeat in TW8 in 15 matches. It didn’t take long for Warburton’s side to get onto the front foot and pressurise The Magpies backline and, after 31 minutes of knocking, the County door finally opened.
A long ball over the top from Tony Craig freed Clayton Donaldson in behind. With the Bees top scorer poised to pull the trigger, County defender Haydn Hollis clumsily brought him down in the area. A red card was shown and penalty awarded, which Adam Forshaw dispatched with ease to open the scoring.
It was then time for Judge to take centre-stage against old friends. Two minutes before the break he combined with fellow Irishman Alan McCormack to slot home a second before ensuring the points stayed in west London with a close-range goal just after the restart. Former Brentford loanee James Spencer pulled one back in the closing stages but it barely took the gloss off another fine Bees performance.
Victory re-established Brentford’s six-point cushion over third place and dumped County back into the bottom four. However, at the end of the season both sides would have reason to celebrate. Subsequent victories over Crawley Town and Preston North End at Griffin Park secured promotion for The Bees with three games to spare while The Magpies would go on to win three of their next four games to finish the season the right side of the dreaded dotted line.
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