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Match Report


Posted Sat 19 Mar 16 at 17:00 PM

Report: Brentford 0 Rovers 1

Shane Duffy struck a stunning goal as ten-man Rovers roared back to winning ways at Brentford.

The Republic of Ireland international blasted home four minutes from time to give Paul Lambert's side their first League away win of 2016.

There was little between the two sides as Jason Steele kept Yoann Barbet's first half free-kick out, whilst Hope Akpan saw a header tipped over for Rovers.

However a second yellow card for captain Grant Hanley meant Rovers would have to play more than 30 minutes a man light.

But with Brentford struggling to gain any forward momentum, it was substitute Tony Watt who proved to be the catalyst, winning the 86th free-kick which he controlled before teeing up Duffy to clinch a hard-fought victory for Rovers.

Paul Lambert made five changes from the midweek match at Ipswich as the boss looked for a response from the disappointing Portman Road defeat.

Of those returning, three of them would have sight of goal inside the opening 15 minutes as the visitors posed the early questions.

On six, Ben Marshall struck a sweet shot from distance that flashed wide, then after the defender had been tripped, Jordi Gomez put the resulting free-kick straight into the arms of David Button in the Brentford goal.

Another free-kick saw Rovers threaten again as Elliott Bennett sent a ball to the back post, but Darragh Lenihan couldn't direct his header on target.

Following those half-chances for the Rovers, it was the home side who started to come more  into the game. Alan McCormack wide with a shot after Sam Saunders had seen his effort blocked, before Lenihan had to intervene after Nico Yennaris had got the better of the recalled Craig Conway in the penalty box.

Following a poor throw from Marshall that saw Grant Hanley booked for a foul on Ryan Woods. An elaborate free-kick routine saw Yoann Barbet strike goalwards, but the under-worked Jason Steele showed great reactions to dive to his left to superbly tip the ball aside.

Steele then saved comfortably from an Alan Judge shot on the turn, before a Marshall centre picked out Danny Graham but Button clawed away his header, although the referee blew for a push by the Rovers man.

Hope Akpan would go the closest for the visitors in a goalless first half, the midfielder seeing his back post header from a Conway free-kick tipped over by Button.

There was little in the way of goalmouth excitement in the opening minutes of the second half until Bees defender Barbet played a blind back-header towards Button. The keeper missed his clearance but got enough on the ball to ensure it stayed away from goal but at the expense of a corner.

From the resulting set-piece play was eventually worked to Gomez who had time to take aim, but he flashed a left-footed strike high into the Rovers fans behind the goal.

But it was the home side who were handed a man advantage on 56 minutes when Hanley was adjudged to have handled a cross deliberately. Referee Michael Bull issued the Rovers captain his second yellow of the match followed by the inevitable red.

Jordi Gomez was the player sacrificed in the eventual reshuffle, Elliott Ward on to slot in alongside Shane Duffy at the back.

Having played ten matches in little over 30 days, the last thing Rovers would have wanted would be to play the final half hour a man light but that is what they would have to do.

But as Rovers retreated with two strict banks of four, the home side lacked the composure to thread their way through the blue and white back line. McCormack and Judge both skiing  efforts from distance as they became increasingly desperate to make the most of their numeric advantage.

The hardworking Graham made way on 83 minutes to be replaced by Tony Watt and the young Scott would play a pivotal role in the closing stages.

After Watt had been fouled on the far side by Harlee Dean, Bennett hit the free-kick long into the area, Watt got the ball under control at the back post before he fed Shane Duffy and the Irishman blasted a superb effort into the top corner from 12-yards. Much to the delight of the 800 Rovers fans behind that goal.

The pre-match music at Griffin Park had featured The Irish Rover, an indication as to what was to come.

Five additional minutes meant a nervy ending to the game as Jake Bidwell headed over and Steele saved from Judge.

Then the last action saw everyone up for a Brentford corner, but as Dean blazed high into the street beyond the stand behind Steele's goal, it meant all three points were heading back north.

BRENTFORD: Button, Bidwell (c), Dean, Saunders (sub Vibe 84 mins), McEachran, McCormack, Woods (sub Canos 69 mins), Judge, Rodriguez (sub Hogan 76 mins), Yennaris, Barbet.

Subs not used: Bonham (GK), Colin, Kerschbaumer, O'Connell.

Goals: None

Booked: McEachran

ROVERS: Steele, Marshall, Duffy, Hanley (c), Spurr, Bennett, Lenihan, Akpan, Conway (sub Grimes 86 mins), J. Gomez (sub Ward 60 mins), Graham (sub Watt 83 mins).

Subs not used: Raya (GK), Kilgallon, Brown, Jackson.

Goals: Duffy 86 mins

Booked: Hanley, Graham, Akpan, Duffy, Lenihan, Watt.

Off: Hanley

Attendance: 10,575 (including 782 Rovers fans).

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