Brentford 5-2 Gateshead

Gateshead fail to draw Bees' sting and see their Cup glory hopes end - Nov 18 2009 by Steve Brown, The Journal

ON a long, long day, the difference between success and failure boiled down to minutes. Three in the first half, two in the second.

Yes, Gateshead - who travelled to London and back yesterday - lost by what looks a landslide. That is deceptive.

For much of their FA Cup first-round replay they matched League One side Brentford. They even outperformed them in the early stages.

In the end, though, it came down to three minutes at the end of the first half when full-time professionalism triumphing over slight lapses in the part-timers' concentration, the Bees stinging Gateshead with two goals from Ben Strevens and Charlie MacDonald.

By such narrow margins are games won and lost.

Likewise in the second 45, when having reduced the arrears through Graeme Armstrong's first goal of two, the latter a mere late consolation, the Tynesiders immediately allowed their hosts to restore their two-goal cushion through MacDonald again. Myles Weston's double just added insult to injury.

It had begun so much more brightly. Inside a minute Daryl Clare spun sharply on the edge of the box, side-stepping Leon Legge in the process, and his firm drive was palmed behind by Lewis Price.

From the resulting corner Jamie Harwood's header flashed across the face of goal - and instantly it appeared Gateshead were in the mood.

So too the Bees, however, and breaking from the said same corner, Marcus Bean chipped wide at the opposite end.

At least the Tynesiders had given, and received, fair warning and rather than be at risk of getting caught cold, or out of their depth, they continued positively.

As in the original tie, Ian Bogie's side looked far from overawed.

In fact, by 20 minutes into proceedings they probably actually shaded the greater share of possession, if all else they had to show for it was a Darren Williams header which dropped unthreateningly behind from Peter Winn's corner.

By the half-hour mark, the home support was growing audibly dissatisfied at their own team's failure to impose any tangible superiority. They were beginning to enjoy more of the ball. They just were not doing anything with it.

Gateshead were increasingly the same and, while doing all right, their early forward momentum had been checked. It resumed briefly on 34 minutes when Paul Farman's huge punt upfield was header narrowly wide of his own goal by Bees defender Legge, with Price stranded in no-man's land.

Immediately after, the visitors were indebted to successive blocks by Williams to deny first Cleveland Taylor, then Danny Foster.

It was all just beginning to go Brentford's way. How else do you explain why, with his back to play, Clare should be penalised when Price's kick smashed into his back?

The referee awarded the hosts a free-kick, and by half-time things got even better for them.

On 42 minutes Ryan Dickson picked out MacDonald in the box and his shot was blocked by James Curtis before the Bees striker inadvertently got in the way of Taylor's follow-up.

Fortuitous for Gateshead, but that was instantaneously evened out when the ball ricocheted to Strevens, who stabbed in at the back post.

Three minutes later it seemed as good as game over. Taylor all too effortlessly enjoyed time to cross from the right and MacDonald was afforded a free header to nod past Farman from close range.

So close to the sanctuary of half-time, so deflated by the time it came - and it could have been worse.

Five minutes after the interval Taylor - increasingly tearing shreds down the right - jinked one way, then the other past Phil Cave but, tapping in his low cross at the back post, Strevens was offside.
A lifeline then, and Gateshead made good of it.

Chasing Craig Baxter's long ball over the top, Armstrong sprang Brentford's attempt at an offside trap and from the right-hand corner of the box drilled past Price.

Now we had a game, now we would see what the Bees were made of - and hope Gateshead might pile on the pressure and test their resolve.

Alas, the home side restored its two-goal advantage within two minutes - and again much too easily.

Striding upfield, Bean was permitted the run of the Gateshead half, slipped a pass into the box and MacDonald squeezed an effort past the out-rushing Farman.

On 66 minutes it truly was game over, job done. Retrieving a half-cleared Kevin O'Connor corner, Weston took a touch and from 30 yards smashed a low drive through a crowd of players and beyond Farman.
Not that that stopped Brentford - and on 74 minutes they made it 5-1.

Weston found MacDonald in the area and, though his shot was well blocked by Curtis, the ball rebounded kindly to Weston who stabbed home after Farman had been wrong-footed by the initial effort.

Armstrong then volleyed wide from close-range, but made amends on 80 minutes, this time latching on to Kris Gate's pass. The game, though, was gone by then.

BRENTFORD: Price, Foster , Osborne, Legge, Dickson, Taylor, Bean (Hunt 78), O'Connor, Weston, Strevens (Cort 71), MacDonald. Subs (not used): Moore, Bennett, Kabba, Wood, Ferrell.

Goals: Strevens 42, MacDonald 45, 60, Weston 67, 73.

GATESHEAD: Farman, Baxter, Williams, Curtis, Cave, Harwood (One 70), Turnbull (Francis 61), Gate, Winn, Armstrong, Clare. Subs (not used): Provett, Robinson, Phillips, Swailes, McDermott.

Booked: Gate. Goals: Armstrong 58, 81.

Ref: James Linnington (Isle of Wight) Att: 1,960