SMITHIES DRAWS THE BEES’ STING
BRENTFORD’S winning streak is over, but there was plenty on show in Huddersfield to keep manager Mark Warburton in good spirits.
The Bees had won all five of their November league games, earning Warburton the Championship Manager of the Month award.
But they finally tasted bitter defeat at the John Smith’s Stadium, largely thanks to some excellent goalkeeping from Huddersfield’s Alex Smithies.
Warburton said: “Credit to the goalkeeper. He did very well and they defended valiantly.
“Huddersfield had chances as well but I thought we did enough to get something out of the game.
“We got the goal we wanted and there was time left on the clock to get something out of it, but we have to take chances.
“It’s positives out of negatives for us.We’ve got to learn, like we did earlier in the season at Middlesbrough, and that’s the thing about this group of players.
“They’re focused and have great character.You saw the character in the response when we were 2-1 down.
“It speaks volumes when the players are in the dressing room absolutely gutted and we’re fifth in the table, so that’s not a bad place to be right now.”
The match was frenetic, occasionally bad-tempered, and incredibly entertaining, with both teams putting in good performances but the Terriers rightly just edging it.
Bees winger Alan Judge went close on nine minutes after good work by Jake Bidwell and Jon Toral, but pulled his shot just wide
Nahki Wells went even closer two minutes later, hitting the sidenetting after using his pace to good effect.
Brentford failed to heed that warning and Wells went through again seven minutes later, this time squaring the ball for Sean Scannell to find the top corner from an acute angle in his 100th Huddersfield appearance.
Scannell was instrumental again just after the break, racing in at the back post to meet Jack Robinson’s excellent cross, and Bidwell ended up bundling into his own goal in an effort to thwart the winger.
Brentford pulled one back on 70 minutes through Jonathan Douglas, who poked home after good play by Alex Pritchard and substitute Tommy Smith.
Wells almost restored the twogoal cushion immediately when he went through one-on-one with David Button, who rushed off his line to keep the Bermudan striker out.
But there was no equaliser for the Bees thanks to Smithies, who had also recovered to save well in the first half after Judge’s shot was dangerously deflected by Jonathan Hogg.
Judge was denied again on 84 minutes with Smithies tipping over his free-kick, and he then saved superbly from Smith from the resulting corner.
There was still time for Smithies to be a hero once more, denying Douglas an equaliser to give Huddersfield their first win in five games.
Terriers boss Chris Powell said:“I’m a lot happier than I have been after our past four games, but that’s because I thought the players played exceptionally well.
“There was a real intensity to our play and we were quite brave because we were playing against a team who have a good manager and who were on the back of five straight wins. For 80 minutes we put in a really good performance. For the last ten we were under pressure and there were some brave blocks and Alex Smithies made some good saves.
“It was a bit hairy-scary at times, but that’s the Championship for you. It was a result we badly needed but we actually played some good stuff. It wasn’t just a 1-0 where we were under the cosh for 89 minutes.”
IN THE NET: Brentford’s Jake Bidwell can only watch as Sean Scannell scores
PALS: Scannell celebrates his goal with Nahki Wells