SMITHIES DRAWS THE BEES’ STING

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Steven Chicken

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.”

PIC­TURES: Gor­don Clayton

IN THE NET: Brent­ford’s Jake Bid­well can only watch as Sean Scannell scores

PALS: Scannell cel­e­brates his goal with Nahki Wells

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