PNE 0 Brentford 3
North End suffered only their second home defeat of the season as Brentford ran out 3-0 winners at Deepdale in the final home game of 2013.
The visitors took the lead mid-way through the first half, Adam Forshaw converting from the spot after Declan Rudd brought down Clayton Donaldson and doubled their tally two minutes later, Trotta driving home Donaldson’s pull back.
North End had a penalty of their own seven minutes into the second half, only for David Button to deny Joe Garner from 12 yards out and Sam Saunders fired home from close range with 17 minutes left to give the Bees the win.
Garner returned to the side in place of Stuart Beavon in the starting XI, Jack King also returning to the squad with a place on the bench.
The Lilywhites started brightly and were awarded a free kick on 13 minutes as John Welsh brought down on edge of ‘D’ after great ball from Josh Brownhill to thread him through, the shot was on target, but it was straight at the Bees wall.
On the 15 minute mark there was a massive PNE penalty shout, as Harlee Dean gave Garner a shove in the box that thrust the forward up the air, but as the ball came down, the falling Garner was hit on the arm by the ball and the referee Darren Deadman gave hand ball against him.
The opening goal came from Brentford first real foray forward. Clayton Donaldson ran into a channel down the right hand side and Declan Rudd was adjudged to have brought down the forward by the byline, receiving a yellow card for it. Adam Foshaw stepped up and send the keeper the wrong way, stroking into the bottom right hand corner.
And it was 2-0 just two minutes later. Goalscorer Forshaw was put clean through on goal, his right foot shot was saved initially by Rudd, but came back out to Donaldson who pulled it back to Marcello Trotta, running in, who fired into bottom left hand corner.
Just after the half hour mark the Lilywhites lost Kevin Davies for the Boxing Day trip to Carlisle after picking up his fifth yellow card for seemingly very little.
Five minutes were added on at the end of the first half, following an injury to the Bees’ Kadeem Harris, in this time Scott Laird was brought down a yard outside box as he was setting to shoot.
John Welsh fired in a shot that came back off the wall, out for the first PNE corner of the game.
This was a Laird inswinger from the right and there was another big shout for a penalty for foul on Laird, who had got the ball back, in right corner of the box, but again it was not given. Then right on the half-time whistle PNE felt the ball had crossed line from a Welsh corner, but nothing was given once again.
At half-time manager Simon Grayson chose to make changes, two of them, Neil Kilkenny and Lee Holmes replacing Keith Keane and Josh Brownhill.
And the second half started with another huge shout for a penalty for North End with Lee Holmes upended as he looked to latch onto Chris Humphrey’s left wing cross, but yet again Deadman waved away the claims, much to the chagrin of the Lilywhites crowd packed in the Town End.
Finally North End had a penalty in the 52nd minute with a foul given around the penalty spot. Joe Garner stepped up and put real power behind the ball, but David Button got a strong hand and saved it, with the Bees clearing.
Kevin Davies then had a great headed chance as Brentford couldn’t get the ball out of the box and Paul Huntington lofted it up for the frontman to have a free header eight yards out, but he was inches past the right hand post with the header.
John Welsh then forced David Button make a fine save to give North End a corner on 63 minutes, tipping the PNE skipper’s 20-yard left foot shot just round the post.
But the game was over in the 73rd minute as Brentford sub Sam Saunders found himself free in the box in the right hand corner of the six yard box and fired high into the roof of the net to make it three.
The Lilywhites didn’t give up, however, and Lee Holmes raced down the left and forced Button into yet another save, this time the ball coming out agonisingly inches away from the third PNE sub Iain Hume.
PNE suffered another blow as Joe Garner was booked, meaning he returned from a ban only to face another, missing the Boxing Day clash with his former club Carlisle United after accumulating five yellows.
Four minutes of time was added on, but the visitors saw out the time and took the three points.
: Rudd, Keane (Holmes, 46), Laird, Huntington, Clarke, Wright, Humphrey (Hume, 69), K Davies, Garner, Welsh, Brownhill (Kilkenny, 46). Subs not used: Stuckmann, Beavon, Buchanan, King, Hume.PNE line-up
: Button, Forshaw, Craig, Dean, Douglas, Donaldson, McCormack, Saville (Reeves, 80), Bidwell, Harris (Saunbders, 38), Trotta (Grigg, 65). Subs not used: Lee, O’Connor, El Alagui, Logan.Brentford line-up
: 10,332 (437 away fans)Attendance
: Mr D DeadmanReferee