Brentford 2 PNE 1
Two goals in the space of three second half minutes gave the home side the points at Griffin Park, despite Daniel Johnson giving North End the lead after only 32 seconds.
The midfielder slammed home from 12 yards out after Stevie May had seen a shot saved by David Button, but a close range finish from Lasse Vibe and a 12 yard effort from Marco Djuricin gave the Londoners the points.
North End made three changes to the side that drew with Bristol City, Browne, Doyle and Marnick Vermijl coming in with a 4-3-3 formation.
Johnson gave the Lilywhites the lead after just 32 seconds. Alan Browne took the ball in midfield, laid it back to Greg Cunningham who played it down the line for Eoin Doyle to race away. The Ireish No.13 crossed to the penalty spot for Stevie May. Goalkeeper David Button saved well from the Scot, but the ball came back out to Johnson who slammed into the roof of the net from the penalty spot.
It could have been two before the third minute. May having a header just over the bar from ten yards out after Johnson’s cross from the left after a free kick after Joe Garner had been fouled.
It was a pulsating first half and Stevie May had a free kick from 30 yards out after Garner was again fouled by Barbet; the No.24’s dipping shot was push away by Button, but this time with enough power to get it out of the box.
It had been all North End for the first quarter of an hour, but on 20 minutes Jordan Pickford showed the continuation of his recent form with a brilliant save, palming away Yoann Barbet’s downward header out for a corner from another corner, an absolutely brilliant stop with his left hand from close range.
Button then made an almost equally as impressive save at the other end to deny Garner after a corner from Neil Kilkenny wads headed back across goal by Paul Huntington.
On the half hour mark Garner again went close with a header from 15 yards out after a free kick on the left touchline by Daniel Johnson - a powerful flashing effort but just wide of the right hand upright.
Just before the break there was another great Pickford save from Djuricin after Alan Browne’s misplaced pass in midfield allowed the Bees to break and then Paul Huntington completed the clearance whilst led on the floor with an important boot!
The Bees started the second half brightly and Judge saw a shot deflected wide and Alan Browne had to clear over his own bar in efforts in the first three minutes of the second period.
Alan Judge curled an incredibly elaborate free kick inches past the right hand upright, but after a couple of breaks for injuries to Garner and Johnson North End got back into an attacking vein as Cunningham fired inches over the bar after some excellent quick passing around the box.
But it was the home side who drew level in the 62nd minute. Brentford worked the ball down the right hand side and substitute Sergi Canos, only just on the pitch for a matter of seconds, pulled the ball back from the byline for Lasse Vibe to poke home from close range.
And within three minutes they had turned the game on its head as Marco Djuricin raced into a left hand channel, into the box and fired hard and low past Pickford into the bottom right hand corner.
Will Keane and Chris Humphrey both joined the action and were both heavily involved as the Lilyhwites looked for parity once again; Humphrey driving a cross right along the face of goal and Keane heading Johnson’s corner just over the bar from a deep back post position just before the game entered its last 15 minutes.
There was nine minutes of added time after a series of injuries and visits by the physios, but after 12 the previous week, it was becoming a common occurrence for North End to play 100 minutes!
North End through everything forward in the closing stages with balls into the box, throws, crosses, but nothing bounced for them and they could not force the equaliser.
: Button, Bidwell (c), Dean, Djuricin (Udumaga, 79), McCormack, Kerschbaumer, Judge, Diagouraga, Vibe (O’Connell, 90), Barbet, J Clarke (Canos, 61). Subs not used: Bonham, Tebar, Woods, O’Connell, Williams.Brentford line-up
: Pickford, Vermijl, Cunningham, Kilkenny (Keane, 72), T Clarke (c), Huntington, Browne (Brownhill, 83), Garner, Doyle, May (Humphrey, 64), Johnson. Subs not used: Kirkland, Wright, Keane, Woods, Welsh.PNE line-up
: TBC (TBC away fans)Attendance
: Mr T RobinsonReferee