SWINDON Town's season came to an end at Griffin Park after a 5-4 penalty shoot-out defeat in the League One Play-Off semi-finals.
Miles Storey saw his penalty saved by Simon Moore to give the Bees the advantage after a pulsating encounter on a red-hot afternoon in West London.
Kevin MacDonald named the same starting eleven that drew at The County Ground on Saturday afternoon whilst the hosts made four changes, one of which saw former Town skipper Jonathan Douglas drop to the bench.
The Robins almost took an early advantage when a first-minute corner from Gary Roberts was headed back across goal, with Aden Flint forcing Simon Moore into tipping the ball over.
Played on a scorching hot afternoon there was a typically frantic start to the game with both sides trying to get the early advantage.
Youngster Nathan Byrne, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, was first into the referee’s notebook after kicking the ball away after the whistle with 12 minutes played. The youngster claimed not to have heard the whistle – and with noise levels high – you’d certainly have sided with the Town left-back.
The first real effort from the home side arrived shortly after with former Aston Villa youngster Harry Forrester, who was fouled the penalty at The County Ground on Saturday, heading over Tom Adeyami’s right wing cross.
The referee took centre stage with 19 minutes played as he waved play on after Andy Williams had been pole-axed by Simon Moore, before the home side broke at the other end with Wes Foderingham clashing with Clayton Donaldson. Both sets of fans showed their frustration whilst a Town goal-kick was the award – much to the relief of the 1,800 Town fans behind the goal.
The deadlock was broken with 24 minutes on the clock as a corner from Forrester caused chaos in the Town box. Forrester’s well-taken set-piece was headed into his own net by Adam Rooney. Harsh on the Swindon frontman, but the Bees had the lead for the first time in the tie.
Forrester almost doubled the lead shortly after when he took a neat touch inside the box but saw his low drive tipped round the post by Foderingham, who had been by far the busier of the two ‘keepers in the opening exchanges.
Having taken the advantage, Uwe Rosler’s side continued to press for the all-important second goal of the game. Marcello Trotta, recalled to the starting line-up, crashed a left-footed effort against the foot of the post just after the half-hour mark with Town still trying to make their mark.
MacDonald then made a tactical switch to a 4-3-3 formation with Roberts pushed up alongside Williams and Rooney.
The hosts made it 3-1 on aggregate five minutes before the break. Clayton Donaldson found space on the edge of the box before unleashing a left-footed shot which found the bottom corner past Foderingham.
The Town response was almost immediate. A fine midfield break from Massimo Luongo saw the Australian’s run blocked on the edge of the box with the ball breaking through to Roberts. His ball across the face of the six-yard box found Rooney who smashed the ball home to make it 2-1 on the day, 3-2 on aggregate.
Inside three minutes of added first half time, Forrester almost added to the scoreline but his volley from the edge of the box was superbly saved by Foderingham.
Half-time: Brentford 2 (3) Town 1 (2)
Disaster struck for Town just two minutes into the second half with that man Donaldson at it again. The former Crewe striker broke clear of the Town defence and produced a typically cool finish, lifting the ball over the on-rushing Foderingham into the empty net. It was a body-blow for the Robins, who would have hoped to have built upon their strong finish to the first half.
Town manager MacDonald made a double switch six minutes into the second half with James Collins and Raffaele De Vita coming on in place of Rooney and Williams.
There was a double chance for Town just before the hour with substitute De Vita and Luongo denied with the ball running out for a corner. From the resulting set-piece Flint’s header was blocked with Joe Devera on hand to hammer home the loose ball. It was the required response from the Robins; 3-2 and game on.
Substitute Collins hooked a 65th minute cross from Devera wide before Brentford goalkeeper Moore gathered a downward header from Flint. Harlee Dean wasted an opportunity for the home side on 76 minutes but his left-footed swing found the back of the stand rather than the net.
The final throw of the dice from the Town management saw Miles Storey on in place of Ferry for the final ten minutes of normal time.
MacDonald’s men threw everything they had at the home side in the remaining time and scored the most dramatic of late equalisers. Having been denied seconds before, Roberts whipped in a corner from the left that was met by the head of Aden Flint and the big centre-half made no mistake, planting the ball beyond a host of red shirts on the line to send the away end bananas and send the tie into extra time.
F/T: Brentford 3 (4) Town 3 (4)
Town's task was made that much harder in extra time as full back Nathan Byrne was shown a red card after accumulating two yellows. Having been booked in the first half, the defender allowed Clayton Donaldson to muscle him off the ball before deliberately stopping the striker from advancing on goal with his hand.
As extra time went into the second period, the Bees set about making their man advantage count. Sam Saunders let fly from the edge of the area after being allowed to advance on goal but fizzed his effort narrowly wide.
The home side then went close to retaking the lead when Donaldson found himself one-on-one with Foderingham. The goalkeeper got a touch on his shot before Flint stretched out a telescopic right leg to hammer the ball to safety.
Foderingham was again on hand to deny Donaldson as the home side began to assert their authority on the ten men of Swindon.
F/T (AET): Brentford 3 (4) Town 3 (4)
Devera SCORES, Saunders SCORES
Flint SCORES, Hayes SCORES
Collins SCORES, Dean SCORES
Storey SAVED, Craig SCORES
Roberts SCORES, Forshaw SCORES
Brentford win 5-4 on penalties
Swindon Town: Wes Foderingham; Joe Devera, Aden Flint, Darren Ward, Nathan Byrne; Simon Ferry, Alan McCormack (Capt), Massimo Luongo, Gary Roberts; Adam Rooney, Andy Williams
Substitutes: Leigh Bedwell, Alan Navarro, Luke Rooney, James Collins, Tommy Miller, Miles Storey, Raffaele De Vita