SWINDON Town beat second placed Brentford thanks to Louis Thompson’s goal just before half time, writes Adrian Smith
Town had earlier spurned a good opportunity to take the lead when Michael Smith’s penalty was saved by Brentford keeper David Button in the 15th minute and the visitors also had Adam Forshaw sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession midway through the second half.
Swindon Town lined up with 4 changes from the Carlisle match with Nathan Byrne, Raphael Rossi-Branco, Louis Thompson and Alex Pritchard replacing Lee Cox, Yaser Kasim, Alex Smith and Miles Storey.
The match kicked off at the symbolic time of 3.07pm because play was halted six minutes after the kick off in the 1989 FA Cup Semi Final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15th April 1989 when 96 supporters lost their lives at Hillsborough.
Swindon went straight on the attack from the kick off playing towards the Town End and were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal which was taken by Pritchard but his cross just evaded both Michael Smith and Raphael Rossi-Branco.
Brentford responded with a corner in the 4th minute and the resulting cross was eventually headed over by Tony Craig for a goalkick and shortly afterwards another attack saw Forshaw only inches away from connecting with a super b cross into the penalty area.
The visitors had another corner in the 5th minute which took the Town defence several attempts to clear and eventually the ball was picked up by Pritchard and he sent a superb defence splitting pass for Byrne to chase but he was denied by Alan McCormack , once of this parish.
McCormack was drawn into fouling Pritchard in the penalty area and the referee Brendan Malone immediately pointed to the spot but after some time wasting by the Brentford players, Michael Smith weak’s kick to the right of the Brentford keeper Button saw the ball pushed around the post at the expense of a corner. The visiting captain Tony Craig was shown a yellow card for protesting at the original award.
Marcello Trotta went close to scoring at a free kick in the 21st minute when he headed against the upright when the ball had been crossed from a free kick awarded against Stephens.
Jay McEveley was shown a yellow card for a late challenge in the 23rd minute as Brentford stepped up the pressure following their let off with the penalty.
Brentford went close to scoring when Trotta’s shot from the centre of the box struck a defender and although Foderingham was wrong footed, the ball went wide of the post for a corner which was cleared.
Brentford had two corners in quick succession but the pressure was eased when Luongo cleared downfield.
Jack Stephens put in a superb tackle to deny Trotta who was in on goal with the Town defender getting an important block in before clearing the ball out to the wing.
After withstanding some heavy pressure, Town earned a corner when McCormack flicked a cross behind from a Byrne cross but Douglas cleared the ball downfield when it was crossed.
Jay McEveley tried his luck from 20 yards in the 41st minute after some passing involving several Town players but his effort lacked power and was easily saved.
Alan McCormack popped up in attack for the visitors sending in a powerful cross which was flicked goalwards by Trotta but the ball went over the bar.
Swindon took a 45th minute lead thanks to a mistake by Jonathan Douglas who chested the ball down from a clearance by the keeper and the ball fell kindly for Louis Thompson who took several paces forward before firing under Button for his second goal in successive home matches. The Town midfielder celebrated wildly with the home in the Town End behind the goal.
The County Ground erupted in celebration which gave Town an extra edge and they had two corners in quick succession to pen Brentford back in their own half until the half time whistle was blown.
Brentford earned a corner early in the second half when McCormack’s cross was deflected behind by Rossi-Branco but they were unable to get a shot on goal and Rossi-Branco was eventually fouled.
Alan McCormack was cautioned in the 49th minute for impeding Louis Thompson who was about to launch an attack downfield.
Nathan Byrne did well to outpace the visitors defence on Town’s right wing and although he managed to chip the ball over the advancing keeper, it flew into the side netting.
Rossi-Branco was cautioned in the 55th minute for a foul on McCormack who angered the home crowd by gesturing for the referee to show a card.
Town’s first corner of the half was taken by McEveley to the back post where the ball was picked up by Pritchard but his cross was cleared by the defence.
Former Town player Diagouraga was replaced by George Saville in the 56th minute.
Town were saved by a fantastic save by Foderingham when he dived full length to push a goalbound shot from Saville away from goal and the Town keeper received a tremendous ovation from the Town faithful in the crowd of 9342.
Adam Forshaw was fortunate to only be shown a yellow card for a nasty looking tackle on Louis Thompson in the 64th minute although the Town goalscorer was able to continue after treatment.
Stuart Dallas replaced Trotta shortly afterwards and then Forshaw again committed a very late challenge on Rossi-Branco in front of the dugouts and this time he left the field when the referee brandished a yellow card for the second time in the 66th minute.
Town had a scare in the 70th minute when Jake Bidwell found himself in a good position in front of goal but his effort went inches wide of the upright.
The visitors were making light of the fact that they only had 10 players and continued to push Town back but eventually the Robins mounted a good attack which led to McEveley firing over with a dipping shot from 25 yards.
Ben Gladwin replaced Michael Smith in the 79th minute as Mark Cooper elected to shuffle his pack and hang on to the narrow one goal lead and Gladwin was soon pressurising the visiting defenders.
James Tarkowski fired wide with the goal at his mercy in the 81st minute following a Brentford corner when he seemed favourite to score.
Miles Storey replaced Pritchard in the 85th minute and he left the field to good applause for his efforts.
Town goalscorer Louis Thompson was named Sponsors Man of the Match during a break in play.
Will Grigg replaced Bidwell in the 87th minute as the visitors tried to get at least a point towards their promotion push.
The 4th official indicated that five minutes of added time would be played and shortly afterwards Town were gifted a corner by McCormack with a misdirected header which the keeper could not reach.
The short corner routine was wasted by Town and eventually Byrne was shown a yellow card for kicking the ball away at a throw in to the visitors.
Brentford had a corner deep in added time which eventually led to Foderingham catching the ball under his bar and there was a break in play when Rossi-Branco had to leave the field with cramp and he was replaced by Grant Hall returning from injury.
There was just time for Storey to launch an attack down the left wing before the final whistle was blown to end a good performance by Town who move onto 60 points from 42 matches and they stay in 7th place in League One.