Stevenage 2 Brentford 1
Brentford saw their playoff hopes all but extinguished as they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Stevenage at the Lamex Stadium on Saturday, writes Simon Webster.
Despite being awarded two penalties before falling behind, the Bees failed when it mattered most as neither Clayton Donaldson nor Sam Saunders could convert from the spot.
With the large travelling support getting behind the Bees, it was a competitive opening quarter of an hour as both sides strived to get the opening goal in a game both simply had to win.
After Brentford carved out a chance down the left, Saunders sent in a low bobbling shot, which Chris Day took comfortably at his near post.
When Adam Thompson gave the ball away, Michael Bostwick picked it up and fired in a low shot that sailed just wide of Simon Moore's left hand post.
Stevenage threatened again when Luke Freeman picked the ball up in his own half and carved his way through the Bees half before shooting wide of Moore's left hand post.
The first half's pivotal moment came when Jamaal Lascelles bundled over Clinton Morrison inside the box, but Donaldson saw his penalty strike the crossbar.
Freeman missed a good chance to put his side ahead when the ball fell to him just outside the 'D', but he shot wide.
A patient build up from Brentford saw play switched from right to left flank, where some trickery from Jake Bidwell found Saunders, who teed up Jonathan Douglas, but he blazed wide.
There was high drama only three minutes into the second half when Donaldson burst into Stevenage's box and was bundled over for another penalty. This time Saunders took responsibility, but hit the post and the ball was gathered by Day.
The Bees paid the price almost immediately when Stevenage broke down the right and after the ball was played into the box Reid fired home from ten yards out.
Stevenage extended their lead after Thompson was dispossessed on the right and Freeman picked up the ball and fired in a shot from 25 yards which cannoned off the post and into the net.
Substitute Harry Forrester made an instant impact as he broke down the right and crossed to the back post, where Saunders connected with the ball but was denied by the foot of Day.
Saunders pulled one back with a minute remaining when he curled a free kick from 25 yards into the top left corner, but it proved too little too late for the Bees.
Brentford: Moore, Thompson (sub Forrester 64), Dean, Osborne (sub Legge 77), Bidwell; Douglas, Diagouraga, Logan, Saunders; Donaldson, Morrison
Subs (not used): Bean, McGinn, Balkestein
Attendance: 4256 (1231 Bees)
Man of the Match: Jake Bidwell
Goals: Saunders 90
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