Bullock sinks Brentford

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The Independent Online
Brentford 1

Huddersfield Town 1

(2-2 on aggregate after extra time; Huddersfield win 4-3 on penalties)

Brentford's hope of reaching Wembley for the fourth time in their history disappeared at Griffin Park last night as they lost 4-3 on penalties to Huddersfield Town after 120 minutes of frantic and largely unfruitful effort failed to separate them in their Second Division play-off semi- final.

When Patrick Scully missed Huddersfield's second penalty, the balance appeared to have tilted the way of the home side, but then Denny Mundee's apparently casual effort was blocked by Huddersfield's Steve Francis, and when Brentford's captain and player of the year, Jamie Bates, sent the last home penalty into Francis's legs, it was left to Huddersfield's Darren Bullock to send his side through with a shot in off a post.

For Neil Warnock, Huddersfield's manager, it was a third successive victory in a play-off semi-final after his previous experiences with Notts County.

For David Webb, Brentford's manager, it was a sadder story. "It's cruel for our boys," he said. "I've got a dressing room full of young players who've got 85 points this season and they look as if they've just been relegated. We've played 46 league games this season and I just think it's enough. It's not sour grapes. I've been saying this about the play-offs for years. I think it's time we gave the game back to the players."

Brentford's achievement in finishing runners-up would have earned them automatic promotion in other years, but Premiership reorganisation dictated otherwise for 1994/95, and their status as moral victors was of no use in a match of high anxiety.

The home side, who had missed several chances in gaining a 1-1 draw in Saturday's first leg, took the lead after 18 minutes when Paul Stephenson was felled in the box by a combination of Simon Trevitt and Lee Duxbury. Martin Grainger scored from the spot. However, their lead lasted just 13 minutes until Andrew Booth hooked home his 29th goal of the season, after Kevin Dearden had been unable to hold a Lee Sinnott free-kick.

After celebrating with their travelling supporters, Huddersfield's players sprayed their followers with champagne and hurled their shirts on to the terraces. They will be a force at Wembley.

Brentford (4-4-2): Dearden; Statham, Bates, Ashby, Grainger; Abrahams (Mundee, 56), Ratcliffe, Smith, Stephenson; Forster, Taylor. Substitutes not used: Hutchings, Fernandes (gk).

Huddersfield Town (4-4-2): Francis; Trevitt, Sinnott, Scully, Cowan; Billy, Duxbury, Bullock, Crosby (Dunn, 80); Booth, Jepson. Substitutes not used: Collins, Blackwell (gk).

Referee: P Foakes (Clacton).