Noades stops the rot

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The Independent Football

Brentford's promotion challenge is not exactly back on course, but the point they earned yesterday against Lawrie Sanchez's high-flying and still unbeaten Wycombe Wanderers will go some way towards restoring Bees' pride.

Brentford's promotion challenge is not exactly back on course, but the point they earned yesterday against Lawrie Sanchez's high-flying and still unbeaten Wycombe Wanderers will go some way towards restoring Bees' pride.

Ron Noades, chairman, financial backer and manager of Brentford since he took over the club two summers ago following his multi-million pound sale of Crystal Palace to Mark Goldberg, had a difficult week. Usually a chairman can take a backward step and go on holiday in the Bahamas when things are not going according to plan, but Noades can afford no such luxuries. Having lost 6-2 to Bristol Rovers at Braemar Road on Monday, perhaps Noades the chairman called in Noades the manager to express his disquiet. Neither would comment, although it is believed that Noades' managerial role is safe and he has the full backing of his chairman.

Yesterday, Noades the manager trusted his instincts and his players. Nine of the team who were so soundly beaten on Monday started against Wycombe. Tony Folan was one of the players to pay the price of the débâcle and he was relegated to the bench.

Brentford responded well. Their back four looked far more secure and dealt comfortably with the visitors' rare first-half attacks. Only a stinging left-foot drive from Wycombe's wonderfully named Jermaine McSporran caused any significant panic seven minutes before the interval. The shot was palmed away by Brentford's goalkeeper, the equally interestingly named Olafur Gottskalksson.

Brentford's midfield, intelligently marshalled by the club captain Paul Evans, harried constantly and caused their Wycombe counterparts problems throughout. Early pressure nearly paid off when a perfectly flighted corner from Simon Marsh was met by the head of the towering Andy Scott and crashed against the bar before bouncing to safety.

Minutes later, Mark McCammon attempted to back-heel the ball into the net, only for his somewhat over-ambitious effort to trickled harmlessly out of play.

Two minutes after the restart, Brentford nearly threw away the good work when Marsh's clumsy tackle on Danny Senda, just inside the area, gifted Wycombe a penalty. Wanderers' usual taker Sean Divine is out injured for the season so it fell to Steve Brown. His left-foot effort was hopelessly inadequate and comfortably saved by Gottskalksson.

At least the incident brought the game to life with both teams responding with open and attacking football. Neither team were sharp enough in the final third, although McSporran's aggressive running caused the home defence some problems.

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