Peacock struts his stuff to ruffle Brentford's feathers

Brentford 1 - Sheffield Wednesday 2: Sheff Wed win 3-1 on aggregate
Click to follow

Paul Sturrock moved within 90 minutes of reacquainting himself with Rupert Lowe, the Southampton chairman who sacked him last August, in next season's Championship after steering Sheffield Wednesday into the League One play-off final last night.

Lee Peacock doubled Wednesday's one-goal first-leg advantage midway through the first half at Griffin Park and a deflected free-kick from Chris Brunt early in the second period confirmed their place at the Millennium Stadium next Sunday, when they will face Hartlepool or Tranmere.

"I'm very pleased and proud," Sturrock said. "Wednesday have had 10 years in the doldrums and this gives us the opportunity to start getting up the league and where we should be."

Sturrock would not discuss the prospect of playing Southampton next season, but did say he was "gutted" at their relegation.

Wednesday deserved victory and ought to have settled the tie within 10 minutes. Some supporters were still drinking up in the four pubs that sit at each corner of Griffin Park when Jon-Paul McGovern, scorer of the only goal in the first leg, released Peacock down the centre. He had only Stuart Nelson to beat but the striker's abysmal first touch allowed the keeper to simply scoop up the ball.

More was soon required of Nelson with Glenn Whelan, from distance, and Richard Wood, from point-blank range, prompting fine saves.

Brentford sought to profit from these reprieves, but Sam Sodje's header was scrambled off the line. Then Deon Burton, after combining with Stuart Talbot, saw David Lucas make a stunning save to turn his 23rd-minute volley aside from Stewart Talbot's cross.

Two minutes later, Chris Hargreaves fouled Whelan 30 yards out. Paul Heckingbottom floated in the free-kick and Peacock, unmarked, headed his first goal since scoring here against Brentford in February.

The second goal came after Sodje fouled Craig Rocastle, nephew of the late David Rocastle. Brunt's shot struck Hargreaves and left Nelson stranded.

Brentford, in their 59th match of the season, rallied bravely but Andy Frampton's 88th-minute volley came too late."It's not a night to be disappointed, it's a night to be proud," said their manager, Martin Allen. "It's a fine achievement to get to the FA Cup fifth round and come fourth in this division."

While Brentford's supporters, after a fifth play-off failure in five attempts, have only a long summer of fund-raising to look forward to as they seek to secure the club's future Wednesday, though still £27m in debt, will now believe they are reviving.

Brentford (4-4-2): Nelson; Hutchinson (Rankin, h/t), Sodje (Salako, 89), Turner, Frampton; Pratley, S Talbot, Hargreaves, Tabb; Burton, Fitzgerald (Gayle, 58). Substitutes not used: Bankole (gk), Lawrence.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Lucas; Bruce, Bullen, Wood, Heckingbottom; McGovern, Rocastle (Adams, 90), Whelan, Hemshaw (Brunt, 42); Quinn (D Talbot, 86), Peacock. Substitutes not used: Collins, Adamson (gk).

Referee: T Leake (Lancashire).

Comments