Saints succumb to Sodje's law

Southampton 2 - Brentford 2
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The Independent Football

Brave Brentford came back from two goals down to earn an FA Cup fifth-round replay with Isaiah Rankin and Sam Sodje their goalscoring heroes after Henri Camara had apparently given Southampton a commanding lead with two early tap-ins.

Brave Brentford came back from two goals down to earn an FA Cup fifth-round replay with Isaiah Rankin and Sam Sodje their goalscoring heroes after Henri Camara had apparently given Southampton a commanding lead with two early tap-ins.

Camara struck after just three minutes and again after 35 as the Saints looked to be cruising into the quarter-finals.

But Rankin's stunning solo strike five minutes from the break and Sodje's far-post header after 57 minutes crowned a superb fightback by the League One side.

Southampton manager Harry Redknapp added fit-again Kevin Phillips to his front line of Peter Crouch and Camara.

Matt Oakley was recalled in place of Jamie Redknapp while the Bees were forced to go in without injured Alex Rhodes, Chris Hargreaves, Kevin O'Connor and Andy Myers.

Brentford tested their former keeper Paul Smith with a cross from ex-England veteran John Salako but they found themselves a goal down in less than four minutes.

Camara slotted into an empty net for his third in three games since signing from Celtic after Graeme Le Saux stripped the visitors' defence bare with a purposeful run down the left to provide a perfect low cross.

It was not exactly the start the League One side had dreamed about and they had showed their intent when Camara was clattered by Sam Sodje in the first minute.

Brentford battled back and Deon Burton, once with Redknapp at Portsmouth, should have equalised in the ninth minute. A flick-on from a free-kick left him with only Smith to beat at the far post but the keeper came out to block the half-volley.

Le Saux's corner in the 21st minute almost provided Saints with a second goal, Calum Davenport rising head and shoulders above all challengers to put his header against the crossbar. Crouch homed in on the rebound but nodded wide.

A penetrating run by Rory Delap produced a Camara header which keeper Stuart Nelson pushed away for a corner.

But Southampton kept control and went ahead with Camara's second tap-in after 36 minutes. Crouch made it with a through-ball to Phillips whose shot was knocked away by Nelson but only as far as Camara who knocked the ball into an empty net.

However, the Bees refused to lie down and a brilliant solo run and shot by Isaiah Rankin brought them back into it five minutes before the break. The former Arsenal striker left two defenders in his wake with a thrusting left-wing run before cutting in and beating Smith with a low drive in off the far post.

Saints looked like they would wrap up victory with a bright start to the second half but they were lucky to escape when Rankin spurned a clear chance to equalise, scuffing a shot from 12 yards when unmarked in the 50th minute.

But seven minutes later after solid defending denied Crouch and Camara, Brentford grabbed a stunning equaliser when Sodje went up for a long cross by Jay Tabb and nodded it over the line at the far post.

Saints were stunned but could have fallen behind when both Andrew Frampton and Tabb tested Smith with low shots. A booking for Le Saux was a sign of Saints' frustration and he was replaced later by Neil McCann.

Nelson anxiously watched a Crouch lob just about skim the crossbar as Southampton tried to regain control of proceedings.

Camara bent a low shot just wide and Michael Turner made a superb tackle to stop Phillips after initially playing him onside.

Nelson pushed away at full stretch from a Phillips effort and the striker was offside when netting with the last kick of the match, as the League One outfit held on for a replay.

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