Talbot ends Hinckley's FA Cup voyage

Brentford 2 Hinckley United 1
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The Independent Football

It took a penalty and a red card, but Brentford finally saw off a tenacious Hinckley last night to progress to the third round of the FA Cup and an away tie at Luton. As they had 10 days ago, the Knitters frustrated the League One side, but their Cup run finally unraveled when Brad Piercewright was sent off for a blatant goal-line handball seven minutes into the second half.

It took a penalty and a red card, but Brentford finally saw off a tenacious Hinckley last night to progress to the third round of the FA Cup and an away tie at Luton. As they had 10 days ago, the Knitters frustrated the League One side, but their Cup run finally unraveled when Brad Piercewright was sent off for a blatant goal-line handball seven minutes into the second half.

Brentford showed only the odd glimmer of their superior quality in the first half, but once the Conference North side had negotiated a nervous opening, they were rarely troubled.

Tommy Whittle, the Hinckley goalkeeper, can take credit for a remarkable block from Alex Rhodes when the winger seemed sure to convert Jay Tabb's square pass after six minutes, but Tabb had only himself to blame five minutes later when he failed to make contact with Kevin O'Connor's cross.

Tabb and Rhodes were Brentford's brightest players after that, but it is indicative of how they struggled to penetrate Hinckley's five-man defence that they were reduced to snap-shots from unlikely positions. Hinckley's resistance was neither orthodox nor pretty but, as they did in the first game, they consistently got bodies in the way and Rhodes will not forget in a hurry a bone-shuddering challenge from Brad Piercewright.

If that tackle was a throwback to another age, so too was Piercewright's reaction when, with Whittle grounded, Tabb floated a shot goalwards. With the ball dipping under the bar, Piercewright stretched out an arm, pushed the ball away and was sent off. John Salako had missed from the spot at Middlefield Lane, but Rhodes calmly sent Whittle the wrong way.

Hinckley equalised two minutes later, Richard Lavery meeting Jamie Lenton's free-kick at the back-post with a firm side-foot volley. Their hope, though, was short lived. Within two minutes Brentford had regained the lead, Ben May touching on for Stewart Talbot to score.

Hinckley refused to accept the inevitable, and could have forced extra-time had Tommy Goodwin made firmer contact in the last minute. With that, Brentford's edgy evening came to an end.

Brentford (4-4-2): Nelson; O'Connor, Sodje, Myers, Salako; Tabb, Talbot (Hutchinson, 90), Hargreaves, Rhodes; May (Harrold, 85), Burton (Rankin, 63). Substitutes not used: Julian (gk), Osborne.

Hinckley Utd (5-3-2): Whittle; Willis, Storer (Goodwin, 82), Piercewright, Cartwright, Lenton; Lavery, Dyer, Burns (McMahon, 78); Lewis, Barnes (Marrison, 68). Substitutes not used: Pitham, Di Gregorio.

Referee: P Crossley (Bromley).

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