Date: 12th May 2006 at 1:34pm
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Sam Ricketts’ 87th equaliser last night could prove to be vital on Sunday as the sides are now all square ahead of the 2nd leg.

It was looking as if we were going to face an up hill struggle on Sunday at Griffin Park but that task has been made slightly easier.



Before the game, I was hoping we’d keep a clean sheet and win the game but early on there was evidence that Brentford were tough competitors.

With just over 19,000 at the Liberty Stadium, Jackett named an unchanged side to the one that beat Chesterfield 4-0 last Saturday so we lined up:

Gueret

Tate – Monk – Austin – Ricketts

Britton – Robinson – Tudur-Jones – MacDonald

Knight – Fallon

It was the visitors that started much the better side with neat passing as we found it difficult to regain possession.



The defence yet again sat too deep offering the Bees too much time and space in the final third and when we were winning back possession, our midfield was non-existant and contributed little in the first half.

The youngster Jay Tabb was causing us all sorts of problems in midfield and to be fair he scored a deserved goal for the visitors on the half-hour mark.

With Tate slow getting back to mark Sam Tillen, Monk was faced with the impossible job of trying to defend against 2 players. Tillen recieved the ball on the left before pulling the ball back to Tabb who was also unmarked inside the penalty area. As a crowd of Swans players tried to block his view at goal with Gueret wrong-footed, he clearly slotted the ball low into the bottom corner.

Tate’s crossing today was far from his usual standard as balls were always flying over Fallon and Knight in the box as chances were being wasted when we had the opportunity.



Much improvement then was needed for the second half and that’s what we saw from the players.

Despite some impressive performances lately, the big occasion looked too much for young Shaun and he was replaced by Forbes at the start of the second half.

After a controlled first half from the Bees, Swansea dominated possession throughout the second half as Brentford looked happy to defend their 1-goal advantage.

Ricketts and Forbes forced good saves from the keeper but his time on the pitch was up after 8 minutes when he brought down Leon Knight a yard outside the box.

Owain Tudur-Jones made a big improvement from his poor first half showing. He got more involved made a great lobbed pass onto Knight and has he tried to flick the ball over the on-rushing keeper, he stuck a leg out as the striker dived to the ground.

The biggest cheer of the day came when the ref showed him the red card as Robbo stepped up for the free kick which was deflected for a corner.

Their replacement goalkeeper looked as if he hadn’t kicked a ball for months as Rankin was the unlucky one to be replaced.

Jackett made another change, replacing Knight with Trundle but unlike everyone around me, I didn’t think this was a worthwhile change.

Our pattern of play then was to get the ball out wide to the left to Forbes and Ricketts but their crosses were always either too deep or they failed to get past the front post. We weren’t doing a lot from the opposite flank either.

Trundle had a half chance as he found some space and after ignoring the unmarked Forbes to his left, he shot at goal which was comfortably saved.

As time went on I couldn’t see us scoring but we did with just 3 minutes left remaining. Ricketts on the left went inside on his right foot and his shot was deflected into the bottom corner sending the home fans into raptures.

Akinfenwa replaced Fallon at the end as went to get a second but it wasn’t to be as we now go into another tense tie as we travel to Griffin Park on Sunday for the second leg.

It’ll be a tough task against a good side away from home but that vital equaliser makes it that little bit easier.

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Allen to appeal against red card:
Kenny Jackett:


That goal is a lifeline and gives us something to build on.

‘It was a very important goal – but with the pressure we had and the shots, there was a goal there for us. We did deserve that.

‘It sets it all up for Sunday – although with home advantage, they probably do have a slight advantage.’

Martin Allen:
‘I didn’t think the referee gave us any protection for the amount of tackles from behind on our centre-forwards in the first half.

‘I thought there should have been numerous yellow cards. But there was no protection, and the referee got carried away with the atmosphere and gave us nothing.

‘We passed the ball well and controlled the game. Up until the sending-off, we were in control.’

Allen to appeal against red card:
‘Andy Frampton was clearly going to get to the ball first after it was touched past Stuart Nelson,’

‘After watching the sending-off on video on the bus on the way home, I have decided to appeal against the decision and I am confident the decision will be overturned,’

‘Stuart will be available for this Sunday as the Appeal Committee cannot sit until Monday.’