United take their chances ...
Carlisle United took their chances and defended as a team as they turned out a winning performance from what was a very disciplined and organised display.
“We didn’t get this all our own way by any means but we’ve taken our chances and we’ve worked hard,” Greg Abbott said. “The lads have got their reward for that and they wanted this, particularly with the way we didn’t perform at all in our last home game. The crowd was roaring and cheering and I think they appreciated the effort they got from their team.
“The young lads are getting better all the time and the experienced players are doing their bit. The win was important, because we haven’t had one in a while, and it makes everyone feel that much better. We want points quickly and it’s determined and gritty performances like this which will push us on.”
The Bees appeared to settle into their game as they moved the ball around and the first chance of the game fell to Donaldson as he ran onto a flick inside the box. It rebounded off the unsighted Jordan Mustoe but the striker hooked his scissor-kick over the bar as he tried to catch Gillespie by surprise.
Stuart Dallas had a punt from distance as the Bees enjoyed the bulk of possession and Donaldson looked dangerous as he cut in from the right before letting fly with his left boot. It was a good connection but it was always going wide.
Captain Paul Thirlwell showed great awareness to stay with the play as Forshaw made it to the corner flag and his intervention was vital as an inviting cross had Trotta interested.
The Cumbrians weathered the early storm and started to utilise the width provided by Robson, back from a four-game injury absence, as he pushed deeper into the opposition half. A first time cross from a Berrett pass brought a ripple of applause as Mark Beck rose to try to guide it onto the target.
The home resolve was rewarded when Carlisle grabbed the lead with their first effort on target of the afternoon. McGovern was the provider as he dropped a free kick from deep onto the edge of the box. Big defender Sean O’Hanlon did the rest when he lobbed a teasing header over Moore and into the back of the net to register his first goal for the club.
The goal was the boost the blue shirts needed and they suddenly looked hungry as they threw men forward. Matt Robson went close with a deflected drive which bounced inches wide and Simon Moore showed why he is so highly rated when Carlisle peppered the box with a string of deliveries. A point-blank Beck header from a McGovern inswinger had to be parried instinctively and the big stopper somehow recovered to block the Robson follow-up on the line.
The Bees responded with a quick-fire break when Dallas fired the ball across the face of goal as he moved inside from the left. Trotta picked up the loose pieces as the ball bounced clear and Livesey had to react to prevent the goal-bound grass-cutter from finding the bottom corner.
Forshaw was next to test Gillespie when he brought a two-handed diving save from the keeper as he found space on the edge of the box. And Liam Moore should have done better for the promotion chasers when he found the ball at his feet, with the goal at his mercy. He had time to spare but he rushed his toe-poke and sent it into the stands.
Brentford should have been back on terms within moments of the second half restart when they broke from deep following a misplaced touch from Potts in their own box. A rapid break followed but Donaldson, in acres of space, could only place his header from a precise Craig cross wide of the mark.
He was made to pay for the miss when a defensive calamity allowed Brad Potts to surge into possession on the half way line. Teenage striker Mark Beck matched the run and he was rewarded with a slide rule pass which allowed him to grab goal number six for the season with a cool and crisp finish from the edge of the area.
The Bees were stung and they penned United in to their own half as they tried to make amends. Toumani Diagouraga followed the visiting theme of wasting their chances when he spun to create space on the penalty spot. The movement was good but the finish was well wide of the target.
Solid defending became the order of the Carlisle day as they restricted Brentford to hopeful efforts from distance, and they almost made the lead even more comfortable when Robson caught Dallas on the hop. He sprinted forward and it needed a brave block from Dean to prevent what would have been a very powerful shot from testing the target.
The game closed with James Berrett forging a path through from midfield and Moore was relieved to see the deflection off Craig spin harmlessly away.
The final whistle was greeted by an appreciative round of applause as United protected their impressive season-long statistic of never having lost a game in which they had taken the lead – twelve wins and five draws for that particular record – and gave themselves a timely boost of confidence ahead of Tuesday’s trip to table-topping Doncaster Rovers.
United - O'Hanlon (22), Beck (54)
United - Thirlwell (41)
Brentford - Dean (26), Wright-Phillips (87)
Carlisle United - Gillespie, Simek, Livesey, O'Hanlon, Mustoe, Berrett, Thirlwell, Potts, McGovern, Beck, Robson (Welsh 82). Subs - Collin, Murphy, Loy, Cadamarteri, Edwards, Symington.
Brentford - Moore, Forshaw (Adams 75), Craig, Dean, Douglas, Donaldson (Wright-Phillips 54), Trotta, Logan, Dallas, Diagouraga, Moore. Subs - Lee, Adeyemi, Hodson, Reeves, Hayes.
Referee - Mr Scott Duncan
Attendance - 3,858 (254 away fans)