Saints stung by Bees recovery
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Brentford produced a stunning fightback to claim a surprise 2-2 draw at Southampton.Brentford produced a stunning fightback to claim a surprise 2-2 draw at Southampton in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
The Premiership outfit seemed on course for a place in the quarter finals after Henri Camara gave them a comfortable cushion with two first half goals.
Isaiah Rankin brought the League One outfit back into the game five minutes before the interval and Sam Sodje's header in the second half set up a replay at Griffin Park, although Kevin Phillips had a late goal, possibly wrongly, disallowed.
Saints forged in front via the first attack of the match on four minutes as the visiting defence was cut to ribbons. Phillips slipped a clever pass through to Graeme Le Saux, who rolled the ball across the six-yard box for Camara to tap into an empty net.
Unfazed by the early setback, Brentford recovered their composure to be denied an equaliser on nine minutes by former Bees keeper Paul Smith. A long throw found its way to the far post but Deon Burton's thumping volley was beaten away by Smith.
The woodwork, and profligate finishing, spared Brentford on 21 minutes as Southampton wasted the chance to extend their advantage.
Calum Davenport's header, from Le Saux's corner, crashed off the underside of the crossbar but Peter Crouch meekly headed the rebound into the arms of Stuart Nelson as the goal beckoned.
A long throw from Southampton was next to cause a problem as Crouch put his height to good use to head Rory Delap's delivery towards goal but Nelson produced a fine scrambling save to keep the League One side in the game.
But fortune eluded The Bees on 36 minutes when Nelson's clearance ricocheted off Phillips and looped into the air. Crouch picked up the loose ball and played in Phillips, whose shot was pushed out by Nelson only for the alert Camara to tuck away the rebound.
Brentford commendably refused to wilt and they were back in the game five minutes before half time when Rankin burst into the box from the left and expertly curled his shot into the far corner of the net.
Rankin had an opening to draw the visitors level early in the second half when the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the area but the striker hit a tame shot straight at Smith through a posse of players.
A superb piece of defending kept Brentford in the game on 54 minutes as Phillips collected Camara's pass and shaped to shoot but he was thwarted by a robust block from Michael Turner.
Martin Allen's side remarkably levelled on 58 minutes as the industrious Jay Tabb reached the by-line before digging out a cross to the far post, which was headed in by Sodje from all of a yard out.
The Bees were invigorated by their equaliser and had a chance to take the lead when Andrew Frampton volleyed at Smith, while at the opposite end, Camara, scenting a hat-trick, was just wide with a quick-fire shot.
Shots were again traded as both teams chased a winner with Nelson pushing Phillips' curling attempt wide, while Smith comfortably gathered another volley from Frampton.
In the dying embers of the game, Brentford were indebted to Nelson, and the linesman's flag, for the chance to entertain Southampton at Griffin Park in a replay.
Neil McCann's outswinging corner was headed goalbound by Crouch and seemed destined for the net, only for a magnificent one-handed save from Nelson.
Saints kept the pressure on as Olivier Bernard curled the ball into the area, Phillips latched onto a knockdown and smashed a volley past Nelson but the goal was disallowed for offside, despite John Salako appearing to play the striker onside.
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