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Blues stay in title hunt after six-goal top of the table thriller
4:59pm Saturday 14th March 2009 in Local Sport
Brentford 3, Wycombe 3.
JOHN AKINDE scored twice on his debut to keep Wanderers in the League Two title race.
The striker who arrived on a month's loan from Bristol City on Thursday hit a double for the Blues who were twice behind, then in front before the Bees snatched an equaliser with ten minutes left.
It was hammer blow for the Blues who had to play the last third of the game with ten men after midfielder Tommy Doherty was sent off for an elbow on David Hunt.
In a rumbustious game the Blues chose just the right time to find their scoring boots and shake off their major wobble as they rose to the occasion in front of 10, 642 fans which included 1,661 from Buckinghamshire.
So often the big clashes don't live up to the hype but this full-blooded derby provided thrills and spills by the bucketload.
The Blues who held a nine point lead at Christmas went into the game trailing Andy Scott's side by seven points after a dramatic swing in fortunes and in keeping with the season fortunes see-sawed from end to end during an exhausting 90 minutes.
Boss Peter Taylor rang the changes going for solidity rather than flair as he tried to stop a rampant Brentford side who made it nine games unbeaten with this gripping draw.
Out went Chris Zebroski and Matt Phillips and in came Lewwis Spence and John Mousinho to face his former club.
There was also a big change in goal with Jamie Young dropped and replaced by new on-loan signing Marek Stech from West Ham.
But the highly-rated Czech was picking the ball out of his net after just 90 seconds as Wanderers endured a nightmare start.
They failed to deal with David Hunt's corner and when Alan Bennett won it Jordan Rhodes was the first to pick up the pieces and toe the ball into the back of the Wycombe net.
Wanderers could have been three down inside the first ten minutes. Stech needed two attempts to deal with a Charlie MacDonald stinger and then Gary Holt almost headed Bennett's hooked shot into his own net.
But Blues withstood the hammering and levelled with a goal from debutant Akinde on 15 minutes.
Bees keeper Ben Hamer wouldn't have been happy with his punch from Chris Casement's inswinging corner and when Doherty returned the ball from the far side of the box there was the on-loan Bristol City frontman to head home.
Akinde then showed he is handy on the floor as well muscling his way past two defenders before setting up Lewwis Spence whose shot was deflected just wide.
It was pulsating stuff and former Bee Matt Harrold thought he had given Wanderers the lead but Sam Wood cleared his header off the line.
Then, Bees keeper Hamer dealt unconvincingly with a Casement shot but before the crowd could draw breath the Bees regained the lead thanks to some woeful Wycombe defending.
There was no communication in defence and as the players seemed more intent on jostling with each other they all left the ball and Hunt's free kick went straight in past the bemused Stech.
It was a nightmare start for the glovesman as he was twice let down by the men in front of him, but his Brentford counterpart Hamer was having an equally bad day.
He was lucky to escape when he slammed a drop kick straight into Harrold's back but, having survived that, he was beaten again on 41 minutes as the Bees were undone by another Wycombe corner.
Woodman's flag kick was headed on by a Bees defender and former Brentford man John Mousinho got above Ryan Dickson to head home past the defender on the line.
Brentford appealed for a push, but the referee Mr P Taylor, was having none of it and Blues were level tom the delight of their own Mr P Taylor.
Job done, Mousinho was replaced at half time by Matt Phillips while the Bees withdrew Ryan Dickson and replaced him with Brett Johnson.
Annd the Bees newboy had a nightmare introduction. His first touch was uncertain and Akinde pounced. He robbed him of the ball, then streaked down the flank bursting past Bennett, before drawing the keeper and coolly slotting past him to put Blues in front after 47 minutes.
Brentford who have lost just once at home all season weren't going to give that record up without a fight and Stech needed to produce a flying save to push Mark Phillips' header out for a corner.
The pace was unrelenting and the tackles and the card count continued to rise. The Blues knew it was going to be backs to the wall stuff when they were reduced to ten men on 67 minutes when The Doc was sent off for an elbow on Hunt.
Substitute Phillips was sacrificed after only coming on at half time with Taylor bringing on 6ft 7ins man mountain Luke Oliver to help repel the Brentford avalanche.
The ten held out until ten minutes from time. Craig Woodman looked to have saved the danger when he made a great tackle in the box to rectify Will Antwi's first mistake of the afternoon, but the ball came out to Sam Williams who slammed in the Bees equaliser.
Stech, who got better and better, as the day went on then had to save on his line as the Bees sensed victory against the ten men.
Bees did the force the ball into the net on 88 minutes but although most of their fans didn't see it the linesman's flag was already raised for offside.
Wanderers were under siege and they did not want to see the four minutes extra time board.
Chris Casement survived a penalty appeal and Stech had to be brave and strong to hold onto a Hunt effort under pressure.
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