It was a balmy night out in Sheffield, the air thick with anticipation, of a game that could go a long way to deciding issues at the summit of League 1.
Both sides came into the match on the back of weekend wins, T’Blades having beaten Swindon and Uwe’s Bees buzzing after the sensational Portsmouth game.
1,400 Bees packed into the lower stand of the Jessica Ennis stand were in fine voice long before kick-off.
Drowning out the home side’s unique song about chip butties, the atmosphere was electric.
Uwe made an interesting midfield change with young Jake Reeves starting in place of Dougie, who by his absence from the squad must have been in need of a rest.
From the first minute Brentford looked to play football against a Sheffield United side who in their managers image, looked content to simply stop us from playing be it by kicking players or in the case of Dave Kitson being rather odious.
Their game plan wasn’t working however as the passing game that has become known and loved to the travelling faithful in the last few months was still on display.
A golden opportunity presented itself when Clayton raced onto a through ball and poked a shot towards goal, only to be hauled down leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.
After what seemed like an eternity Marcello Trotta was finally given his moment and duly obliged, not the best struck penalty ever but they all count.
Scenes in the away end were fantastic, a mixture of relief, belief and passion for a team and club. 1-0 was the way that the half ended with cause for optimism for the visitors.
Shortly after the break however football seemed to be forgotten about for the remainder of the evening as The Keith Stroud Show began.
An incident that nobody saw, occurring as it did some 40 yards away from where the ball was being contested, gave Stroud his opportunity, penalty to the home side, and the piece de resistance, straight red card for Tony Craig.
Sheffield’s answer to Terry Butcher stepped up to the spot, egged on by a highly vocal support. However to the delight of the Bees fans a thunderous drive cannoned back off the bar.
This miss took the spot light away from Stroud, how dare this hapless professional footballer be the centre of attention, did he not know he was in the presence of a legend? Did he not know who Keith Stroud is, this can’t be allowed, and as a result the rest of the game descended into farce.
A few minutes later, a cross was nodded down, for reasons best known to himself Lee Hodson lead with his hand, a second penalty to the home side and more time for people to talk about Keith Stroud which is after all what the evening was about, everyone knew that right?
A further few minutes elapsed until the next incident, which by the standards of what had followed it was a fairly uncontroversial one.
A cross into a crowded area was met by the uncompromising, unsporting head of nobody’s favourite ginger Dave Kitson who did what lumps like him so often do and find a way of scoring goals thus masking what a nasty piece of work he appears to be.
This spurred The Bees back into life, helped by the introduction of Sam Saunders, Kevin O’Connor and Bradley Wright-Phillips as second half substitutes.
These proved to be inspired changes to a degree, the only sour note for any of the three replacement arrived when Clayton was used as a climbing frame by a centre back which brought the latest episode of the Keith Stroud Show, as it allowed him to again take centre stage, pointing for a fourth penalty of the match and showing a second red card in what hadn’t really been that dirty of a game.
Anyone who had finally forgotten Stevenage away last season was given a timely reminder of it, as Sam stood confidently over the ball, chest puffed out in a Beckhamesque stance, only for the kick to be saved by the keeper in what must be credited as impressive style.
If anyone thought this would be the end of the incident they were to be proven wrong as once again in a move that was now becoming as predictable as it was repetitive Referee of The Year (in his own head) Stroud again was in the spotlight.
A fifty-fifty challenge which Clayton appearing to stumble just as he was going for, resulted in a second yellow, having been booked for apparently preferring to have a closer look at the pitch instead of score his 23rd goal of the season in the first half.
It seemed that the home side were going to take the spoils and did their fans know about it, in the most sing when you’re winning way imaginable. Now against most sides they may have and probably would have been right to think theyd won, seconds left of normal time, playing against 9 men, what could go wrong?
Their mistake was thinking that this Brentford side know when they’re beaten, they simply don’t. BWP picked up a short pass and headed for the area, ghosting into it with ease as the home defence stood back and watch as he bent a low drive into the far corner of the net.
The away end was a mass of bodies floating around in ecstasy; this incredible team had managed to rescue an equaliser much to the chagrin of Jessica Ennis and her fellow Blades.
6 minutes of stoppage time did give both sides opportunity to score a fifth and decisive goal, the closest either came forced Simon Moore into a fantastic save. When the full time whistle finally sounded, it was the Bees in full voice.
We now move on to Hartlepool, who are already relegated giving them nothing but pride to play for, hopefully this will mean they’ll play with freedom and not sit back and try to stop us scoring.
It’s still in our hands, we know what we need to do and, even without Clayton we’ve hopefully got enough to do it. #beelieve and we can achieve