Brentford manager Uwe Rosler paid tribute to talismanic captain Kevin O’Connor after his stoppage time penalty gave the Bees parity at Swindon in the play-off semi final first leg.
The Bees legend, known by most supporters as ‘King Kev’ was the man who should have taken the 94th minute penalty against Doncaster that would have won promotion – Marcello Trotta took the kick, missed and denied the dream, for now.
Incredibly, the same scenario repeated itself at the County Ground . This time, O’Connor took it and calmly slotted home, cancelling out Massimo Luongo’s 70th minute opener. After last week’s tragedy, it was a much-needed goal that gives all Bees hope of a date at Wembley on May 19 and Rosler was quick to praise the coolest man in Swindon . “Kevin is excellent,” Rosler said.
“He had not played for a long time but stepped up to the plate. It was a difficult situation for him as he was not playing many matches, but in all the games he looks very solid and does a great job.
“Obviously, in the end, he used all his experience and skills to convert the penalty and I’m very happy for him.”
Swindon made the stronger start looking to grab an early advantage in the tie and applied pressure to the Bees, winning corners and free-kicks in dangerous areas.
The home side looked to put pressure onto Harlee Dean, who was at fault for the Robins’ goal at Griffin Park in March – Brentford triumphed 2-1 that evening.
The defender was able to deal with corner kicks but twice suffered a mix-up with goalkeeper Simon Moore that created danger for the Bees.
They came close after 20 minutes when Gary Roberts saw his long-range strike deflect wide.
The visitors were able to see out the first 20 minutes and started to grow into the game themselves.
Brentford had a glorious chance to take the lead when Adam Forshaw was played through but his shot went across goal and agonisingly wide of the far post after some delicious build-up play from the Bees.
That did not stop Swindon and Moore was forced into making an excellent stop when Adam Rooney was played through and the two sides went in level at half-time.
The second half started in the same vein as the first with the Robins playing their high-intensity pressing game.
Jake Bidwell was required after 65 minutes to deny Rooney when it looked as if the Swindon striker could have a shot.
But minutes later the home side were in front as Luongo curled the ball home from 20 yards.