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Bees call in ref to end red card nightmare - 23/01/2004

   Wally Downes

BRENTFORD'S red card nightmare continued at Peterborough on Saturday with the dismissal of Ronnie Bull and, although it has since been rescinded, they will be in grave danger of relegation unless they can put a stop to the stream of sendings off.

So manager Wally Downes has asked referee's assessor Colin Downey, who lives in Hounslow, to come in this week to talk to the players about the current laws and referees' interpretation of them.

The Bees are now 19th in the Division Two table, only four points above the relegation places after setting an unwanted club record of ten red cards in a season (seven in the league), with four of them coming in the last four matches!

They were without the suspended Leo Roget and Joel Kitamirike following their red cards against Plymouth and Oldham respectively, and Stephen Evans will now be banned for the next three games as a result of his dismissal against Tranmere a week ago.

Fortunately, the on-loan Bull can carry on playing after referee Carl Boyeson this week amended his decision to send him off for a professional foul on Clive Platt in the 73rd minute to that of a caution.

Downes has hit out at referees rather than blame his players for lack of discipline. Asked about the overall problem, he said: "I can't afford to tell you the level of incompetence they're working at."

Brentford have now gone ten games without a victory and desperately need to win this Saturday's home league match against Wrexham (3pm) when they will be without both Evans and Roget, who is completing the second of his two-game ban.

The match against fellow strugglers Peterborough was dire, but at least Brentford managed to keep a clean sheet for the first time in 16 games going back to October 21.

Downes brought in Jay Smith for Roget and Matt Somner for injured skipper Michael Dobson, with Stephen Hunt taking on the captaincy.

Keeper Paul Smith, playing possibly his last game for Brentford before a big money transfer, made two fine saves from the menacing David Farrell, while Posh keeper Mark Tyler got to a hard drive from Tommy Wright.

Bull's sending off led to Barry Fry's men pushing forward in the last 20 minutes and substitute Richard Logan hit the post with a crisp shot.


Brentford: P. Smith; Somner, Frampton, Sonko, Bull; Rougier (O'Connor, 90mins), Evans, J. Smith, Hunt; May, Wright (Tabb, 86mins). Subs unused: Viander, Hughes, Peters.


Tony Flood

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