22nd December 1991
Gary's swan song
Brentford 3-0 Exeter City
GARY Blissett put his troubles behind him to sign off a turbulent 1991 with a two-goal salvo on Sunday. The Brentford striker begins a minimum three-match suspension tomorrow after being sent off for elbowing Torquay defender John Uzzell two weeks ago. The tackle still hangs like a storm cloud over the 27-year-old's career, as both FA and Devon Police study the video. But while Uzzell recovers from an operation to patch up his broken nose and cheekbone, Blissett has won over Bees fans with his tremendous attitute. Rather than let the saga affect his game, the striker has proved his mettle with two excellent performances. First Blissett proved his character by setting up goals for Luscombe and Holdsworth against Barnet. Then, on Sunday, he hit top gear with two strikes of his own in a solid 3-0 win against Exeter. His performance delighted manager Phil Holder, who has done everything he can to support the forward who recently signed a new two- year contract. Said Holder. "I thought he was tre- mendous and they were two great centre forward's goals. "He came off the pitch black and blue with some of the tackles coming in on him, but it is a man's game and he gave the right answer. It's a scandal what the Press are doing to him, but he's come through very well." Blissett will definitely miss the games against Orient tomorrow, Hartlepool on New Year's Day and Stockport the following Saturday. But he will have to wait to see if the FA extend the suspension for bringing the game into disrepute. Holder said the striker hoped to arrange a personal hearing with the FA, and expected it to be this week.
Back on the pitch, it was Blissett who gave Brentford the lead on Sunday in an entertaining match in front of more than 7,200 people. The breakthrough came when defender Jamie Bates sent in a fierce left-foot drive from just inside the area. Kevin Miller failed to hold on to the ball and Blissett pounced for 1-0. Ten minutes later the same combination struck, when Bates intercepted a clearance 45 yards out, moved forward and hit another blistering shot. Miller was once more unable to hold it, and Bliss swooped for his eighth goal this season. Exeter were proving no push overs at this stage, with both Evans and Smillie forced to clear off the line at the other end. But Luscombe almost made it three when he burst through two tackles, only to see his final shot slide narrowly wide. After the break Exeter had much of the play, but with man of the match Keith Millen was in suprerb form for Brentford. Paul Wimbleton did hit the bar with a cracking drive, but when Marcus Gayle came off the bench it was all over. The winger picked up the ball just inside the penalty area and lashed home a tremendous drive for 3-0. Afterwards a delighted Holder was able to look back on a vital vic- tory, which should restore confi- dence after last week's traumas.