THE first half hour didn’t make for pleasant viewing.
But there was a happy ending as gutsy Huddersfield Town moved up through the gears to conjure a comeback win and return to League I’s automatic promotion places.
Lee Clark’s side went into Saturday’s Sky-televised teatime clash knowing victory would hoist them into second spot above Sheffield United, who had already been beaten at leaders Charlton.
And there was added encouragement from Hillsborough and Meadow Lane, where promotion rivals Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons were held to draws by Hartlepool and Notts County respectively.
But conditions at the Galpharm were made awkward by a swirling wind, and boss Clark was forced to tweak his plans late on after striker Lee Novak was ruled out by an ankle injury picked up in training on the eve of the game.
It meant a start for Alan Lee – and what an important contribution the big man was to make as Town earned their second double of the season after crushing Wycombe 6-0 in front of the Sky cameras 15 days previously.
Town were up against it after going two down within half an hour.
Brentford’s bank of three in midfield, ex-Leeds player Jonathan Douglas, mobile Marcus Bean and forceful Frenchman Toumani Diagouraga, had a firm grip.
And the visitors had forced five corners by the time much-travelled Gary Alexander put them in front with a 21st-minute penalty.
The award by Colin Webster was a touch soft, because while Peter Clarke did make contact with his hands as Bean ran onto Douglas’s pass, it was of the type often ignored by referees.
But former Millwall, Leyton Orient and Hull man Alexander made no mistake from the spot, sending Ian Bennett the wrong way and ending Town’s hopes of as third straight shut-out.
There was worse to come as Alexander doubled his tally and made it 11 goals for the season eight minutes later.
Douglas was again involved, gaining possession from a Town throw-in and setting up on-loan Celtic man Niall McGinn, who beat Gary Naysmith and crossed for Alexander to volley home from close range.
And a minute later, it might easily have been three.
This time Douglas sent in Bean, who had only Bennett to beat but was thwarted as the veteran keeper showed great reactions to smother.
Little had been seen of Town as an attacking force, but that was to change in a 15-minute spell either side of half-time.
Danny Ward was starting to get the better of on-loan Everton left-back Jake Bidwell, winning a 40th-minute free-kick which he delivered for Gary Roberts to lash in a shot which Richard Lee tipped against the bar.
The ball was hacked away for a corner which Ward flighted in.
Dale Bennett, the right-back on loan from Watford, could only loop an attempted clearing header up into the air and Lee, having grabbed the winner against Oldham the week before, nodded home his 100th league goal.
It was hotly disputed by Brentford, who claimed Lee had fouled his namesake between the posts, but Webster signalled a goal, and stuck to his decision after discussions with assistant Darren Handley.
Now it was Brentford on the back foot, and Town levelled two minutes into the four added onto the first half, with Ward crossing for centre-back Jamie McCombe to head home his first goal of the campaign.
The momentum was maintained at the start of the second half, with Roberts hitting the bar for a second time before Rhodes made it 28 for the season with a sublime 50th-minute finish.
Latching onto a lovely pass by Ward, he held off the challenge of German defender Marcus Eger on the left-hand side of the penalty area, feigned as if to shoot left footed then realigned himself to beat Lee with a low diagonal right-foot shot.
Both sides used all three permitted substitutions, with Brentford bringing on Bradfordian frontman Clayton Donaldson and also introducing Myles Weston, who shot narrowly wide in the 68th minute, and Harry Forrester.
Town replaced Roberts with Danny Cadamarteri, then bolstered their midfield as Anton Robinson took over from Lee. To add extra steel, Tom Clarke came on at right-back with Jack Hunt pushing up at the expense of Ward, whose influence had been vital.