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Match Report

 

Posted Mon 07 Aug 06 at 12:37 PM

BRENTFORD 1 BLACKPOOL 0

A masterful display from a debutante goalkeeper and a first Brentford goal from Oli Skulason meant that Brentford began the 2006-07 season with a 1-0 win over Blackpool.

After a difficult first half when Clark Masters, making his first Bees' appearance between the sticks due to the suspension of Stuart Nelson, was made to work hard Brentford fully deserved the three points.

The crucial goal came with 15 minutes remaining when substitute Sam Tillen swung over a cross from the left, Calum Willock challenged Blackpool goalkeeper Rhys Evans and the ball dropped to Skulason, who bundled it over the line.

That was the least Brentford deserved for a fine display in blistering heat at Griffin Park. With Adam Griffiths also missing through suspension Matt Heywood and Andrew Frampton were paired in central defence with Darius Charles selected at left back.

The new-look Bees defence were under pressure early on when Michael Jackson fired over from a Rory Prendergast corner when it looked easier to score.

Jackson came even closer midway through the half when his header from a Keigan Parker free kick cannoned off a post.

New skipper Kevin O'Connor and Frampton were also required to block efforts from Scott Vernon and David Fox.

But it was Masters who was Brentford's main man, he saved well from a Paul Tierney thunderbolt and the blocked superbly with his legs when Vernon raced onto a Keith Southern throughball and had only the young stopper to beat.

That the score was blank at the break owed much to Masters and he produced an even better stop just after the break when Adrian Forbes danced through the home defence and shot low but the Bees' custodian was equal to it, palming away at full stretch.

Brentford had worked hard in the first half, Alex Rhodes, who partnered Willock in attack, had a shot deflected over and Frampton fired a volleyed off target but after the break The Bees gained the upper hand.

A marvellous move involving O'Connor, Paul Brooker and Thomas Pinault created space for O'Connor to cross, Rhodes picked up a loose ball and knocked it to Skulason whose overhead effort fell perfectly for Gavin Tomlin but the substitute failed to make contact at the far post.

Rhodes fired a shot narrowly wide moments before Skulason broke the deadlock and the Icelandic midfielder headed over soon after.

The Bees were comfortable at the other end with Heywood commanding in the air and Frampton assured alongside him.

One minor alarm was averted when Heywood produced a great tackle to deny Parker but Masters had few other scares and finished his debut as man-of-the-match, with a clean sheet and, most importantly, three points.

Brentford: Masters; O'Connor, Heywood, Frampton, Charles; Brooker (sub Tillen 63 mins), Skulason, Pinault, Kuffour (sub Tomlin 52 mins); Willock, Rhodes

Subs (not used): Osborne, Ide, Moore

Goal: Skulason (75 mins)

Booked: Charles (41 mins), Brooker (55 mins)

Blackpool: Evans; Joseph, Jackson, Barker, Tierney (sub Coid 75 mins); Forbes, Fox, Southern, Prendergast (sub Hoolahan 80 mins); Vernon (sub Graham 68 mins), Parker

Subs (not used): Jones, Evatt

Booked: Prendergast (44 mins), Fox (48 mins)

Chris Wickham

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