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Match Report


Posted Mon 23 Nov 09 at 11:54 AM


Walsall came from behind to limit Brentford to a point when it looked as if a second goal in four days from striker Ben Strevens would be enough to record a second successive home win.

Midfielder Steve Jones struck an equaliser mid way through the second period to earn his side a point when Brentford failed to deal with a ball into the box.

It was a shock for the home fans as until then a new look back line - marshalled superbly by loan signing Pim Balkestein, alongside Karleigh Osborne - denied Walsall many opportunities and when they did break through goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was equal to it.

But The Bees paid for not leading by more than a single goal - in the first half, in particular, they were far superior with live wire Myles Weston, who limped off early in the second half, their main outlet.

The withdrawal of Weston probably changed the game as the visitors were able to get more of a foothold without the worry of being exposed by the pace of the left sided player.

Most of The Bees good play in the early stages came through Weston - lining up against Walsall right back, namesake Rhys - he forced an early save out of Clayton Ince with a snap shot and James Wilson had an effort saved soon after.

Szczesny saved a low Darren Byfield effort before Ince smothered at the feet of Strevens but the goal Brentford were threatening came ten minutes in.

John Bostock picked out Weston with a delightful pass, the winger skipped past his man and stood a cross up to the far post where Strevens headed in, despite the best efforts of Ince.

The lead should have been doubled seconds later when Weston raced clear in the inside left channel, but rather than passing to Charlie MacDonald inside him he took an extra touch and namesake Rhys Weston recovered to make a vital tackle.

Bostock had a fierce shot saved and MacDonald shot wide after Weston again escaped on the left before Szczesny rushed out at the other end to block a Byfield shot and Troy Deeney's effort from the re-bound was palmed away by the tall Polish international.

Netan Sansara made an important tackle to deny Marcus Bean, who darted between the central defenders, and Ince saved an Osborne header soon after before Kevin O'Connor and Weston had shots blocked.

MacDonald and Bostock shot over before Matt Richards curled a free kick into the wall at the other end but as the first half drew to a close the visitors would have known they were lucky to still be in touch.

Deeney shot wide early in the second period but an injury to Weston seemed to upset Brentford.

Szczesny held a low Byfield cross-cum-shot but he was left helpless when Brentford failed to deal with a long ball forward and Jones lashed in from eight yards.

The Brentford stopper saved from Mark Bradley and Richards curled a free kick wide while MacDonald blasted wide at the other end and Bean missed the target from the edge of the box.

Bradley and Jones both shot wide for the visitors and Brentford thought they had won it when Strevens headed in with three minutes remaining, only to see the goal ruled out for offside.

Bostock lashed an effort over and Balkestein headed wide in stoppage time as Brentford searched for the winner, that ultimately would not come.

Brentford: Szczesny; Wilson, Osborne, Balkestein, Dickson; Bostock, Bean, O'Connor, Weston (sub Wood 53 mins); MacDonald (sub Kabba 78 mins), Strevens

Subs (not used0: Moore, Foster, Bennett, Taylor, Hunt

Walsall: Ince; Weston, Hughes, Smith, Sansara; Jones, Mattis, Bradley, Richards; Deeney (sub Parkin 85 mins), Byfield

Subs (not used): Oxley, Nicholls, O'Keefe, Westlake, Till, McDonald

Attendance: 4,492 (202 away fans)

By Chris Wickham

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