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Match Report


Posted Fri 22 Apr 11 at 16:58 PM


Sam Saunders' superb curling free kick earned Brentford a Good Friday draw against Colchester United.

The visitors had taken the lead in the first half but Saunders levelled it up with a trademark effort.

It was the least The Bees deserved, after a slow start they largely dominated the match and although both goalkeepers had saves to make, Colchester's Ben Williams was arguably the Man of the Match.

Brentford had plenty of possession in the early stages but Colchester were able to play balls in to space behind the home defence and cause problems.

Front pair David Mooney and Steven Gillespie ran the channels well and Ashley Vincent provided an alternative outlet on the left that Brentford struggled to deal with early on.

Vincent shot over after cutting inside and Robbie Neilson made a fine tackle when Gillespie went in behind before Mooney had an effort deflected wide.

Colchester had all the early chances, if perhaps not all the play in the first quarter of an hour.

Simon Moore saved from Mooney and Michael Spillane made an important block from Kem Izzet when the midfield player prepared to fire into an open goal after Moore and Mooney collided on the edge of the penalty area.

The goal Colchester had been threatening came 15 minutes in - Vincent broke in to space on the left, looking as if he may be offside, his cut back found Mooney and although his shot was horribly miss-hit, it flew perfectly for Ian Henderson to head in.

Falling behind woke Brentford up and although the stifling heat meant the game was never going to be fast, the tempo went up a notch.

Marcus Bean failed to convert a Saunders cross at the far post and Lewis Grabban shot wide on the turn after a foray forward from Toumani Diagouraga.

Myles Weston almost equalised when he tore past Brian Wilson but Matt Heath cleared his cross-cum-shot off the line and Grabban shot into the side netting after more good work by the speedy Brentford winger.

Ben Williams in the Colchester goal hadn't been called in to action much in the first half hour but by half time he was the busiest man on the pitch.

He got down superbly to keep out a low Grabban shot before Bean shot wide and Spillane saw a volley blocked.

Williams made a pair of outstanding saves to keep his team in front at half time - first he got down well to turn a low Weston header past the post and his tip over from a Karleigh Osborne header moments later was even better.

Colchester had been second best for the second half of the first half - Vincent firing a couple of efforts over from distance and Tommy Smith failing to convert when Moore couldn't gather a cross was all they offered after taking the lead.

And the second started in a similar fashion.

Grabban had a header blocked after Weston had once again tormented Wilson and neither Bean nor Osborne could turn home a whipped Saunders free kick.

Colchester began to come back in to the game as it approached the hour mark.

Vincent fired just over after a run from deep and Moore saved well from Mooney after a Kayode Odejayi flick.

Moore saved a long range Lloyd James free kick before Grabban flicked an effort past an onrushing Williams but inches wide after good work by Diagouraga.

The goal Brentford had been threatening, and fully merited, came with 15 minutes left.

Adam Reed was cynically brought down by Izzet when he looked set to pull the trigger from 10 yards - referee Graham Horwood awarded the free kick, booked Izzet and Saunders punished Colchester by curling the ball around the wall and in to the net.

Odejayi almost restored the lead soon after when he burst through a tackle from Neilson but Moore saved well low down.

Grabban had a great chance to give Brentford the lead when he turned sharply after controlling a Saunders pass but his shot arrowed inches wide.

Nathan Byrne sliced an effort wide after good work by Saunders as Brentford turned the screw.

Byrne went through again soon after and brought a good low save out of Williams and Odejayi headed over at the other end.

But neither team could find the crucial second goal and the spoils were shared.

Brentford: Moore; Spillane (sub Wood 63 mins), Osborne, Neilson, O'Connor; Saunders, Bean (sub Reed 63 mins), Diagouraga, Weston (sub Byrne 83 mins); Simpson, Grabban

Subs (not used): Royce, Wright, Reeves, Schlupp

Bookings: Neilson (40 mins) (second of season), Reed (89 mins) (fourth of season)

Colchester United: Williams; Wilson, Heath, Smith, Powell; Henderson, Izzet (sub O'Toole 77 mins), James, Vincent (sub Wordsworth 77 mins); Gillespie (sub Odejayi 45 mins), Mooney

Subs (not used): Cousins, Clarke, Bond, White

Bookings: Izzet (73 mins)

Attendance: 4,480 (269 away fans)

By Chris Wickham

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