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Match Report


Posted Tue 01 Mar 11 at 23:40 PM


Karleigh Osborne's first goal since May 2009 gave Brentford a point against a Notts County side that deservedly had two men dismissed and hung on to take something away from their trip to Griffin Park.

The Bees stretched their unbeaten run to six as Osborne levelled with 16 minutes remaining after Craig Westcarr had given the visitors, who played for three quarters of the match with ten men, the lead.

Brentford had dominated possession and territory but found the County defence a tough nut to crack and had to settle for a share of the spoils even though they had captain Mike Edwards sent off in stoppage time.

And they missed a golden opportunity to win it when Robbie Simpson hit the post with a stoppage time penalty.

Brentford, mirroring Saturday's win over Bristol Rovers, started brightly.

They again used the flanks to good effect, so much so that County were forced to use unfair means to stop them.

Both full backs had been booked before the half hour and left back Ryan Harley was sent off with less than 25 minutes played for a second bookable offence, and in truth he was lucky to last that long.

The Bees should have been in front inside four minutes when Robbie Neilson volleyed a Sam Saunders corner over from close range and they had further chances in the first 20 minutes.

Edwards superbly blocked a fierce Saunders shot, Krystian Pearce headed away a cross that Gary Alexander looked set to head in and Charlie MacDonald had a shot blocked.

County were reasonably adventurous early on and came closest to scoring inside the first 15 minutes.

Conor Clifford shot wide and Westcarr saw an effort deflected over before Alan Gow curled a free kick that Richard Lee tipped on to the bar at full stretch.

Harley was lucky to escape with a yellow card when he brought down MacDonald when the Brentford striker looked to be bearing down on goal and he avoided a second for a blatant push on Alexander moments later.

But four minutes after the first caution the left back's luck ran out - he was shown a second yellow by referee Iain Williamson for a lunge on Marcus Bean and dismissed.

County replace Gow with John Thompson soon after and the rest of the match was attack versus defence, with Brentford spending almost the entire match camped in Notts' territory.

Saunders saw a free kick deflected narrowly wide, Bean had an acrobatic volley blocked and Alexander shot wide on the turn.

County almost snatched the lead when a Clifford free kick drifted all the way across and flew narrowly wide of the far post and moments later they did edge in front.

Robbie Neilson was robbed by Westcarr, who was left with only Lee to beat - the Brentford goalkeeper saved the first effort but the County striker reacted quickest to roll in.

The second half continued in the same vain - Brentford trying to break down a County defence that was well-organised and resolute, and which now had something to hold on to.

And The Bees found it tough to create chances.

Alexander had an early shot deflected into the arms of Stuart Nelson, Saunders had a volley blocked and substitute Nathan Byrne dribbled a shot wide.

Saunders cut inside and shot over soon after and Marcus Bean lashed across the face of goal from a tight angle but as the game entered its final quarter, ball continued to fizz across the box without falling to a red and white shirt and County got bodies in the way it looked more and more like it wasn't going to Brentford's evening.

But with just over 15 minutes remaining The Bees levelled, albeit in quite a strange fashion.

They were awarded a free kick for the umpteenth aerial foul and Saunders curled the ball in, the County defence stood stock still and Nelson was slow to the ball, allowing Osborne to rise and find the back of the net, seemingly with a combination of head and shoulder.

Simpson volleyed over as Brentford searched for a winner but County didn't change their modus operandi and there were few late openings.

Edwards being shown two yellow cards in the last 15 minutes, the second for a wild lunge at Saunders, just made them even more defensive.

Neilson had a golden opening when he headed a Saunders cross wide at the far post and Simpson headed wide soon after.

The killer chance came in the 94th minute - Simpson looked set to reach a Craig Woodman ball but he was shoved over by Pearce and a penalty was awarded with the County defender lucky to avoid being the third County man sent off.

Simpson stepped up but his penalty cannoned away off the post and Brentford's opportunity had gone.

Brentford: Lee; O'Connor, Neilson, Osborne, Woodman; Saunders, Bean, Diagouraga, Weston (sub Byrne 63 mins); MacDonald (sub Bignall 87 mins), Alexander (sub Simpson 63 mins)

Subs (not used): Moore, Legge, Balkestein, Grabban

Booking: Bean (56 mins) (seventh of season), Byrne (81 mins)

Notts County: Nelson; Regan (sub Lee 71 mins), Edwards, Pearce, Harley; Ravenhill, Bishop, MacDonald, Clifford; Gow (sub Thompson 28 mins), Westcarr (sub Gobern 82 mins)

Subs (not used): Burch, Smith, Chilvers, Hawley

Bookings: Harley (20 mins), Regan (29 mins), Edwards (75 mins), Gobern (88 mins), Pearce (90 mins)

Sent Off: Harley (24 mins) (Second booking), Edwards (90 mins) (Second booking)

Attendance: 3,795 (298 away fans)

By Chris Wickham

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