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Match Report


Posted Tue 12 Apr 11 at 22:36 PM


Jon Macken scored twice for Walsall as the relegation-threatened side recorded a 3-2 win over Brentford.

The Bees took the lead through Pim Balkestein but Macken equalised with a long range effort that completely changed the course of the game and then won it for the home side midway through the second half after the teams had swapped further goals.

The game started evenly, Brentford had more of the ball, passing it delightfully at times, but Walsall were a threat when they were able to get the ball in to the box.

Leon Legge blocked superbly when a Matt Richards free kick broke to Macken while Lewis Grabban saw a shot deflected over at the other end.

Darren Byfield had a shot blocked for the hosts but Brentford were slowly taking control.

Sam Saunders had a shot deflected wide and from the resulting corner, The Bees took the lead.

Saunders delivered a superb ball in to the danger area and Balkestein arrived to power a header home from eight yards.

The Bees were buoyant, and could have wrapped the game up before the break.

Saunders curled a free kick in to the wall and James Walker saved at the feet of Grabban.

The Bees should have doubled their lead when Robbie Neilson raced away on the right as the visitors broke, his ball found Jeffrey Schlupp, but he miss-controlled in front of goal, Walker saved at the feet of Grabban and then reacted quickly to deny Saunders.

Simon Moore had saved from a Richards free kick but Walsall had been almost shot-less before they equalised minutes before half time.

The ball dropped to Macken 25 yards out and he fired a spectacular effort that swerved away from Moore and flew in to the net to leave the game level at half time.

The goal completely changed proceedings, Brentford's dominance was swept away and Walsall had renewed belief.

The hosts flew out of the blocks at the start of the second half - Moore got down well to save a Macken header and Andy Butler saw another headed effort deflected over before Byfield shot straight at the Brentford goalkeeper.

Eventually Walsall's pressure told, Byfield broke down the left and found Jordan Cook, he turned and fired low past Moore and into the net.

Brentford reacted well to going behind - Tom Williams headed just over his own crossbar and Butler blocked well from Bean.

The Bees equalised when Grabban reacted quickest to a poor Richard Taundry pass, skipped round Walker and poked home from a tight angle.

But Walsall were soon ahead again - Julian Gray found space on the left hand side, his low shot was palmed out by Moore and Macken forced it home from close range for what proved to be the winner.

Moore saved from Gray soon after but Brentford came back well after falling behind again.

Saunders shot just over and Grabban fizzed an effort just over the crossbar.

The Bees should probably have levelled when Saunders curled in a cross from the left, it bounced just past the far post but Grabban appeared to be in a position to head in.

Gray fired just wide after robbing Saunders and at the other end Adam Reed curled a shot just wide and just too high for the arriving Bean.

Macken missed a chance to complete a hat-trick when he turned a Cook cross wide at full stretch and although Brentford finished strongly, they created few chances.

Karleigh Osborne fired wide from distance but Brentford's hopes ended and Walsall took the points.

Walsall: Walker; Taundry, McDonald, Butler, Williams; Cook, Laird, Richards (sub Gbarssin 75 mins), Gray; Byfield (sub Ledesma 83 mins), Macken (sub Grigg 87 mins)

Subs (not used): Bevan, Westlake, Lancashire, Nicholls

Brentford: Moore; Neilson, Legge (sub Osborne 26 mins), Balkestein, Woodman; Diagouraga; Reed (sub Byrne 83 mins), Bean, Saunders; Grabban, Schlupp (sub Simpson 58 mins)

Subs (not used): Royce, Spillane, O'Connor, Weston

Attendance: 3,154 (124 Bees fans)

By Chris Wickham

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