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Match Report


Posted Sat 14 Jan 12 at 16:55 PM


Brentford were again frustrated at Griffin Park as Walsall left with a point in a 0-0 draw.

The Bees probably had the better of the game but could find no way past a resolute Walsall defence of their record-breaking goalkeeper.

The home side started well and had chances in the opening ten minutes.

Walsall goalkeeper Jimmy Walker - who broke The Saddlers' appearance record when he was named in the team - got down well to keep out an early Marcus Bean shot and it took a fine defensive header from Andy Butler to prevent Clayton Donaldson heading in a Harry Forrester cross.

Sam Saunders shot wide for The Bees and Gary Alexander failed to get power in to a header from a Bean cross.

Walsall had struggled to get much of the ball in the early stages as Bean and Jonathan Douglas won the midfield and Alexander and Donaldson held the ball well up front.

But the visitors started to come in to it after 15 minutes, led by Jamie Paterson on the left of midfield.

He fired in a low shot that Simon Moore, playing due to an injury to Richard Lee, held on to and then set up Mat Sadler to put in a cross that Leon Legge had to head away to prevent Jon Macken scoring.

Dale Bennett made a vital block from an Alex Nicholls shot after a corner was half cleared, Macken missed the target with a long range volley and Paterson shot just over as Walsall held the upper hand.

But Brentford regained control as the game reached the half hour and will think they should have gone in ahead at half time.

It was due to some good defending and questionable refereeing that they didn't.

Saunders had a low shot saved and Walker then got down to a Donaldson header before an Alexander shot that looked destined to test the Walsall stopper was deflected wide.

Referee Mark Brown and his assistants had already raised the ire of the Griffin Park crowd with some disputed calls but he became the main man in the later stages of the first half.

Donaldson looked set to race clear on to a Douglas pass when Sadler came across and appeared to take him out before diverting the ball away.

Mr Brown signalled no offence had been committed and dismissed Brentford's protests.

The Bees almost made that irrelevant when Donaldson curled a cross-cum-shot to the far post, the ball appeared to be dropping in before Richard Taundry cleared it off the line.

The visitors almost snatched the lead in stoppage time at the end of the first half when Nicholls broke free on the left, his cut back found Macken and the striker wheeled away to celebrate firing home only to see Moore go full stretch to his left and turn it away.

Macken had another effort early in the second half, this one easier for Moore, but there was little action in the first ten minutes of the second period.

Brentford had the better of possession and territory but Walsall's back and midfield lines were even tighter and deeper, meaning most of the game was played in front of them.

The Bees almost edged ahead when they won a series of set pieces around the hour mark.

From one Saunders corner, Legge, Alexander and Marcel Eger all tried to force the ball in before Bean's volley deflected wide and soon after Walker held on to a weak Legge header.

Brentford started to pile on the pressure as the game entered its final quarter - Toumani Diagouraga was just unable to head in a Donaldson cross following a quick free kick and from another break, a Douglas shot was deflected wide.

A Legge header from a Saunders corner was scrambled away and moments later Donaldson had the chance of the game.

Saunders threaded a ball through and the striker raced clear, with only Walker to beat, the striker dithered and when he got a shot off the goalkeeper was equal to it.

Nicholls missed the target with a shot on the turn for Walsall and Macken curled a shot over as the visitors had chances to snatch the win.

Nicholls dragged a shot wide when the ball ricocheted to him and Jake Bidwell made a vital clearance when Walsall again got in behind.

Saunders almost curled a corner straight in for The Bees, Sadler cleared off the line, and Diagouraga had a shot blocked as Brentford continued to press.

But Walsall should have taken the points when Nicholls again found space but he shot wide from 18 yards.

Weston had a late header saved as Brentford kept knocking, but they couldn't open Walsall's door and had to share the spoils.

Brentford: Moore; Bennett, Legge, Eger, Bidwell; Saunders, Douglas, Bean (sub Diagouraga 64 mins), Forrester (sub McGinn 82 mins); Alexander, Donaldson (sub Weston 74 mins)

Subs (not used): Logan, Dean

Bookings: Bean (31 mins) (fifth of season), Eger (41 mins) (fifth of season)

Walsall: Walker; Beevers, Smith, Butler, Sadler; Taundry, Peterlin, Chambers (sub Gnakpa 79 mins), Paterson; Macken (sub Jarvis 87 mins), Nicholls

Subs (not used): Grof, Westlake, Grigg

Attendance: 4,867 (243 away fans)

By Chris Wickham

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