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Match Report


Posted Mon 09 Apr 12 at 17:58 PM


Brentford extended their unbeaten run to six and picked up their third straight clean sheet with a 0-0 draw against Hartlepool United.

The Bees probably had the better of it - and certainly had the best chance of the match - but showed the effects of two games in 48 hours with a 300-mile journey in the middle.

Hartlepool did have the ball in the net, only for it to be ruled out for offside, but apart from that Brentford, who have now ended a run of eight games in 23 days, were comfortable at the back.

The teams started with a mirror-image in midfield - Brentford utilising Sam Saunders behind Clayton Donaldson while Hartlepool had Paul Murray between their defensive and midfield lines.

It meant the centre of the pitch was very congested and with the home side slightly more robust and happier to play the ball over the top, they had the better of the early stages.

They did not, however, create anything to really worry Brentford as they held the upper hand.

The closest they came to a goal in the first half was an Antony Sweeney header that Richard Lee got across well to save and lone striker Ryan Noble had a weak header saved and blazed over from a good position.

When Sweeney broke from midfield Brentford had to be wary and he had a volley blocked before forcing Lee in to a save from a header before the hosts' best chance of the half came and went.

Ritchie Humphreys shot wide from 25 yards and Lee had to save after Sweeney burst through midfield in to the penalty area.

Brentford had offered little going forward in the first half hour but improved towards the break and could have gone in at half time ahead.

Donaldson set up a shooting chance for Toumani Diagouraga that was snuffed out by the home defence and the striker went close himself seconds later.

The Bees broke from a defensive position with Jonathan Douglas and Saunders feeding Donaldson, the striker's low shot was arrowing towards the bottom corner of the net but Scott Flinders got down well to keep it out.

Brentford continued to hold the upper hand after the break - Flinders kept out a curling Niall McGinn shot and Shaleum Logan missed the target with a similar effort from the other side.

Logan went even closer when McGinn attacked from deep and a cross-field pass reached the wide man - his shot with the outside of his right foot went just wide.

Hartlepool almost got a lucky break when a Karleigh Osborne header bounced off Jake Bidwell and sent Andy Monkhouse through but Lee was quickly out and the shot flew over the bar.

Both teams brought on additional strikers as they sought to win the game and Hartlepool had a golden chance to go ahead midway through the second half.

A corner was headed down and Noble turned it towards goal from inside the six-yard box but Lee somehow smothered the shot.

The ball wasn't cleared and when it was put back in, Osborne headed it past Lee and in to the bottom corner but the goal was ruled out as Noble was next to the Brentford defender in an offside position.

Humphreys headed wide as Hartlepool began to look the more likely winner but as the game entered the final 15 minutes there was all to play for.

Brentford missed the chance of the game with just over ten minutes remaining - Logan fed Donaldson on the right and he raced clear, the ball was fed across and Diagouraga put it wide from inside the six-yard box.

Harlee Dean headed over for The Bees as they started to take the upper hand inside the final five minutes.

But they could not find a goal and headed back to London with a point.

Hartlepool United: Flinders; Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood; Murray (sub James 56 mins); Humphreys (sub Boyd 81 mins), Sweeney, Liddle, Monkhouse; Noble

Subs (not used): Rafferty, Haslam, Baldwin

Bookings: Austin (83 mins)

Brentford: Lee; Thompson, Osborne, Dean, Bidwell; Logan, Douglas, Diagouraga, McGinn (sub Morrison 61 mins); Saunders (sub Balkestein 73 mins); Donaldson (sub Bean 90 mins)

Subs (not used): Legge, Forrester

Bookings: Douglas (42 mins) (ninth of season), Saunders (51 mins) (fifth of season), Morrison (82 mins) (sixth of season)

Attendance: 4,292 (134 Bees fans)

By Chris Wickham

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