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Match Report


Posted Sat 14 Apr 12 at 17:00 PM


Brentford's quest for the npower League One Play-Offs looks a little more difficult after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Notts County.

The visitors started the day in the top six with The Bees just three points behind and the situation remained unchanged after the Griffin Park stalemate.

Brentford now have just three games remaining to close the gap and earn a shot in the end-of-season shoot-out.

As was only to be expected, given how closely matched the teams are, the game started evenly with both teams having chances.

The Bees got on top as the afternoon wore on but could not find a way through.

Lloyd Sam probably had the best of the early openings for the visitors, but shot wide, while Alan Judge went close with a curling effort after a quick break.

Toumani Diagouraga shot over for The Bees within the first 90 seconds and Clinton Morrison flicked a header in to the arms of Stuart Nelson.

With Brentford employing a diamond in midfield and Notts County playing five in the centre of the park, space was at a premium.

But two confident teams were able to move the ball well and create half openings, however, both defended well so good chances were at a minimum.

A Sam Saunders free kick deflected wide off a defensive wall and Jonathan Douglas missed the target with a volley.

Karleigh Osborne had a sight of goal from a Saunders free kick but headed wide while Alan Sheehan forced Richard Lee in to a save following a clever short corner routine.

Brentford were starting to get on top as the half wore on and Notts County were giving away more and more free kicks in an attempt to stem the flow.

Attacking players were just unable to connect when a Clayton Donaldson long throw bounced across the box and soon after when a Saunders corner did likewise.

Brentford almost opened County up after a move that involved six or seven players and at least 15 passes on the right hand side - Morrison and Diagouraga created space for Donaldson to shoot but he curled an effort over from 20 yards.

Morrison headed a Jake Bidwell cross over as Brentford continued to press and as half time approached, it became a fine game to watch.

County almost edged ahead when they broke and Jeff Hughes smashed a shot against the crossbar from 25 yards.

But Brentford picked up the ball and, after some fine trickery in midfield by Diagouraga, Saunders burst through midfield, his pass looked set to send Donaldson in behind but Liam Chilvers brought the striker down.

Referee Lee Collins decided to only produce a yellow card despite Donaldson seeming set to pull the trigger and Saunders fired his free kick in to the wall.

County escaped then but could probably have gone in ahead at the break as they had three good chances.

First Daniel Bogdanovic pulled a shot horribly wide after good work by Dele Adebola and Judge before Dean made a fine block from an Adebola cross after Sam, Bogdanovic and Judge had combined.

Bogdanovic headed wide again just before the break and County continued to have chances after half time.

Judge shot wide inside the first 20 seconds of the second half and Lee got down well to palm away a Sheehan effort.

But Brentford came back in to it and had a lot of possession in County territory in the second half.

The visitors sat deeper and deeper, content for a point and hoping to steal something on the break.

Brentford almost made them pay when County failed to clear a corner and Marcus Bean challenged Nelson for the loose, bouncing ball - it dropped to Morrison and hit shot was deflected wide by a scrambling defence.

Saunders had a shot blocked soon after while at the other end, Harlee Dean made an important interception as Neal Bishop tried to latch on to an Adebola flick and Sheehan shot over.

Brentford looked the more likely winners but County were resolute in defence and chances were few and far between.

Saunders had a shot blocked and when the ball was delivered back in by Bidwell, Bean headed down and Donaldson was just unable to turn it in.

Saunders looked as if he had broken the deadlock late on when a curling free kick was headed off the line by Damion Stewart, who marshalled the County defence superbly all afternoon.

Leon Legge also headed wide for The Bees but they just could not find a way through.

They never really looked like losing - a late Judge shot failed to trouble Lee - but they could not find the crucial winning goal.

Brentford: Lee; Logan, Osborne, Dean, Bidwell; Bean (sub Legge 82 mins), Douglas, Diagouraga; Saunders; Donaldson, Morrison (sub McGinn 70 mins)

Subs (not used): Moore, Thompson, Forrester

Bookings: Bidwell (73 mins) (fourth of season), Logan (77 mins) (third of season)

Notts County: Nelson; Kelly (sub Freeman 47 mins), Stewart, Chilvers, Sheehan; Bishop, Hughes; Sam (sub Harley 53 mins), Judge, Bogdanovic; Adebola (sub Demontagnac 81 mins)

Subs (not used): Edwards, Mahon

Bookings: Hughes (29 mins), Chilvers (38 mins), Stewart (86 mins)

Attendance: 7,079 (747 away fans)

By Chris Wickham

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