Bees draw on opening day
A fine Shaleum Logan goal was not enough to give Brentford a win on the opening day of the 2013/14 Sky Bet League One season.
Logan smashed home Brentford’s first goal of the season to give Brentford a 1-0 lead at Vale Park against newly-promoted Port Vale.
But the home side hit back and equalised before the break.
Brentford dominated almost exclusively but a mixture of last-ditch defending and wayward finishing meant they only left with a share of the spoils.
The visitors started in fine fashion, keeping the ball and making Port Vale chase them.
The Bees moved their hosts around the pitch, probing for an opening and putting pressure on the Vale back line.
They probably did not create as many chances in the first 20 minutes as they should have but they definitely had the upper hand.
Alan McCormack blasted over when a corner was half cleared and Clayton Donaldson missed the target after twisting and turning in the penalty area.
A low Adam Forshaw shot was saved by Chris Neal but the midfield man should probably have done better from 15 yard after good work by Logan and Will Grigg.
Grigg shot wide after intercepting a poor Carl Dickinson pass and a Logan shot was saved as Brentford pressed.
Port Vale had shown they could be dangerous with their limited possession and David Button was forced in to an early low save from Tom Pope before he kept out a Gavin Tomlin effort and Doug Loft fired over from distance.
But Brentford would have felt they deserved to be in front after the first quarter.
The goal eventually came 26 minutes in and it was one to savour.
The ball was worked out to Logan and he cut inside before firing an unstoppable left foot shot in to the top corner from 22 yards.
Loft could have equalised immediately when he shot wide from 15 yards but it took a fine tackle at the other end from Chris Robertson to stop Donaldson latching on to a Forshaw pass and making it two.
That tackle proved to be even more vital as Vale went straight up the other end and equalised.
Brentford failed to clear the ball on their left and when a cross came in they again couldn’t get it away, Loft reacted and smashed home to level it up.
As the half wore on it became a bit more rough and tumble, very little quarter was given in midfield as challenges and arms went flying in with referee Stephen Bratt content to let most things go.
Neal saved a Harlee Dean header from a corner while Loft shot over at the other end, Jennison Myrie Williams had an effort blocked and Pope headed over.
Vale would probably have gone in at the break feeling they deserved to be level while Brentford had shown enough to suggest they could open up their hosts again in the second half and make it count.
The home defence was pressed in to action early in the second half, cutting off shooting opportunities for Donaldson and Grigg while the later also had a shot blocked and Chris Lines curled a free kick in to the side netting at the other end.
The Bees were within a whisker of going ahead when George Saville lifted a ball over the top and Donaldson raced in behind Dickinson, the striker lifted his effort over Neal but saw it bounce down off the crossbar for Vale to clear the danger.
Jake Bidwell curled a free kick in to a defensive wall and Saville shot over as Brentford started to dominate while Vale attempted to play on the break.
The home side were by no means out of the game but were penned back and reliant on little attacking possession.
Neal made a fine save when Grigg set Donaldson in behind and then saved at the feet of Grigg after good work from McCormack.
Adam Yates made a goal saving tackle when Donaldson set up Grigg and the striker let go with a shot from ten yards.
Saville had a shot blocked after being set up by Logan, Grigg and Donaldson and Brentford missed an even better chance moments later.
Donaldson raced away down the right and cut the ball back for Grigg but the striker smashed over from ten yards.
The game was being played almost entirely in the Vale half as it entered the final ten minutes and the only question was whether Brentford would break through.
Forshaw curled a shot over, Martin Fillo had an effort blocked and Vale somehow survived when Donaldson escaped down the left and cut the ball back, Grigg’s shot was blocked and Fillo’s follow-up was also scrambled away.
A Bidwell shot was blocked as time ticked down before Neal saved at the feet of Donaldson and a Jake Reeves shot was blocked.
Brentford continued to press but couldn’t find a way to get the winning goal and had to settle for a point.
Port Vale: Neal; Yates, Robertson, Dickinson, Jones; Myrie Williams (sub Mohamed 76 mins), Griffith, Lines, Loft (sub Dodds 90 mins); Tomlin (sub Hughes 76 mins), Pope
Subs (not used): Johnson, Williamson, Duffy, Birchall
Bookings: Dodds (90 mins)
Brentford: Button; Logan, Dean, O’Connor, Bidwell; Forshaw (sub Reeves 81 mins), McCormack, Saville, McAleny (sub Fillo 71 mins); Donaldson, Grigg
Subs (not used): Bonham, Venta, Nugent, Saunders, Hayes
Attendance: 7,579 (758 Bees fans)
By Chris Wickham