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23 February 2013

No goals at Griffin Park

Brentford were held to a 0-0 draw at a freezing Griffin Park by a combative and well-drilled Walsall team.

The Bees had the better of the chances in the first half but could not get ahead and there was no way through in a more even second period.

Neither goalkeeper was forced to make a really tough save on an afternoon where the teams cancelled each other out.

Jonathan Douglas had to clear off the line in the first six minutes when Andy Butler beat Simon Moore to a high ball and it rolled towards the net but Brentford spent most of the first quarter on the front foot.

Walsall were by no means ultra-defensive but their three central midfield players were quick to protect the back four and their attacks were largely on the break.

Clayton Donaldson missed the target with a header from a Bradley Wright-Phillips cross before Marcello Trotta saw a shot deflect wide.

From the resulting corner, neither Donaldson nor Wright-Phillips could force the ball home when Douglas and Trotta fed it in to the six-yard box.

Febian Brandy shot wide for the visitors and Will Grigg was unable to force the ball in when Moore could only punch a corner half clear.

Goalkeeper Aaron McCarey denied Trotta with his legs after good work by Donaldson and Shaleum Logan and the stopper then tipped a Donaldson cross-cum-shot over the bar.

Trotta had a shot blocked before Andy Taylor turned a Forshaw cross against his own post and Donaldson headed wide.

Dean blocked a Brandy shot on a rare Walsall first half attack and Moore was forced to palm away under pressure but Brentford continued to hold the upper hand.

It was simply a matter of whether they could break down the yellow wall which was being build closer and closer to McCarey’s goal.

Wright-Phillips shot over from the inside right channel and Trotta fired narrowly wide after Douglas led the charge forward.

The Bees piled on the pressure at the end of the first half and Donaldson headed a Harlee Dean ball forward narrowly over.

The hosts had a succession of chances in the dying moments – Trotta had a shot blocked and then fired across the face of goal while Forshaw did likewise and a Jake Bidwell shot was blocked.

The closest Brentford came was at the very end of the half, a corner was half cleared, Forshaw delivered it back in, Trotta cut inside and fired in a shot that Paul Downing cleared off the line – Douglas fired the re-bound wide.

Walsall would have been relieved to get in at half time level and they were able to re-group.

The visitors started the second half well and could have got their noses in front.

A fierce Taylor shot deflected inches wide and Moore had to rush out and tackle James Baxendale after the Walsall midfield man robbed Trotta.

A Will Grigg shot deflected in to the side netting and Moore saved a looping Andy Butler header from the resulting corner.

Brentford started to regain the initiative as the game reached the hour mark and Forshaw was at the centre if it.

The midfield man had a shot deflect wide and then cross for Donaldson, who had a looping header saved.

Forshaw shot over after exchanging passes with Donaldson and then had an effort deflected wide.

Harry Forrester had a shot blocked for The Bees and Jamie Paterson did likewise at the other end as both teams sought a winner.

Taylor blazed wide for the visitors while Douglas and Forrester missed the target for Brentford.

The Bees had late penalty appeals when Trotta appeared to be bundled over by Ben George but referee Fred Graham – who also said no when Tom Adeyemi went down in the area in the first half – said no offence had been committed.

Taylor shot wide late on and Nicky Featherstone shot over from close range as Walsall finished strongly but neither team could find a goal and it ended all square.

Brentford: S. Moore; Logan, Dean, Craig, Bidwell; Donaldson, Adeyemi (sub Diagouraga 76 mins), Douglas, Forshaw (sub Saunders 86 mins); Wright-Phillips (sub Forrester 67 mins), Trotta

Subs (not used): Lee, L. Moore, Barron, Hayes

Walsall: McCarey; George, Downing, Butler, Taylor; Brandy (sub Featherstone 90 mins), Manton, Chambers, Baxendale (sub Westcarr 79 mins), Paterson; Grigg

Subs (not used): Grof, Holden, Hemmings, Bowerman, Benning

Bookings: Brandy (38 mins)


By Chris Wickham

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