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11 January 2014

Marcello Trotta and Will Grigg on the score sheet as Brentford break Club Record by beating Port Vale

Brentford’s class of 2013/14 broke a long-standing Club Record as they continued to set the pace at the top of Sky Bet League One.

Marcello Trotta and Will Grigg scored the goals to give The Bees a fully deserved 2-0 win over Port Vale at Griffin Park.

As well as being the ninth successive home win it was Brentford’s eighth in a row home and away in League One.

The Bees have never before won eight league games in a row in a single season.

The result was only in doubt to those of a nervous disposition.

Once The Bees found their stride midway through the first half they were completely dominant.

Grigg’s goal late on removed the slightest doubt after Trotta’s first half goal but Vale were second best by quite a long way.

Brentford started positively with their midfield high up the pitch and looking to create around the Port Vale penalty area.

They had early chances when an acrobatic Jake Bidwell effort flew just over, Vale goalkeeper Chris Neal saved a low Sam Saunders shot and Clayton Donaldson looped a header over.

The closest The Bees came in the opening quarter of the match was from a Saunders corner, Donaldson met it with a powerful downward header but Vale defenders were able to block inside the six-yard box and the striker sliced the loose ball wide.

Vale came to Griffin Park with two defensive midfield players in front of their back four.

They held quite a deep line but their attacking players had licence to attack and they flooded forward in support when they could, particularly from full back.

They probably had the better chances in the first 25 minutes, despite losing Gavin Tomlin to injury in that period.

David Button had to be alert to beat Tom Pope to a Tony Craig back pass and when the visitors broke quickly, Tomlin picked up a Louis Dodds pass, cut in off the left and fired wide of the far post from 15 yards.

Jennison Myrie-Williams, who replaced Tomlin, probably had the best chance when he got in between defenders to meet a Dodds cross but headed it wide from eight yards.

As the half reached the midway point, Brentford went up a gear and Vale were left trailing in their wake.

They started swarming all over Port Vale whenever the visitors had the ball and attacking runners from midfield and full back caused all sorts of problems.

Neal got down well to turn away a shot from Alan Judge, who was coming in to the game more, and Saunders curled a free kick over.

The goalkeeper made a fine double save when he got down well to keep out a Judge effort and then recovered to get a hand to Trotta’s follow-up and keep it out.

But he was arguably at fault when Brentford went ahead moments later.

After a move down to the right involving Shaleum Logan and Alan McCormack, Donaldson fed Trotta, the striker turned a let fly from 25 yards, the ball dipped and swerved but went underneath Neal before nestling in the back of the net.

Almost all of the rest of the first half was played in Vale territory and the visitors worked overtime to keep their half time deficit to one.

A McCormack shot deflected wide and Donaldson headed straight at Neal from a Judge cross.

Judge then fired in an effort that Neal tipped wide and, from the resulting corner, Donaldson volleyed wide.

Logan could have doubled the lead when he darted forward on to a McCormack pass and fired in a shot from 20 yards but Neal was equal to it again.

Vale nearly levelled before the break, very much against the run of play, when Pope twisted and turned in the box and got a shot away but Logan was able to block.

Brentford continued to dominate after the break, looking for the second goal that would make the game safe.

Vale seemed to have renewed energy but that just enabled them to chase the ball with more vigour.

A Donaldson header deflected wide before McCormack missed the target from distance and Trotta had a shot blocked.

Saunders then stung the palms of Neal with a wicked shot and the face of Dodds with a fierce effort from a free kick.

Brentford did have the ball in the net on the hour mark but Donaldson, who headed in a Saunders cross, was adjudged by referee Philip Gibbs to have fouled Neal in the process of nodding home.

Neal saved at the feet of Saunders soon after and then went away to his left to tip away a powerful Trotta shot after the striker had controlled a McCormack pass, swivelled and fired towards the bottom corner.

Neal saved a flicked Trotta header and the striker then saw a shot blocked after a good run by McCormack.

Brentford’s only problem as the game entered the final 20 minutes was that they only had a one goal lead to show for their dominance.

They tried to put that right – a McCormack shot faded wide and Trotta fired wide on the turn after good work by Jake Bidwell.

The left back came close to a goal himself when a deflected cross was palmed over by Neal.

Neal made a superb save soon after when Donaldson cut inside and fired in a left foot shot that the goalkeeper tipped on to the crossbar and over.

But he was helpless when Brentford made it safe with three minutes remaining.

McCormack started it with a fine tackle in the right back position and Saville fed Donaldson, Jake Reeves picked up a loose ball and released Bidwell on the left, his cross was controlled by Grigg, who fired unerringly in to the net.

Vale went through the second half barely entering Brentford’s penalty area, let alone testing Button and the 2-0 win was the least The Bees deserved.

Brentford: Button; Logan, O’Connor, Craig, Bidwell; Saunders (sub Grigg 72 mins), McCormack, Saville; Donaldson, Trotta, Judge (sub Reeves 67 mins)

Subs (not used): Lee, Barron, Diagouraga, Dallas, Fillo

Port Vale: Neal; Yates, Grimmer, Davis, Loft; Birchall (sub Hugill 71 mins), Griffith; Dodds, Lines, Tomlin (sub Myrie-Williams 21 mins); Pope (sub Williamson 70 mins)

Subs (not used): Johnson, Shuker, Lloyd, O’Neil

Bookings: Birchall (32 mins), Lines (34 mins)

Attendance: 8,237 (411 away fans)

By Chris Wickham

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