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17:00 1st September 2012
By  Andrew Poole


THE SADDLERS returned to home soil for the visit of a Brentford side that we’ve already faced at Banks’s Stadium this term.

An early diagonal ball from Flo Cuvelier picked out Ben Purkiss who did well to cross from the by-line but Simon Moore gathered under pressure.

The Bees ‘keeper then produced a fine save in the seventh minute as he pushed a sting drive from Cuvelier onto the crossbar.

The visitors’ first sight of goal game in the 17th minute when an inviting cross from the right was headed just over by Jonathan Douglas. Shortly afterwards, Clayton Donaldson fired just wide.

A foul by Dean Holden gave Brentford a free-kick out wide which was delivered to the near post but cleared by The Saddlers’ rear-guard.

Both sides pushing in search of a breakthrough and it nearly came for The Bees when a break by Donaldson saw him pull the ball back into the path of Sam Saunders whose effort was cleared from in front of goal.

The Saddlers took the lead on 28 minutes when Ashley Hemmings got the ball into the danger zone at the second attempt and Jamie Paterson was alert to tuck the ball home to make it 1-0.

Within a minute it was 2-0 when Bowerman seized upon a mistake by the Brentford defence and shrugged off the attentions of Tony Craig before staying cool and slotting home beyond Simon Moore.

Boosted by the two-goal burst, Walsall oozed confidence and a neat move ended with new-boy, Andy Taylor firing just over.

Some more good play as half-time approached saw Paterson and Purkiss link up before finding Grigg who did well to get in a low strike that the ‘keeper saved with his legs on his near post.

HALF-TIME: Walsall 2 Brentford 0

The Brentford players were out early ahead of the start of the second period and they almost pulled a goal back within minutes of the restart as Adam Forshaw fired inches wide.

It was a lively opening by the visitors who searched for a way back into the game, but the Walsall back-line was in stubborn mood.

At the other end, Bowerman was brought down to give The Saddlers a free-kick in a good position which Paterson fired into the defensive wall as Nicky Featherstone blazed the rebound well wide.

Just past the hour a high cross from the left was headed back across goal by Farid El Aalagui into the path of Jonathan Douglas whose looping header was gathered by Grof.

A sharp shot on the turn by El Aalagui saw the ball strike the top of the crossbar and land in amongst the visiting fans behind the goal.

Moments later, a ball whipped in by Jamie Paterson saw Grigg go close to making a vital connection as pressure from his marker did enough to put him off.

With 74 minutes on the clock, Hemmings was replaced by James Baxendale. He was straight into the action as his burst from midfield ended with him picking out Bowerman whose low effort just flashed wide.

As the clock ticked down, Aaron Williams was introduced for his home debut in place of Bowerman.

The Bees pulled a goal back with five minutes to go as Douglas lashed the ball into the net to make it 2-1.

The goal galvanised Brentford and Douglas saw another strike deflected wide as the pushed on for an equaliser.

It prompted Dean Smith to throw on Paul Downing in place of Paterson as we clung on to the lead.

However, the final minute saw Donaldson force the ball home from close range to level matters at 2-2.

There was still time for Adam Forshaw's stinging long-range drive to be deflected inches over as the visitors finished strongly.

In the end, The Saddlers were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

FULL-TIME: Walsall 2 Brentford 2

WALSALL: Grof, A. Taylor, Butler, Holden, Purkiss, Paterson, Featherstone, Cuvelier, Hemmings (Baxendale), Grigg, Bowerman (Williams).

ATTENDANCE: 3,434 (469).
    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.