WALSALL v BRENTFORD (LC1)
THE 2012/13 season started at Banks's Stadium with Brentford providing the opposition in the first round of the Capital One Cup on a pleasant August afternoon.
It was the visitors who made the livelier start by seeing plenty of the early ball. With five minutes on the clock, an inviting delivery from Sam Saunders was headed just over by Kevin O'Connor and then Richard Taundry had to block bravely in the next attack.
Having soaken up the pressure, it was Walsall who took the lead in our first real attack when Will Grigg found himself in a good position only to be denied by Kevin O'Connor but the ball found its way over to Ashley Hemmings who drilled a low shot into the net from the left to give us an eighth minute lead.
With a quarter-of-an-hour on the clock, a decisive break from Nicky Featherstone saw him feed Will Grigg to his left and his strike was well pushed out by Simon Moore in The Bees' goal.
There was a further blow for Brentford on 25 minutes when a late challenge by Jake Reeves on Adam Chambers just inside The Bees half earned him a red card.
A low effort from Flo Cuvelier was easy for the 'keeper as Walsall looked to make our man advantage count straight away.
David Grof did well to block at the feet of Clayton Donaldson after a neat move ended with Harry Forrester linking up with Myles Weston to good effect inside the area.
Some slick passing at the other end saw The Saddlers make progress as Jamie Paterson headed towards goal before getting in a low effort that the 'keeper grabbed hold of at the second attempt.
There was a yellow card for Hemmings in the 38th minute for a late challenge on Sam Saunders after he had lost the ball.
The Saddlers were attempting to play good football at every opportunity, much to the delight of the home faithful.
A 30-yard effort from Cuvelier on the stroke of half-time was touched around the post by Simon Moore as Walsall ended the opening period in a positive fashion.
Then Grigg tried his luck from distance to produce another important stop from Bees' custodian Moore. The resulting corner fell into the path of Dean Holden whose powerful strike was bravely blocked as Cuvelier fired the rebound well over.
HALF-TIME: Walsall 1 Brentford 0
Straight from the restart, the visitors almost snatched an equaliser when Harry Forrester's fizzing shot was superbly touched over the crossbar.
The Saddlers showing a willingness to pass and build from the back as Richard Taundry cut inside to make space for a strike from distance that curled just over.
Taundry tried his luck again on the hour, but this time his effort flew wide of the target.
There was a booking for Will Grigg in the 63rd minute as he reacted angrily to having the ball fired at him by Harlee Dean following a tangle on the by-line. Both players saw yellow for the incident.
Brentford should have been on level terms when substitute, Adam Forshaw crossed teasingly for fellow substitute, Toumani Diagouraga who managed to put the ball over from a good position in front of goal.
The Bees were starting to get into their stride once more, but were relieved to see Jamie Paterson dip an effort inches over.
The first Walsall change came on 68 minutes when Ashley Hemmings was replaced by George Bowerman.
Four minutes later, Nicky Featherstone made way for youngster, Jake Jones.
Jones soon made his presence felt as he twisted and turned before firing just wide.
At the other end, Grof did well to deny Donaldson who got in a strike from close range.
A long ball forward picked out Andy Butler who had stayed forward from an earlier corner but his strike was wide of the mark.
As the clock ticked down, Jamie Paterson did well to feed Jake Jones who in turn found Will Grigg but his strike just flew wide of the post as he looked to seal the tie.
It was to be Grigg's last involvement in the action as he was replaced by Febian Brandy in the 89th minute.
Tempers became a little frayed in injury time following a late challenge by Jonathan Douglas as The Saddlers looked to keep hold of the ball and see out time.
The full-time whistle sounded to signal The Saddlers' passage into the second round.
FULL-TIME: Walsall 1 Brentford 0
WALSALL: Grof, Taundry, Butler, Holden, Featherstone (Jones), Chambers, Cuvelier, Grigg (Brandy), Paterson, Hemmings (Bowerman), Purkiss. Subs not used: Benning, Downing, Walker, Baxendale.
ATTENDANCE: 2,248 (374).