Brentford 1 Walsall 0
After last week's disappointment when an unforced error cost Brentford all three points against Walsall, today the Bees hung on to earn a place in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup and can dream of a tie against one of the Premiership Big Boys in tomorrow's draw, at least until Sunday saw us drawn against Doncaster Rovers in the third round of the FA Cup.
Beset by suspension and absentee loanees ironically it was the totally revamped back four with Foster restored to right back, Dickson recovered from illness on the left and a new partnership of Leon Legge and Bennett in the middle which kept the Bees' first clean sheet for a month.
Giant defender Legge scored a hat-trick for Tonbridge last season and he could have matched that feat today but, as it was, his early unopposed header from a precise John Bostock corner was the difference between the two sides.
Just like last week, the Bees should have been at least 2 goals clear at half time with Dickson's header cleared off the line, Bostock, Strevens and MacDonald all going close.
The second half was more even with Legge and Strevens going close twice each and sub Cleveland Taylor delaying his shot when looking set to score. The defence earned their corn with a fantastic last ditch tackle by Man of the Match Legge and a fine save from the recalled Lewis Price ensuring that the Bees earned a hard fought but deserved victory.
The match turned late on when MacDonald was replaced by Hunt and the new 4-5-1 formation lacked shape and gave fresh impetus to a Walsall team that previously looked resigned to defeat.
Andy Scott recognised this and made another late change with loanee Rhys Murphy coming on for Bostock to restore the 4-4-2 formation that had worked so well in the first half.
Hopefully winning is both confidence building and contagious as the Bees enter a busy period with tough matches (aren't they all) against Colchester, Tranmere and Leeds on the horizon.
The FA Cup is all about winning and not necessarily winning style points. Today the Bees accomplished the first and won some of the second early on before a display of true grit saw them through.
Bees - Price, Foster, Legge, Bennett, Dickson, Bostock (Murphy), Bean, O'Connor, Wood (Taylor), Maconald (Hunt), Strevens
Thanks to Greville Waterman and BIAS for the match report.
November 30, 2009