Bees pegged back by Walsall [UPDATED]
21st Nov 3pm
Brentford lost a home league lead for the second time in a week to draw 1-1 with Walsall in a game they really should have won.
Everything looked rosy when Ben Strevens converted a Myles Weston cross in the 11th minute but Steve Jones scored for the visitors in the second half to earn his team a point.
Brentford were very much the dominant force in the first half but failed to convert their chances. Myles Weston had a great game before limping off with a hamstring injury which seemed a turning point in the game as Walsall grabbed the initiative shortly after.
Stevens thought he had won all three points but his late strike was disallowed.
Brentford gave debuts to loanees Szczesny and Balkestein and will consider today's result as two points dropped. Brentford now lie 16th in League One.
A terrific first half performance where Brentford totally dominated was thrown away. The bees fans, and Andy Scott I'm sure, would have have left the ground totally frustrated. The first half was so one sided you couldn't see beyond an easy Brentford win. All that pressure led to just one goal, a very well taken far post header by Strevens from a lovely Weston cross.
Weston was full of beans throughout the first half and was causing Walsall problems right up until he felt his hamstring tighten and was replaced on 53 minutes by Sam Wood. It was after that substitution that Walsall started to get more into the game. They started to play some decent football on the ground but their goal came from a catalogue of half clearances and a bouncing ball which new centre half, Balkestein, failed to control. Jones lashed the loose ball in from eight yards.
Although the bees had much of the play and lots of good football was played they often failed to really put the keeper under pressure. On 87 minutes bees fans thought we'd got the breakthrough with another magnificent header from Strevens but it was ruled out for offside or pushing or something.
As for the new boys, Szczesny commands not only his box but most of the Brentford third too! There's real quality there. Balkestein was solid throughout apart from his inability to deal with an awkward bouncing ball that led to the goal. Bostock played well again and showed some real skill with the ball although you did feel he was keen to get the ball on his left foot rather than attempt anything with his right.
As for the regular bees players, Kev seems to have found his form again and was very solid, doing all the things we expect of him. Weston was a threat throughout his time on the pitch but my man of the match goes to Ben Strevens who led the line really well, scored a very good goal and nearly got the winner.
So, if we are without Weston for a few games it's time to put Bostock on his favoured left side of midfield and let Saunders and Taylor fight it out for the right side. The back four of Dickson, Balkestein, Osborne and Wilson worked well so it might be worth sticking with it even though I do think Wilson should be playing centre half. Andy Scott seems to be struggling with playing Foster or Osborne at right back. I shall continue to moan about us not playing our best right back in that position, but Kev is required in the middle of the park right now.
Bees - Szczesny, Wilson, Osborne, Balkestein, Dickson, Bostock, Bean, O'Connor, Weston (Wood), Macdonald (Kabba), Strevens