Brentford 0-1 Walsall: Match Report

09 January 2016 06:34

Walsall's Sam Mantom stings Bees with stunning strike

Dean Smith's Brentford were bundled out of the FA Cup 1-0 by his former club Walsall courtesy of Sam Mantom's superb first-half strike.

The midfielder gave his former boss - who only left Walsall for Brentford in November last year - something to think about when he strode forward from halfway to curl a wonderful shot past Bees keeper David Button.

It was no more than the promotion-chasing Saddlers deserved against their Championship opposition. The League One side were first to every ball against the Bees, who were made to pay for fielding a weakened side.

Brentford, missing four first team regulars through injury and transfer speculation, had to wait until the 43rd minute for their first shot on goal, Alan McCormack's turn and shot easily gathered by Walsall stopper Neil Etheridge.

Brentford, building a reputation for passing football in the Championship, were given a lesson in ball retention by the Midlanders who were great value for their giant killing.

Josh McEachran was the first to get a sight of goal for the Bees, but like his team-mates he failed to take responsibility and the chance was gone.

The cagey first half hour burst to life on 34 minutes when Mantom powered forward and picked his spot as the Bees midfield backed off.

At the other end Milan Lalkovic curled an effort just over the angle as the Brentford rearguard once again stood off and invited him forward.

Brentford only started playing after the break with the introduction of midfielder Alan Judge, but even his appearance was not enough to stop the Bees firing blanks.

Jake Bidwell's angled drive flew wide for the hosts before Judge forced a smart save from the keeper with a sizzling angled drive.

Brentford played some slick one-touch football until the edge of the visitors' box where they were repeatedly snuffed out by a well-disciplined defence.

But the build-up play from Smith's new side was always predictable and ponderous and allowed Walsall to bid their time and attack on the break.

Mantom stung Bees keeper David Button's fingertips with a fizzing low drive just before the hour mark while Philipp Hofmann tested Etheridge at the other end.

John Swift's dipping drive forced a save off the slick surface on the hour, but as Brentford pressed it left holes for the pacy Walsall strikers.

Romaine Sawyers blazed over when well placed and George Evans had a golden opportunity to seal the win in the dying stages but fired high and wide.

Fit-again Bees striker Marco Djuricin came on as a last throw of the dice by Smith but squandered the Bees' best chance of a replay when he snatched at his shot and it sailed wide.

Deep into injury time James O'Connor headed against the foot of the post, but Walsall held out for a deserved victory.


Source: PA


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