THE FA CUP | MATCH REPORT | Brentford 0 Walsall 1×
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THE FA CUP | MATCH REPORT | Brentford 0 Walsall 1
 
THE FA CUP | MATCH REPORT | Brentford 0 Walsall 1
THE FA CUP | MATCH REPORT | Brentford 0 Walsall 1
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THE FA CUP | MATCH REPORT | Brentford 0 Walsall 1

2:26 pm Sunday, 10 January 2016
Earlier today, Walsall Football Club travelled to London as they took on Brentford in the Third Round of this season's Emirates FA Cup. Pete Sadler was in attendance, and you can read his match report below.
Earlier today, Walsall Football Club travelled to London as they took on Brentford in the Third Round of this season's Emirates FA Cup. Pete Sadler was in attendance, and you can read his match report below.

FOLLOW PETE ON TWITTER | HERE

Saturday was the scene of the inaugural away trip for #JPistory and I have to say it was a memorable and action packed adventure.

Meeting at New Street station for a breakfast beer and the obligatory game of pick a pair with train tickets we were all in good spirits and banter flowed from the outset...who would have known that JP has never had a Pot Noodle (other lazy potted food is available)?!?

We boarded the train and were joined by a number of other Saddlers fans, along with fans from Watford and Wolves also who were more than complimentary about the current squad and results this season...that's right, even the Wolves fan. All was going swimmingly until a young Walsall fan from left Cory hanging in his search for a high-five. Youngsters eh!

Negotiating the tube with the expertise of a Romaine Sawyers laser guides pass we arrived at South Ealing for a walk to the ground and a little refreshment on the way. The staff at The Ealing Park Tavern were great and offered a lovely beer in nice surroundings, I'd recommend it, even if a bit pricey. Cory's smoked almonds were a new one on me but ok.

As we began our walk to the ground we were joined by a Brentford fan who kindly guided us to the ground and have us a comprehensive review of the team for the day and pubs in the local area. The Bees fan explained that they had made 4-5 changes and he was surprised that they only had influential midfielder Alan Judge on the bench. The Saddlers also made a number of changes from the disappointing defeat to Rochdale last time out; Jason Demetriou left out entirely and Liam Kinsella starting at right-back, Rico Henry replacing Andy Taylor at left-back with the latter dropping to the bench, Tom Bradshaw starting as the lone striker as Jordan Cook dropped to the subs bench and a change in shape slightly to a three-man centre midfield of Sam Mantom, George Evans and captain/legend/evergreen Adam Chambers.

Once we had 'negotiated' the jobsworth steward who suggested he would be moving everyone around us into their allocated seats (yeah good luck with that pal, see you at half-time when you're still doing it) the game began and the view for the travelling Saddlers in the seated area was terrific, if not a tad cramped.

Walsall started much the better team and whilst Brentford are renowned for their passing football, it was the away side that had the better of the initial stages. Mantom was all over the pitch and looked like a man with a point to prove, Sawyers from our view manages to create space out of nowhere and Milan Lalkovic was lively and clearly threatened with his pace if not with an end product.

The opening goal came after 35 minutes as Chambers fed Mantom outside the box before he jinked forward and curled a delightful left-footed stroke past David Button's right hand into the Bees' net. The 1600 travelling fans were jubilant and I shouted my head off in joy. It's a good job this report isn't an audio piece now is all I say!

Far from resting on their initial success the Saddlers continued to press and were resolute at the other end when needed also. Lalkovic had the next chance as he cut in from the left and fired over from outside the box. As we reached the break it was the home side that had questions to be answered. I had the mental dilemma of how to react to Dean Smith as he crossed the pitch at the break, which I resolved by asking him what the score was but then applauding him as he did clap us.

EMIRATES FA CUP - THIRD ROUND | HALF TIME
BRENTFORD 0 WALSALL 1

Smith surprised us all by making a change at the break as Josh McEachran was replaced by Judge, hopefully he would be the deciding factor the Saddlers hoped. Although the change did inevitably have an impact his first offering was a wayward shot which was high and wide, much to our delight.

Brentford had more possession in the second period it has to be said, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge producing a number of fine saves from shots albeit from distance, but also remaining calm under pressure and coming off his line to claim free balls into the box. A definite man of the match contender was the Walsall stopper.

Just after the hour mark the Saddlers changed their shape as Rico made way for Taylor and Anthony Forde coming on for Lalkovic, meaning that the formation reverted to five across the back at times with Taylor as the third centre-back.

Whilst this was undoubtedly a defensive move the Saddlers still had chances, a good move down the left following lovely footwork from Sawyers releasing an attack then a switch in play finding Evans on the edge of the box but the on-loan Man City player fired over without testing the keeper from just inside the box.

Both teams changed their strikers in the final ten minutes as Kieron Morris came on for Bradshaw which meant Sawyers became the target man, Marco Djuricin came on for the Bees after returning from injury (as I was told earlier) looking to change the home side's fortune. The Saddlers surely having one eye on Tuesday and I would suggest a much more important game, where we will need Super Tom at his best.

Sawyers and Etheridge were superb in their final contributions in managing the game as the Saddlers held on to a superb win to move the team into round 4 of the FA Cup. Let the celebrations ensue.

On the recommendation of the fan we spoke to pre-match we found ourselves in The Globe near to the ground, the only away fans in the establishment. Even the barmaids were wearing Brentford shirts. The beers flowed despite being booed by a young fan which resulted in us missing our train home! Fortunately we eventually sorted ourselves out and made it home in time for Match of the Day.

All in all a great day out, which I loved every moment of as I am sure all the other Saddlers did too...well possibly apart from the pair behind me who wanted Sawyers replaced after the 5th minute (yeah I told them they were wrong).  We can be proud of the boys today who were out to prove a point to their former manager and maybe us too after a disappointing result last in the league. Fantastic show of character.

We go again on Tuesday at Coventry, in a game that is huge for our promotion aims. Realistically I would take a draw as it is important not to lose against a strong team but a win would be huge! Fingers crossed I can get along to support the boys, and hope as many of you can also make it!

Up the Saddlers.

THE EMIRATES FA CUP - THIRD ROUND | RESULT
BRENTFORD 0 WALSALL 1
GOAL | Mantom (34')
ATTENDANCE | 7,950 (1,661 Walsall)
REFEREE | Mr. Andy Davies | Hampshire

FOLLOW PETE ON TWITTER | HERE


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