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BRENTFORD 1 CRYSTAL PALACE 1

Posted on: Wed 11 May 2011

Brentford ended their pre-season schedule with a draw against Championship side Crystal Palace.

The Bees dominated the first half and deserved the lead given to them by Nicky Forster.

But Palace hit back and levelled after the break in a second period they would have felt happier with.

It was an archetypal game of two halves - the visitors flew out of the blocks and dominated the early stages, particularly in midfield.

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Calvin Andrew forced Simon Moore into a low save with a 20-yard effort but they couldn't turn possession into chances and it wasn't long before Brentford, lead by the excellent Toumani Diagouraga, had a grip on the game.

Julian Speroni saved from Forster and Michael Spillane missed a gilt-edged chance when he headed a Sam Wood corner wide from seven yards.

Kieron Cadogan had a volley saved and Moore also denied Kieran Djilali but most of the action was at the other end and Brentford edged ahead just before the half hour.

Diagouraga, who was at the centre of almost everything Brentford did, fed Myles Weston in the left channel, his first shot was blocked by Adam Barrett and his second saved by Speroni but Forster volleyed in the loose ball.

Moore saved well from an Andrew header but The Bees should have been two up when Diagouraga again fed Forster on the right, his low cross was tipped out by Speroni straight to Weston but the winger-cum-striker couldn't turn it in.

Cadogan shot over and Darren Ambrose had a lofted effort saved but Brentford ended the first half on the attack.

Weston shot wide after a nice exchange of passes with Wood and then forced Speroni into another low save after turning Claude David a little too easily.

Palace introduced the powerful Alan Lee at half time and immediately improved with a target up front.

His first touch was a nod down into the path of fellow substitute Wilfred Zaha but the shot was weak from 15 yards and Moore saved.

Zaha shot over again while at the other end Barrett blocked a Saunders shot and Weston forced Speroni into a save with a low effort.

Palace were piling on the pressure and almost equalised when Moore slipped attempting to come for a loose ball, Karleigh Osborne challenged with Cadogan but the Brentford keeper scrambled back to punch it over his own bar.

Moore tipped a fierce Ambrose effort over the bar but from the resulting corner, David headed down and Cadogan bumped Moore out of the way and nodded it in with Brentford appealing for a foul.

Weston almost restored the advantage when he got goal side of Davis but he was bumped by the central defender as he tried to get free and Speroni was able to prevent him progressing.

Ambrose shot over and Zaha shot across the face of goal before Andy Dorman fired off target.

Both teams rang the changes as the minutes ticked on and the game lost a bit of its flow - Brentford introduced trialists Izale McLeod and Michael Chennells, from Windsor and Eton, and the latter could have scored with his first touch but headed a Saunders corner wide.

Speroni tipped a curling free kick from Saunders over the bar but Palace also could have won it.

Brentford almost presented them with a winner when Leon Legge, Kevin O'Connor and Moore collided on their goal line and just about managed to scramble it away.

And Zaha fired wide from 15 yards in the dying seconds as the game ended all square.

Brentford: Moore; O'Connor, McCracken, Osborne (sub Legge 68 mins), Woodman; Spillane, Bean, Diagouraga (sub Hunt 68 mins), Wood (sub Saunders h/t); Forster (sub McLeod 68 mins), Weston (sub Chennells 68 mins)

Crystal Palace: Speroni; Clyne, Davis (sub Holland 76 mins), Barrett, Wright (sub Capaldi 68 mins); Cadogan, Shumulikowski, Dorman (sub Danns 71 mins), Djilali (sub Zaha h/t); Ambrose; Andrew (sub Lee h/t)

Attendance: 2,166 (759 away fans)

By Chris Wickham

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