Football: Miklosko able to save a point

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The Independent Online
Brentford. . . . .0

West Ham United. .0

BILLY BONDS, the West Ham manager, expressed satisfaction at his team's point from a robust but too often guileless match. Given the save his goalkeeper, Ludek Miklosko, was forced to make at the last he was probably right to be content but West Ham should have secured three points before that.

Brentford, watched by their biggest crowd of the season - nearly 12,000 - gave little indication how they had won all four of their Anglo-Italian Cup group matches but their six successive wins leading up to West Ham's first visit to Griffin Park in 38 years suggested that the early-season struggle to come to terms with their higher station was behind them.

Phil Holder, their manager, said afterwards that even in the bad times this season no First Division side had given Brentford a footballing lesson. West Ham probably have the ability to do that but they certainly were not about to admit it yesterday.

In fact for 25 minutes the entertainment was strictly of the Sunday morning kind, upmarket park football. The wide boys on view in this London derby had forgotten their patter and the front men were sold short.

In fact it was not until Brentford's Shane Westley gave Trevor Morley the space for West Ham's first shot after 25 minutes that the visitors realised that they had to make room to move.

The sight of that shot, weak as it was, seemed to inspire movement, thought and as a result decent passing from the West Ham midfield and quickly both Ian Bishop and Clive Allen, who had scored eight times in his previous six games, gave Graham Benstead in the Brentford goal something to think about.

Brentford were a little more positive in the second half, trying to build on their confident work at the back but West Ham always looked the more likely to score, especially since Brentford's Gary Blissett has yet to gel with his new striking partner, Joe Allon.

Clive Allen went close again soon after the interval but it was Morley who had West Ham's best chance, blazing Tim Breacker's low cross back across goal 14 minutes from time.

Then in the last minute Bretford almost stole it when Blissett headed down Brian Statham's free-kick for substitute Neil Smillie to hit a volley that Miklosko did well to parry. That might have summed up the game; nice try but Ludo's better.

Brentford: Benstead; Statham, Manuel, Millen, Westley, Ratcliffe, Bennett (Smillie, 56), Luscombe (Godfrey, 79), Allon, Blissett, Gayle.

West Ham United: Miklosko; Breacker, Dicks, Potts, Martin, M Allen, Robson (Bunbury, 71), Bishop, Morley, C Allen, Keen. Substitute not used: Foster.

Referee: M James (Horsham).