Ealing Road Comedies: Walsall always conjures dark memories
The name Walsall does not conjure up good memories for me. Even the name sounds miserable.
I once had the honour of playing rugby for Lichfield against the west Midlanders – then a couple of divisions above us in the RFU league pyramid – in the semi-finals of the Staffordshire Cup.
It was a competition our hosts had won on 10 previous occasions and, with the scores level in the closing seconds of the match, our fly-half had a long range penalty kick to claim a historic win, only to see it go wide.
We subsequently lost the match in extra-time in what seemed an eerily subdued atmosphere.
It wasn't until after the game that we learned a long-standing Walsall supporter had suffered a fatal heart-attack in the wake of the dramatic conclusion to normal time.
By all accounts, Saturday's 1-0 triumph over the Saddlers at Griffin Park was less dramatic, but will no doubt live long in the memory of Brentford’s on-loan striker Conor McAleny.
The atmosphere was understandably subdued in the wake of the incident that saw the 21-year-old stretchered off in the early stages of the encounter.
Painful: Conor McAleny broke his leg in the 1-0 win over Walsall on Saturday SP73046
It will be a significant moment in the youngster's career and – if it is any consolation to him – it will hopefully be a significant result in Brentford's season.
Grinding out wins when you have not played well is an art and with any luck boss Uwe Rosler's men are close to perfecting it.
This was a decisive step on the road to what many hope will be a League One promotion winning campaign, in the same way Brentford reserves’ 5-0 Captial One Cup defeat to Derby County sent out a message out to supporters and League One rivals... Brentford are focused on reaching the Championship.
It will be interesting when the FA Cup comes around to see if the manager takes the same approach in a competition that ultimately helped fund the club's run to the play-off final.
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