Scoring goals deep into injury time has become a Brentford trademark this season, but the Bees suffered a sucker punch themselves at Derby, with the home side grabbing an undeserved share of the spoils in this pre playoff showdown.
Mark Warburton brought Jonathan Douglas back into the starting lineup ahead of Stuart Dallas in an attempt to bolster the strength in the middle of the park alongside the brilliant Toumani Diagouraga, and for majority of the match, Brentford controlled the game and looked the superior and more exciting side. The watching TV audience will no doubt agree.
Derby came at the Bees from the start, but, after weathering the early pressure, the visitors started to impose themselves, attacking at pace and posing a real threat.
Alex Pritchard produced a moment of real quality and magic on 26 minutes as he ran at the Rams’ defence, the impressive midfielder cutting inside a defender before bending a superb shot into the corner of the net to silence the 30000 home fans.
After going ahead Brentford grew in stature, with Derby being forced into mistakes due to the tireless work-rate of the Bees and their creative flair coming forward. And at the back, Dean and Tarki looked as solid as a rock and really put in a shift.
Andre Grey had several guilt edged chances to increase the lead and to kill off Derby, and perhaps it was the lack of a clinical edge that lead to angry scenes back in the dressing room after the match.
Mark Warbuton let the cat out of the bag when he told the press: “There have been heated words said in the dressing room but that shows you how far we’ve come to come to Derby and only get one point and be disappointed.”
Grey wasn’t the only Bee to go close.. Jonathan Douglas was teed up by Jota but he couldn’t find the finish and the ball was cleared off the line.
Derby turned up the heat with ten minutes to go but, in all honesty, it felt as if a deserved win was in the bag… And the Rams fans that we spoke to outside the ground, and back in the pub, were honest enough to admit their side deserved nothing from the game.
The equaliser came from a wayward shot that somehow found its way through to Darren Bent who stabbed the ball past the exposed David Button. A harsh ending to a game that should have been wrapped up by Brentford long before the four minutes of injury time.
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ defeat at Birmingham, and Ipswich Town’s narrow win over Blackpool means the Bees remain in seventh place behind the Suffolk side on goal difference (one goal) and a single point behind Derby County in fifth place.
The last gasp goal may have deflated the mood on the away end at the final whistle a little, but few could argue what an impressive, positive, and exciting performance the Bees had produced. We don’t look a side full of nerves, holding on to a play off berth for our lives. Judging by the display at Derby we have every reason to feel confident that the next four games will see the Bees extend their season.
A win at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night becomes the next challenge in this wonderful season.
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