In front of Brentford`s largest home gate of the season (in spite of the apparent counter attraction of live International football on TV), the Bees played out their second goalless draw in three home matches, against Luton Town this afternoon.
Had the Bees capitalised on the 15 corners they forced, ten of which came in the opening 35 minutes, then it would obviously have been a different story. But chances were few and far between and on reflection neither side had a golden opportunity to seize the full three points.
The Bees, with Leo Roget absent through injury, brought Matt Somner back into the heart of the defence and included Ijah Anderson for the first time this season. It was Luton who forced the games first corner in the third minute (one of six for the visitors), following a good clearing header by Kevin O`Connor from Kevin Nicholl`s inswinger from the right.
Two minutes later and Dean Crowe was the first to react to a quickly taken free kick but saw his cross shot fly well wide of the target. The Bees had to wait until the ninth minute for their first corner and it came following some good interplay Mark McCammon and Stephen Hunt. Michael Dobson`s corner was played long to McCammon whose header back to Ibrahima Sonko led to the Frenchman powering in a header which was saved on the line. Corners for both sides followed and from the Bees` 4th in the 13th minute, Matt Somner saw his header just drift wide.
Excellent defensive play and an almighty clearance upfield by Sonko led to another corner in the 20th minute, but again it was to come to nothing. A fine inswinging corner from Dobbo in the 26th minute was pushed away by the keeper at the near post. With ten minutes of the half remaining the Bees broke strongly through McCammon and Hunt and three more corners ensued. As the Bees continued to gather corners, it was Luton who caused the greatest stir in the 38th minute when from a right wing cross, Steve Howard saw his header cannon off of the underside of the crossbar. After a few anxious moments the Bees were eventually able to clear. The half ended with Eddie Hutchinson picking up the ball in midfield and cracking in a shot from fully 25 yards which flew inches over the bar.
A minute following the break Sonko did well to thwart the danger posed by Crowe at the near post. He took control and with little room in which to manouvre still managed to hoick the ball to safety. Rowan Vine's shot on the turn following good work by McCammon and Hutch in the 58th minute, was pushed wide for a corner. Nine minutes later and an Anderson cross from the left was met by Hutchinson`s header which was deflected wide for yet another corner. With twenty minutes remaining a fine move initiated by Dobbo led to McCammon, Hutchinson and Hunt combining well.
A centre scythed it's way into through the Town defence and only last ditch defending eased the danger for the visitors. With twelve minutes remaining on the clock, the Bees made a double substitution with Jamie Fullarton and Mark Williams coming on for Jay Smith and Kevin O`Connor. Three minutes on and Fullarton got a great touch to the ball in the middle of the pitch. He touched it on to Hutch who strode away and having made room twenty-five yards out struck for home. But the ball veered just over the bar.a move and a shot worthy of a goal.
Luton made their second substitution just prior to the Bees making their third in the 87th minute, Stephen Hughes making his League debut to replace Hunt.
As the game drew a close, a corner and a long throw from Dobbo, lifted the hopes of the Bees fans for a late winner, while the visiting fans looked for a similar result as they forced the games final corner. But when the final whistle was blown, the points had been shared, and the harbingers of doom who had been expecting a defeat following the announcement of Wally Downes as Manager of the Month, were left wanting.
Bees: P Smith, Dobson, Sonko, Somner, Anderson, O`Connor (Williams 78), Hutchinson, J Smith (Fullarton 78), Hunt (Hughes 87), McCammon, Vine.
Subs not used: Julian & Chorley.
Attendance: 7,145 (1493 away fans).