A Stephen Hunt penalty in the 78th minute was enough to give Brentford all three points against Milton Keynes Dons at Griffin Park. The win stretched The Bees unbeaten run to seven games and set them up for next week's F.A. Cup replay at Hartlepool United.
A steadily increasing injury list meant Brentford had to make four changes from last week's starting line-up. Jay Tabb and Eddie Hutchinson weren't fit enough to start and Isaiah Rankin was suspended. Scott Fitzgerald, Matt Harrold and Hunt came into the team. There was also a change in the goalkeeping department with Ademole 'George' Bankole making his debut replacing Stuart Nelson.
It meant Brentford had to change their system, starting with three central defenders and wing backs. Harrold and Hunt played alongside Stewart Talbot in midfield and Ben May partnered Deon Burton in attack. The first half was not a great spectacle. The visitors came intending to defend and happy to sit deep and leave with a point. Brentford had a couple of early chances, Harrold heading straight at David Martin and John Salako curled a free kick wide both inside the opening four minutes.
The rest of the half was very short of incident, the Dons barely getting out of their own half and Brentford unable to break through the massed ranks of defenders. The visitors first attack came in the 32nd minute, a shot from Paul Mitchell easily dealt with by Bankole. The Salako - Burton partnership nearly produced something for Brentford. Two deep free kicks from the former found the latter unmarked but on both occasions the header back across goal came to nothing. A change of shape from Brentford meant a much improved second half. Michael Dobson moved into central midfield with Harrold and Hunt moving wide and Sam Sodje switching to left back.
Salako curled another free kick inches wide and Ben May almost released Harrold behind the defence but Dean Lewington got back to make an excellent tackle. Burton headed straight at Martin from a Talbot free kick, Harrold shot wide and then he curled a shot straight at Martin after some excellent work on the right. The visitor's negative tactics continued despite Brentford's improvement. Wade Small's shot wide after Mitchell's shot was blocked by Turner and Nicky Rizzo firing wide at the near post was the extent of their forward ambitions.
Brentford's injury woes worsened when Fitzgerald had to be withdrawn with a head injury in the 72nd minute meaning another outing for 17-year-old Ryan Peters. He had the desired effect within 6 minutes. Hunt won the ball on the edge of the box as Lewington dallied in possession. Peters fired in a shot and the ball cannoned off the arm of Michel Pensee-Bilong. Referee Tanner pointed to the spot and Hunt sent Martin the wrong way.
After going behind the visitors pushed forward to try and gain a point their ambition would not have deserved. Substitute Jason Puncheon came closest with a curling free kick, but Bankole was equal to it. The home defence dealt well with the aerial threat of Clive Platt and The Bees collected the points.
Brentford: Bankole; Sodje, Fitzgerald (sub Peters 72 mins), Turner; Dobson, Harrold, Talbot, Hunt, Salako; Burton, May.
Subs (not used): Nelson, Lee, Palmer, Hillier
Written by Chris Wickham.