A Ryan Peters goal with fifteen minutes to go earned Brentford a point against Gillingham at GriffinPark. The Bees had trailed to a debut goal from Neil Harris in first half injury time, despite being the better team for the opening 45 minutes.
Martin Allen made two changes to the team which won a point at Barnsley two days ago, with Peters and Junior Lewis coming into the team replacing Paul Brooker, who was injured, and Michael Dobson, who took a place amongst the substitutes.
Brentford opened brightly and could have been ahead inside the first ten minutes. Peters set off on a mazy run which took him clear of the visitor's midfield; he slipped the ball through to Lloyd Owusu who fired a shot against the body of Jason Brown, the Gills keeper.
Kevin O'Connor fired a volley wide from 25 yards as Brentford continued to push for the opening goal and Jay Tabb brought another save from Brown. At the other Darren Byfield headed a Brent Sancho cross wide and Michael Turner was in the right place at the right time to stop Byfield going through on goal after he slipped past Sam Sodje. With 21 minutes on the clock Matthew Jarvis fired wastefully high and wide from the edge of the penalty area.
Peters had a shot from a corner blocked by a Brentford player and Owusu shot wide after Peters had once again caused mayhem by running at the Gillingham back line. There were chances at the other end too, Byfield should have opened the scoring when he latched onto a long kick from Brown and cut inside Turner but he curled an effort wide.
The game continued to flow from end to end and Gillingham had a golden chance with five minutes to go before half time. Jarvis' run down the right ended with a lay off to Byfield who got it back to Jarvis, his shot was cleared off the line by Tabb with the visitors appealing for handball.
The opening goal came in the dying seconds of the first half when Stuart Nelson came out of his goal to deal with a hopeful ball forward, his clearance cannoned off Sodje and into the path of Harris who rolled it into the unguarded net from 25 yards.
The goal gave Gillingham the impetus after the break and they could have gone further ahead, Byfield wasted another chance when he headed straight at Nelson, Alan Pouton curled a shot inches wide from the edge of the box and Byfield volleyed over the bar at full stretch after Jarvis had swung in a fine cross from the right after a breakaway. Later in the half Pouton shot wide from distance.
Brentford were fighting hard and Isaiah Rankin almost created something out of nothing when he turned Sancho but his curling effort was off target. Rankin then headed wide after Owusu fashioned a cross from the left wing and headed just off target minutes later when he rose highest from an O'Connor free kick. A goal almost came just before the hour mark when a Tabb corner caused confusion in the Gillingham defence, Sodje beat Brown to the ball but a combination of Owusu and Turner couldn't quite get the ball over the line.
Jarvis was a continual threat on Gillingham's right wing and two dangerous crosses within 30 seconds forced Sodje and then Turner to clear deep inside the penalty area. Ian Cox fired a shot that was deflected wide from one Jarvis corner and from the resulting flag kick Cox again headed over.
Brentford got themselves level in the 75th minute. Substitute Dudley Campbell won the ball well on the edge of the penalty area under a deal of pressure. The ball was worked through to Tabb who stood a cross up to the far post where Peters was waiting to head home.
From then on Brentford poured forward looking for a winner, Eddie Hutchinson had a shot blocked and Michael Dobson set up Jay Tabb who fired straight at Brown. Owusu rose and headed powerfully just over the crossbar from a Tabb corner and O'Connor shot over after Owusu laid it off to him. Gillingham almost snatched it at the death when Michael Flynn picked the ball up from Harris' lay off and curled a shot narrowly wide.
Brentford: Nelson; O'Connor, Turner, Sodje, Frampton; Peters, Lewis (sub Dobson 62 mins), Hutchinson, Tabb; Owusu, Rankin (sub Campbell 62 mins)
Subs (not used): Gayle, Fitzgerald, Bankole
Written by Chris Wickham