Brentford were frustrated by a dogged Swindon Town side at GriffinPark and were held to a 0-0 draw by their West Country visitors. Despite having the majority of possession and creating a number of chances they were unable to break through and had to settle for a solitary point.
The Bees were forced into just one change from the team which won at Oldham last week with Jay Tabb returning from international duty to replace Alex Rhodes, who is set to be out for a month with a knee injury. John Mousinho replaced the suspended Dudley Campbell on the bench.
Swindon lined up with a defensive 4-5-1 formation and invited Brentford to try and break them down, Paul Brooker created the first opportunity for the home side when he popped up on the left wing a swung a cross to the far post, Lloyd Owusu rose but Sean O'Hanlon got a head to the ball and diverted it behind for a corner.
The visitors had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 15th minute when Rory Fallon chested down Gareth Whalley's lofted pass and turned away from Michael Turner, his volley went straight into the ground and was easy for Stuart Nelson. A couple of long range efforts from Colin Heath failed to trouble Nelson while at the other end a clever flick from Owusu set Tabb clear, he was clean through with only Tom Heaton to beat but lost control at the vital moment and Heaton smothered.
Brentford continued to dominate possession while Swindon camped behind the ball and had a few speculative long range shots on Nelson's goal. Michael Pook and Heath both failed to trouble the Bees keeper while at the other end Tabb forced Heaton to tip over and from the resulting corner Tabb rose unmarked at the far post to meet Brooker's corner following Owusu's flick, but he nodded it wide.
Heath seemed to be the Robins' main threat and he was at the far post to meet Andrew Nicholas' long throw, but volleyed wide. Whalley then had a shot deflected for a corner after Heath found him on the edge of the box.
The second half began with the visitors down to ten men, as substitute Neale McDermott wasn't ready to come on at the resumption of play. He eventually replaced Jack Smith ninety seconds into the half, by which time Brentford had already won a corner. From that set piece Sam Sodje headed over the bar.
Brentford created a series of excellent chances in the opening ten minutes of the second half. In the 48th minute a Turner free kick the ball dropped to Sodje ten yards out but a Swindon body deflected it over for a corner. A minute later Rankin muscled his way free and fed Junior Lewis, he slipped the ball wide to Brooker who crossed to the far post, Owusu rose and met it but O'Hanlon cleared it off the line. The ball dropped to Darren Pratley who fired over from ten yards out.
Brentford had an appeal for a penalty in the 50th minute when Kevin O'Connor's long throw fell to Tabb eight yards from goal, as he began to pull the trigger he was bundled over, but referee Walton gave nothing. Four minutes later Rankin and Owusu combined to feed Brooker 20 yards from goal, his shot seemed set for the top corner before Heaton tipped it over.
At the other end Heath fired over before Brentford created another golden opportunity in the 62nd minute. Owusu flicked on a throw from Andrew Frampton and Isaiah Rankin got behind the defence, his cross was met by Brooker who forced Heaton into a wonderful save. Swindon went straight down the other end and it took a marvellous tackle from Sodje to prevent Heath going clear, although he may have been better looking for a colleague inside the area.
Scott Fitzgerald and Marcus Gayle replaced Owusu and Brooker as Brentford continued to press. Swindon maintained their defensive shape and a few long range efforts from Nicholas, Hameur Bouazza, Pook and Christian Roberts failed to trouble Nelson.
Nicholas was more effective at the other end when he produced a goal saving tackle to deny Rankin who seemed set to finish Tabb's pull back. Frampton then had a header from a corner deflected over, Sodje headed wide from another Tabb set piece, and then over from another.
The visitors were reduced to ten men with two minute remaining when Jerel Ifil was dismissed for a second bookable offence following a foul on Fitzgerald and despite Brentford having a series of late corners and long throws they couldn't produce the vital goal and had to settle for a draw.
Brentford: Nelson; O'Connor, Turner, Sodje, Frampton; Brooker (sub Fitzgerald 66 mins), Lewis, Pratley, Tabb; Owusu (sub Gayle 66 mins), Rankin
Subs (not used): Tillen, Mousinho, Bankole
Written by Chris Wickham