Brentford extended their unbeaten run to seven games with a 1-1 draw against Chesterfield at GriffinPark. The visitors had taken a first half lead but a Kevin O'Connor goal eight minute from time earned the home side a share of the spoils.
Brentford were forced into two changes from the team which stated against Yeovil on Tuesday night with Andrew Frampton and Jay Tabb missing out through injury. Sam Tillen, who replaced Frampton before the interval against Yeovil was also injured. Marcus Gayle started in the left back position with Paul Brooker switching from the right to the left of midfield with Isaiah Rankin starting on the right wing. Junior Lewis, Ryan Peters and Darius Charles took places on the substitute's bench.
Brentford were looking to start quickly, as they had done against Yeovil, but were faced with a light blue wall as Chesterfield sat deep early on. They did, however, pass the ball well and Derek Niven had the game's first shot when he curled one into Nelson's midriff in the sixth minute.
The home side had a golden opportunity to take control of the game when Ricky Newman's through ball opened up the Spireites defence, O'Connor raced onto it and curled a cross in, Lloyd Owusu stole a march on the home defence but was unable to direct his header accurately.
Following that good chance the game settled into a pattern with the visitors passing the ball well but content to leave five or six men behind the ball and soak up Brentford pressure, and when they got a chance to edge ahead they took it. A quick free-kick from Sammy Clingan left Paul Hall in a race with Michael Turner, which the Chesterfield winger won; he shrugged off the Bees defender and slotted the ball comfortably past Nelson.
The goal only served to increase the confidence of the visitors and they made full use of their possession as Brentford struggled to keep the ball as well as they had done in previous games. The home side did create chances though, Dudley Campbell shot wide after Rankin had won a tussle on the right and the former Yeading striker fired wide again just before the interval when he picked the ball up following a period of head tennis.
Chesterfield had chances too, Kevan Hurst shot wide after the visitor had worked an opening with a number of incisive passes. Niven headed a Hall cross wide and Clingan wasted another shooting chance late on in the first half. Despite having the upper hand Chesterfield should have been pegged back minutes before the break. Sam Sodje won a long ball and headed it back towards the visitors' goal where Owusu raced onto it. He got clear of the defence but shot straight at the Barry Roche in the Spireites goal.
Brentford started the second half with renewed vigour and could have drawn level within two minutes of the re-start. Sodje forced a fine save from Roche when he met Brooker's free kick and from the resulting corner Darren Pratley volleyed wide from ten yards out.
With the home side pushing forward Chesterfield were able to exploit the space in behind and Hall almost sealed the points when he curled a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box when Mark Allott had put him clear. Hurst then had a shot blocked after Nelson failed to get distance on a punch from a Hall cross and Sodje had to produce a last ditch tackle to prevent Hall going clean through from Niven's carefully weighted pass.
Brentford kept straining for an equaliser and Tuesday's hero, Turner, almost came up trumps again. He picked up a throw from Gayle and let fly from 25 yards but Roche turned it away at full stretch. From the resulting throw-in substitute Peters worked the ball to Pratley, who blazed over. With ten minutes left on the clock Gayle curled a free-kick over but Brentford finally broke through in the 82nd minute.
Sodje picked the ball up on halfway and strode out of defence, he split the light blue wall with an inch perfect pass and O'Connor raced onto it before slotting it past Roche and into the far corner for his fourth goal of the season. Chesterfield had a half chance to win the game just before the end when substitute Caleb Folan shot straight at Nelson but the points were shared.
Brentford: Nelson; O'Connor, Turner, Sodje, Gayle (sub Charles 87 mins); Rankin (sub Peters 60 mins), Newman, Pratley, Brooker (sub Hutchinson 60 mins); Owusu, Campbell
Subs (not used): Bankole, Lewis
Written by Chris Wickham