Brentford added another point towards their final total after a 1-1 draw at Layer Road against Colchester United. The Bees took the lead through a Jay Tabb inside the first six minutes but were pegged back just past the half hour. Colchester pushed on looking for a winner but Brentford, with a defence marshalled expertly by Michael Turner, held firm and won a point.
The Bees made just one change from the team which won at Milton Keynes with Marcus Gayle returning after illness. He replaced Darren Pratley in the starting XI with Jay Tabb stepping inside to play in the centre of midfield. Isaiah Rankin and Sam Tillen, who also missed the game at Milton Keynes, took places on the substitute's bench.
With both teams in the top six at the start of play they were looking for a quick start and an early goal and it was Brentford who got it. Tabb and Lloyd Owusu combined to create a shooting opportunity for Calum Willock but Aidan Davison in the Colchester goal tipped his effort around the post. Paul Brooker floated the corner in and it dropped to Tabb 12 yards out, he lashed the ball into the bottom corner.
Despite the early goal the game started scrappily, the home side seemed rattled and Brentford were the more comfortable team. Willock had a goal disallowed when Owusu was adjudged to have fouled Davison. Colchester's first chance came after good play on the left by Mark Yeates. He managed to get away from Brooker and Ricky Newman on the left but Stuart Nelson beat his low shot away at the near post.
The Bees looked to build on their lead, Tabb fired wide and Owusu forced Davison into a save with a fine turn and shot inside the box but just past the half hour the home side were level. Karl Duguid took a throw quickly and got it back from Yeates, his cross picked out Chris Iwelumo who nodded home unchallenged from six yards.
After their equaliser Colchester grew in confidence, Nelson saved superbly from a Tony Thorpe lobbed effort after Greg Halford found him in space inside the box and they came within a whisker of taking the lead just before half time. Yeates twisted inside Brooker and Jamie Smith and lofted a cross to the far post. It eluded Nelson and cannoned off the post, Thorpe picked up the re-bound but Turner blocked superbly. From Kevin Watson's corner, Halford flicked on and Iwelumo headed over.
The Bees started the second half in a similar manner to the way they started the first but without the goal as an end result. Pat Baldwin produced a great last ditch tackle to deny Owusu after he turned inside Garry Richards but Colchester came closer at the other end. A long ball forward eluded Iwelumo and Sam Sodje, Thorpe nipped in behind them and lofted it over Nelson but Turner cleared superbly off the line. Yeates fired the loose ball wide.
Iwelumo missed another good chance for Colchester when Yeates beat four Brentford defenders and crossed from the left but the U's goal scorer fired the ball straight at Nelson. Yeates and Thorpe wasted further chances with poor efforts.
Turner was in the right place at the right time again for the visitors a few moments later when Halford latched onto a long ball, cut inside Nelson, who had come to try and gather, and fired in a shot, Turner cleared off the line again. Nelson saved well from Billy Clarke, the Colchester substitute, and Watson as the home side continued to press.
The chances dried up as the game went on, neither team able to break through and though the home side pressed Brentford held firm and took a point home.
Brentford: Nelson; Smith, Turner, Sodje, Frampton; Brooker, Newman, Tabb (sub Pratley h/t), Gayle (sub Hutchinson 64 mins); Willock (sub Rankin h/t), Owusu
Subs (not used): Tillen, Bankole
Written by Chris Wickham