Brentford's hopes of promotion took a buffeting as they were hit by another last-minute equaliser against Hartlepool United at Griffin Park. Kevin O'Connor seemed set to give The Bees a vital win with a fantastic 83rd minute free-kick but Michael Nelson lashed in at a corner to disappoint the home side.
The Bees were forced into a change from the team which won handsomely at Swindon last week as Lloyd Owusu was missing through injury, Calum Willock replaced him. They also welcomed back Andrew Frampton, who missed the Swindon match to attend the birth of his daughter, and he replaced Sam Tillen.
The home side dominated large swathes of the match but were unable to cut through the well-organised Hartlepool defence. Marcus Gayle had a header saved early on and Dimitrios Konstantopoulos saved well from the Bees striker as he met a Jay Tabb corner. Ritchie Humphreys brought a save from Stuart Nelson with a low drive at the other end.
Michael Turner and Willock fired off target and the former Peterborough striker miss-hit a shot after a fine Brentford move involving Gayle and Tabb. Hartlepool had a golden chance to get to half time in front when Stuart Nelson and Sam Sodje collided when challenging for a high ball, it dropped to Joel Porter who lobbed it over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Brentford continued to press the visitors back after the break but found it tough to create clear-cut openings. Paul Brooker fired straight at Konstantopoulos from the edge of the box and Tabb fired wide, while at the other end Porter forced Nelson into a smart low save.
Just as the game edged towards a goalless draw O'Connor illuminated it with a peach of a goal. He stepped up to curl a free-kick from twenty yards out over the wall and into the top corner, giving Konstantopoulos no chance.
But Hartlepool refused to lie down and with just five seconds of the 90 minutes remaining they were level. A corner was only half cleared by Brentford and Nelson, who had been a rock at the back, smashed it home from ten yards out.
Late Brentford pressure came to nothing and they are now hoping for YeovilTown to beat Colchester United next Saturday so that a victory at Bournemouth can clinch second spot in Coca-Cola League One.
Brentford: Nelson; O'Connor, Turner, Sodje, Frampton; Brooker (sub Hutchinson 89 mins), Pratley, Newman (sub Rhodes 62 mins), Tabb; Willock (sub Rankin 75 mins), Gayle
Subs (not used): Bankole, Tillen
Written by Chris Wickham