Brentford started their Christmas schedule with hard-earned and fully deserved point at Milton Keynes Dons.
Alan Connell's early strike looked set to give the visitors a surprise away victory against the table-toppers but Kevin Gallen equalised mid-way through the second half to earn the home side a share of the spoils.
The Bees were by no means over-awed by the team five points clear at the top of League Two and made themselves very difficult to break down with Matthew Heywood and Karleigh Osborne commanding at the heart of the defence.
And with Connell pulling the strings in a position just behind Lee Thorpe, The Bees created enough chances to have won the match.
Thorpe should have given the visitors the lead moments before they scored when he raced clear only to shoot straight at Willy Gueret in the home goal.
But The Dons failed to clear and Ben Starosta's deep cross was nodded down by Thorpe into the path of Connell who lofted it expertly over Gueret and into the corner.
The hosts had more of the ball but found it hard to breach the Brentford defence, Keith Andrews fired wide early on and Gallen blazed over from close range soon after but even after falling a goal behind MK were content to keep the ball and pass it in front of the Bees' lines.
Lloyd Dyer could have equalised when he rounded Simon Brown but Starosta cleared off the line and Glenn Poole could have given him the harshest punishment for his profligacy soon after.
The Bees wide man raced onto a Gary Smith pass and outpaced Sean O'Hanlon but Gueret again denied Brentford, blocking Poole's effort.
Connell volleyed wide before the break, Kevin O'Connor headed a Ryan Dickson free kick over soon after and Poole went close again soon after when he fired wide as The Dons failed to clear.
The hosts were continuing to dominate possession without creating many clear cut chances, Andrews fired wide from distance and Osborne produced a brilliant clearance to prevent Colin Cameron equalising from a Dyer cross.
Brown saved well from Andrews just past the hour mark but just when it seemed Brentford had weathered the second half storm a piece of individual skill opened them up.
Andrews picked the ball up inside the Bees box and took the defence out of the game with a beautiful turn, he found Gallen with a cut back and the former Queen's Park Rangers man scored with ease.
Andrews was at the heart of everything the home side did, but he wasn't as influential as he had been in the return fixture.
Brown denied The Dons' captain when he fired in from 20 yards and he volleyed over soon after.
The closest either team came to a winner was in stoppage time when Dickson, who excelled at left back, swung at a Mark Wright cross and deflected it narrowly wide of the far post.
Milton Keynes Dons: Gueret; Stirling (sub Johnson 61 mins), O'Hanlon, Swailes, Lewington; Wright, Cameron, Andrews, Navarro, Dyer (sub Broughton 69 mins); Gallen
Subs (not used): Abbey, Carbon, Baldock
Bookings: Andrews (57 mins), Swailes (66 mins)
Brentford: Brown; Starosta, Heywood, Osborne, Dickson; Shakes (sub Ide 29 mins), O'Connor, Smith (sub Pead 90 mins), Poole; Connell (sub Moore 73 mins); Thorpe
Subs (not used): Masters, Charles
Bookings: Osborne (38 mins) (second of season), Dickson (84 mins) (third of season)
Written by Chris Wickham