Sunday Sun - - Football -

longa.But the clos­est Boro came in the early knock­ings of the sec­ond half was a Ben Gib­son header that dropped over the top, be­fore Joze­f­zoon broke at the other end but shot wide.

Then came Bam­ford - three years after scor­ing his first Boro goal against Brent­ford on this ground - with Monk again call­ing on his four strik­ers to dig Boro out of a sticky spot, and his side soon had lift-off as Braith­waite lev­elled.

Jonny How­son’s deep free-kick was headed back across by Shot­ton at the back post, and after a bout of head ten­nis, the ball fell per­fectly at the back post to Braith­waite who ham­mered Boro back on level terms.

The script was writ­ten - but Brent­ford weren’t keen on fol­low­ing it, and the Bees stunned the hosts just mo­ments later as slack de­fend­ing al­lowed Ol­lie Watkins the eas­i­est of chances to re­gain the lead for his side.

Brent­ford boss Dean Smith punched the air as his side nudged in front for the sec­ond time - and then he looked at his watch. Telling - now it was a case of the west Lon­don­ers fight­ing tooth and nail for the points.

But with Boro’s at­tack­ing might, the sheer op­tions at Monk’s dis­posal, this side is al­ways go­ing to have a chance of get­ting them­selves out of jail.

They twice came from be­hind against QPR, and they did so again here, and it was How­son who got the pat on the back from his team­mates as he showed some much-needed flair from mid­field.

The sum­mer sign­ing darted into space on the right be­fore cut­ting the ball back - a whisker be­hind Bam­ford in the mid­dle - but Fabio made no mis­take as he lashed Boro back on terms with 13 min­utes to play.

Then it was one-way traf­fic, with sub­sti­tute Lewis Baker ap­peal­ing for a penalty as he was barged off the ball, while Cyrus Christie - on his 25th birth­day - stung the palms of Bent­ley with a drive from the edge of the box.

There was even a late penalty call as birth­day boy Christie hit the ground after a tan­gle of legs in added time - and turned to ref­eree Tier­ney for a gift.

But it was re­jected - and left Boro’s play­ers throw­ing their hands up in de­spair.

That was the gen­eral re­ac­tion in the stands too, as the full-time whis­tle was greeted with boos.

For Monk and Boro, a big fort­night awaits.

Jonny How­son has a chance

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