The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Tom Crocker

DEAN Smith was left fum­ing at ref­eree Tony Har­ring­ton af­ter Brent­ford’s win­less start to the Cham­pi­onship sea­son ex­tended to eight matches.

The Bees looked like they were well on their way to a maiden vic­tory af­ter Josh Clarke’s firsthalf strike, only for Liam Kelly’s penalty to earn a share of the spoils.

But Smith felt key de­ci­sions cost his side all three points.

“I don’t think the ref­eree was very good,” said the Brent­ford boss.

“I can see why he’s given their penalty, but he didn’t give us one in the first half for a sim­i­lar foul.

“You need con­sis­tency. We’re talk­ing about five big de­ci­sions and only one has been given. That can’t be right at this level with pro­fes­sional of­fi­cials.”

The hosts could have been out of sight be­fore Read­ing’s equaliser but squan­dered a host of open­ings. And Smith ac­knowl­edges that such op­por­tu­ni­ties need to be con­verted.

“We’re cre­at­ing chances,” he said. “It feels like one of those sea­sons so far. We’ve played eight teams and I feel Wolves were on a par with us and I’d say we were bet­ter than all the other teams.

“But the ta­ble doesn’t say that.”

Af­ter a fran­tic start in which Jon Dadi Bod­vars­son twice failed to find the tar­get, Read­ing strug­gled through­out the first half.

The home side soon got into their stride with winger Ol­lie Watkins caus­ing may­hem down the left flank and they got noses in front when Clarke was teed up by Neal Mau­pay to lash past Vito Man­none, de­spite the keeper get­ting a hand to the shot.

Man­none was called into ac­tion on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions be­fore the half was out, forc­ing Read­ing man­ager Jaap Stam into mak­ing a change at the break, re­plac­ing Bod­vars­son with Roy Beerens.

The switch al­most paid in­stant dividends as the Dutch­man curled a shot from 20 yards, only to be de­nied by a fly­ing Daniel Bent­ley. But it was Beerens’ com­pa­triot Flo­rian Joze­f­zoon who missed the best chance, scuff­ing a left-footed ef­fort wide, and it was quickly pun­ished.

With 20 min­utes to play, Kelly floated a free-kick towards the back post and ref­eree Tony Har­ring­ton pointed to the spot as Rico Henry shoved Liam Moore to the ground.

Up stepped Kelly, who made no mis­take in smash­ing his penalty down the mid­dle of the goal.

De­spite the set­back, Brent­ford looked like the team more likely to grab a late win­ner as they con­trolled pos­ses­sion.

Apart from a spec­u­la­tive Sone Aluko ef­fort clip­ping Bent­ley’s bar, all the chances came down the other end with An­dreas Bjel­land twice de­nied by Man­none while Watkins headed wide in stop­page time.

“We are pleased with a draw,” ad­mit­ted Roy­als boss Stam. “I think we had a hard time, es­pe­cially in the first half.

“We didn’t play up to our usual stan­dards.

“Of course you al­ways want to win but some­times you need to be hon­est with your­self as well and say a draw at Brent­ford, we’re happy with that.

“It makes us aware as well that we still need to im­prove a lot.”

Kelly’s penalty was his fourth goal of the cam­paign, more than any other Read­ing player has man­aged to score, and Stam says the young­ster showed his class again.

“Liam Kelly is a qual­ity player,” he said.

“He is young but he is very down to earth, calm and it was a very good penalty.”

PIC­TURE: PSI/Andy Wal­ter

LEV­ELLER: Liam Kelly fires home from the spot. Inset, Brent­ford mid­fielder Josh Clarke breaks the dead­lock

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