SMITH FURY AS BEES ARE DENIED WIN
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.”
LEVELLER: Liam Kelly fires home from the spot. Inset, Brentford midfielder Josh Clarke breaks the deadlock