Late equaliser halts abuse and damp­ens Bees joy

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Joe Thomas

APOINT at the River­side Sta­dium car­ried a dif­fer­ent sig­nif­i­cance for Brent­ford and Mid­dles­brough, and yet ended with both man­agers shar­ing a com­mon theme.

Both Boro boss Garry Monk, with his team backed for pro­mo­tion this sea­son, and his Bees’ coun­ter­part Dean Smith claimed the league table is not in their think­ing at this stage as they en­ter the Oc­to­ber in­ter­na­tional break.

Whether they are to be be­lieved or not doesn’t re­ally mat­ter, but the re­al­ity is that after 11 games nei­ther Monk nor Smith are where they would like their re­spec­tive teams to be.

Hav­ing fallen be­hind twice to re­cover and earn a point, Mid­dles­brough – many ex­pert’s tip for the ti­tle – sit four points off the play-off zone and eight off lead­ers Cardiff City.

Brent­ford, frus­trated to have re­lin­quished a lead twice at the River­side, are only a point above the rel­e­ga­tion zone and clearly still have work to do de­spite this heart­en­ing show­ing.

Make no mis­take about it, this was a great chance for the Bees – who could have had a penalty when it was goal­less as Kamo­h­elo Mokoto was tripped by Adam Clay­tonto – to claim max­i­mum points be­cause Boro strug­gled to get over the line.

Brent­ford boss Smith said: “It feels like two points dropped, the per­for­mance mer­ited more. To take the lead twice and not come away with three points is dis­ap­point­ing. We’ve done well against a very good team and it’s only our fi­nal ball that’s let us down.

“We had a stonewall penalty early on but the ref­eree re­fused to shake my hand at the end so he didn’t in­dulge in any dis­cus­sion. I’ve never known it be­fore and I’ll be speak­ing to the PGMOL [ Pro­fes­sional Game Match Of­fi­cials Limited] about it for sure.

“The first goal is one we’ve re­ally worked on and we thor­oughly de­served it. You could hear the dis­ap­point­ment from their fans. A lot of clubs ex­pect lit­tle Brent­ford to turn up and we sur­prise them. We’ve been play­ing like that all sea­son and we’re not wor­ried about the sit­u­a­tion or our league po­si­tion at the mo­ment.”

Brent­ford still went ahead just be­fore the half-hour when French de­fender Yoann Bar­bet was al­lowed to jump un­marked in the penalty area to head in Ol­lie Watkins’ free-kick.

After Boro, who strug­gled to get go­ing and looked dis­jointed after los­ing to Nor­wich in mid­week, had lev­elled with a Martin Braith­waite back-post vol­leyin the 68th minute, Watkins put Brent­ford ahead again, ar­riv­ing at the back post to con­vert Mokotjo’s low cen­tre.

But with 14 min­utes re­main­ing Brazil­ian de­fender Fabio da Silva was left on his own to side­foot a loose ball across the penalty area beyond goal­keeper Daniel Bent­ley.

Monk had his own claims for a penalty when Cyrus Christie ap­peared to be tripped by Watkins late on.

“The in­ten­tion of the play­ers is clear; they want to go and do the right things,” he said. “Strangely I sense a bit of anx­i­ety in them. It led to cer­tain mis­takes with the ball, the goals we con­ceded were from our own do­ing. A set-piece for the first, the first we have con­ceded like that.

“Credit to them get­ting back into it again and maybe even nick­ing a win­ner again. Per­spec­tive though be­cause we have lost one in nine. Yes we want more, yes we want more in the per­for­mance, but we have lost one in nine. The league table doesn’t mat­ter at this stage.

“The last in­ter­na­tional break we talked about need­ing im­prove­ments and they came. This in­ter­na­tional break we need to look to cor­rect and make fur­ther im­prove­ments. We need to come out fir­ing like we did last time.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

YO DUDE: Yoann Bar­bet scores the first goal for Brent­ford

FAB TIME: Fabio cel­e­brates after scor­ing Boro’s equaliser

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