FABIO PUTS STOP TO JEERS
Late equaliser halts abuse and dampens Bees joy
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.”
YO DUDE: Yoann Barbet scores the first goal for Brentford
FAB TIME: Fabio celebrates after scoring Boro’s equaliser