Brentford drew for the fourth consecutive match – this time 0-0 against Birmingham City. The Bees probably the better of the contest and Birmingham’s Neil Etheridge was the busier goalkeeper, but they could not find a way through. They had chances in both halves but failed to take them and had to settle for a point, as they did in recent matches with Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield Town.
The match was an open and entertaining one for long periods, albeit Birmingham defended deeper in the second half to hold on to their point. The visitors looked to throw the ball, literally, in to the penalty area, while The Bees exploited space on the flanks and worked passes through the middle when they could. But they could not find a winning goal.
Birmingham started with an attacking mindset. They had two strikers and an attacking midfield player close to them and looked to get men up in support. They used the long throw of Marc Roberts to get men in to the penalty area and looked to condense the game when they did not have the ball.
The visitors came closes to a goal in the opening quarter of the contest and it came from a quick break. Scott Hogan beat the offside trap, staying inside his own half until the ball was played, and got away on the left. He cut back and played a ball across the penalty area. Gary Gardner arrived and shot from a tight angle, hitting the post. The ball was recycled and played low for Hogan, but his shot was blocked.
Harlee Dean also shot over for the visitors and a quick throw released Maxime Colin on the right to cross for Lukas Jutkiewicz. The Birmingham striker got a head to it inside the penalty area but missed the target. Brentford were being forced to defend a lot of high balls but did so well in the first half. Ethan Pinnock stood firm and headed countless crosses away to protect David Raya.
At the other end utilised Birmingham’s system against them, playing the ball in to space behind the wing backs for Sergi Canós and Bryan Mbeumo to run in to. With the visitors committing men forward, there was often space to play in Birmingham’s half and The Bees created some good chances in the first half. There were other times when the final ball, or pass in the attacking third, wasn’t right, but The Bees posed an attacking threat for much of the opening period.
They had a golden chance from an early corner. Pinnock got to the deep ball, Pontus Jansson fed it on and Christian Nørgaard set up Mathias Jensen, but he lashed over from 14 yards. Ivan Toney met a Canós cross but didn’t get enough power on to it before Mbeumo lashed a free kick in to a defensive wall. Mads Roerslev put the ball back in to the penalty area and Birmingham scrambled it away.
Roerslev was just unable to reach a fizzed cross from Mbeumo soon after before the chance of the half fell to Canós. After some interplay on the left, a Vitaly Janelt pass beat the Birmingham defence and set Canós in behind. He was faced with only Etheridge to beat and lifted the ball over him but watched as it bounced wide of the post.
The best save of the half came when Toney let fly from 20 yards after getting on to a Nørgaard pass. He drilled it high to the left of Etheridge, but the Birmingham goalkeeper kept it out. Canós then delivered a cross for Mbeumo, but his header was blocked. The ball was recycled, and Jensen shot from 22 yards, but Etheridge held on well.
Brentford probably had slightly the better of the first half, but it had been a fairly open game and the second period started in the same way. A Mads Bech Sørensen cross looked set to find Roerslev at the far post, but he was unable to make contact. Canós then bundled through a couple of challenges before trying to find Mbeumo, but Etheridge rushed out to save at his feet.
Alen Halilović curled over for Birmingham but Brentford had taken complete control at the start of the second half. Nørgaard, Jensen and Janelt were seeing a lot of the ball and the game was mostly being played in the Birmingham half. The Bees could have scored when Canós flicked a Nørgaard pass in to the path of Toney, he got between two defenders and lashed a shot towards the top corner, but Etheridge pushed it away.
But the game slowed down as the minutes ticked by. Birmingham were happy to play deeper and kill the momentum in the contest, conceding free kicks and delaying set pieces. The game was mostly being played in the Birmingham half but there were few good chances in the closing stages.
The closest Brentford came to winning the game was when Emiliano Marcondes delivered a cross and Mbeumo met it with a header that he steered towards the top corner, but once again Etheridge got a hand to it, pushing it away. Roerslev shot over for The Bees and Jonathan Leko had a shot blocked at the death for Birmingham but neither team could find the crucial goal.
Brentford: Raya; Roerslev, Jansson, Pinnock, Sørensen; Jensen (sub Marcondes 71 mins), Nørgaard, Janelt (sub Ghoddos 71 mins); Mbeumo (sub Fosu 78 mins), Toney, Canós (sub Forss 86 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Stevens, Bidstrup, Reid, Goode
Birmingham City: Etheridge; Dean, Roberts, Pedersen; Colin, Šunjić, Gardner, McGree; Halilović (Sub Toral 60 mins (sub Harper 71 mins)); Jutkiewicz (sub Cosgrove 90 mins), Hogan (sub Leko 60 mins)
Subs (not used): Prieto, Friend, Bela, San José, Seddon