Spoils shared on Easter Monday
Florian Jozefzoon’s first goal in a Brentford shirt was enough to earn his side a draw in an entertaining Easter Monday match against Barnsley. The Bees fell behind just before the half hour mark but equalised at the end of a first half that the home side had the better of. Jota, who set up Jozefzoon’s goal, saw a penalty superbly saved at the start of a second period that was thrilling as both teams went for the winner. But neither could find it and the spoils were shared.
A draw was probably fair on the balance of play across the afternoon. Barnsley had the chances to be out of sight in the first half and even after the break repeatedly tested Jack Bonham. Both teams hit the woodwork in the second period as the game flowed from end-to-end but neither could find a way to grab the winning goal.
The game took a while to get going. The first 15 minutes lacked intensity as the teams played largely in front of each other. Brentford probably had more of the ball in the opening exchanges but Barnsley set up with a solid defensive four and a well-drilled midfield in front and The Bees could not break the lines. Barnsley had some set piece opportunities in the early stages but Brentford largely dealt with them and there were no chances for either team.
The first sight of goal came the way of Brentford when Josh Clarke and Lasse Vibe combined to set Jota up 22 yards out but he dragged his shot wide. Vibe picked up an ankle injury soon after and while he continued for a while he did not make it to the half hour mark. The Bees introduced Sergi Canós to play as their central striker but Vibe’s lack of mobility enabled Barnsley to get on top and by the time they took the lead just before that change, they deserved it.
Marley Watkins scored for the hosts, capitalising on a couple of deflections. Josh Scowen delivered a cross from the right that deflected to Harlee Dean deep inside his six-yard box, he failed to get enough on his clearance and Watkins lashed it in via a deflection off John Egan. Goalkeeper Bonham, making his first league start for The Bees, was left helpless as it nicked off his centre half and it was unfortunate on the inexperienced custodian as he had helped keep his team level to that point.
Bonham had made a decent save from a fierce Tom Bradshaw effort while Watkins had headed wide when well-placed. Other chances had also come and gone for the hosts before the break as Bonham saved easily from Gethin Jones, Ryan Kent had an effort blocked and Matty James fired over. The goal, when it came, was in keeping with the game, and Barnsley continued to hold the upper hand afterwards. Bradshaw fired across the face of goal from a tight angle and another Watkins effort might have troubled Bonham had it not hit one of his own men.
When Bonham spilt a deep cross late in the half and Rico Henry failed to clear he made a fine recovery stop from Scowen and when he held on well as the same man fired across goal soon after he set Brentford on the attack. Romaine Sawyers fed Ryan Woods and he slipped the ball forward, Jota split the defence and Jozefzoon was through with only Adam Davies to beat, he cleverly lifted the ball in and levelled it up. The goal was harsh on Barnsley, who were well on top at that point, but Brentford had ruthlessly exploited a chink in the armour.
Due to a long delay when Vibe was down there were four minutes of injury time and both teams could have scored in that period. Jota had Brentford’s chance when he met a Clarke cross after the right back had sped down the flank but his effort was blocked. George Moncur had a shot blocked for the hosts and a couple of corners led to chances for Marc Roberts and James that failed to trouble Bonham. Scowen also fired across the six-yard-box in the dying seconds of a half that ended all square but perhaps fortunately so for The Bees.
The first half ended in a frantic fashion and the second half started in a similar way with Brentford awarded a penalty seconds after the re-start. Sawyers and Jozefzoon combined to create space for Canós in the inside left channel and his shot looked destined for the net before Angus MacDonald stuck out an arm to divert it away. Referee Robert Jones awarded a penalty but leniently decided not to send the Barnsley defender off despite the shot looking certain to be a goal. Jota struck the penalty firmly to Davies’ left but the goalkeeper saved superbly and Jota fired the re-bound over on the stretch.
Canós had a shot blocked soon after and Konstantin Kerschbaumer fired wide when wall-placed as Brentford continued to press. But Barnsley were also looking to go forward. The teams were counter-attacking each other, using the pace and trickery they had on the flanks. Bonham made a fine save from a fierce Moncur shot and then held on to a weak header from Roberts. Moncur fired well over for the hosts before a great run and cross for Clarke enabled Canós to head against the crossbar from point-blank range, MacDonald then cleared as the ball looked as if it may bounce over the line.
Egan then had a great chance when he met a Jota corner ten yards out but the ball arrived at him quickly and he did not get a lot of power on his shot which enabled Barnsley to clear. At the other end, a poor pass from Woods allowed Scowen to put Bradshaw through with only Bonham to beat but the Brentford goalkeeper stood up well and saved. A great run from Kent then enabled Moncur to let fly from 25 yards and the shot whistled inches over. Bonham may have got his finger tips to the effort but Mr Jones awarded a goal kick.
Scowen fired in to the side netting and Bonham denied Kent as Barnsley started to look like the team that might get the winning goal. They should have gone ahead inside the last 20 minutes when Brentford failed to deal with a cross and Watkins was through one-on-one but he blasted over. A Scowen shot was blocked and Adam Armstrong headed well wide before a Watkins effort whistled over.
Brentford could have edged ahead when a clever Kerschbaumer pass put Clarke in to space on the right but he blasted high and wide and Davies denied Canós after a free kick had been cleverly worked forward. Nico Yennaris missed the target with a volley for The Bees and a great Canós run set up Jota for a shot 18 yards out but he fired over. Bonham tipped a James shot over the bar but was fortunate when the same Barnsley man beat him to a high free-kick to see the ball bounce wide.
Brentford were pushed back in the later stages with substitute Alan McCormack clearly struggling with a leg injury but they were holding firm. Watkins headed over the bar and then missed the target with another aerial effort from a corner. Barnsley continued to look for the winner but could find no way past Bonham and had to settled for a point.
Barnsley: Davies; Janko, Roberts, MacDonald, Jones; Scowen, James, Moncur (sub Hedges 82 mins), Kent; Watkins, Bradshaw (sub Armstrong 67 mins)
Subs (not used): Townsend, Lee, Evans, Mowatt, Williams
Bookings: MacDonald (60 mins)
Brentford: Bonham; Clarke, Dean, Egan, Henry; Woods (sub Yennaris 68 mins); Jota, Sawyers, Kerschbaumer (sub McCormack 75 mins), Jozefzoon; Vibe (sub Canós 30 mins)
Subs (not used): Bentley, Barbet, Field, Hofmann
Attendance: 13,935 (664 Bees fans)