Brentford came from a goal down to earn a share of the spoils against Ipswich Town. The Bees fell behind just before the half hour at Portman Road as Emyr Huws scored. But they battled back and deserved to be level when Nico Yennaris poked in his fifth of the season just before half time. The Bees dominated most the match but could not find a way to win a game of few chances and had to settle for a point.
Brentford started the game brightly. They spent most of the first five minutes in Ipswich territory after a fine piece of play from Yennaris had put Sergi Canós away, the winger cut inside and had a shot that deflected away for a corner. Canós got himself in to a similar position soon after and it took a fine tackle from Luke Chambers to prevent the speedy Spanish attacker getting in on goal. The resulting corner was half cleared and Lasse Vibe and John Egan combined to set up Maxime Colin for a shot that was blocked before, after the ball was recycled, a long-range effort from Jota was blocked.
It took Ipswich a few minutes to get in to the game. The teams largely matched up in midfield with the home side’s danger man – Tom Lawrence – playing in similar areas to Ryan Woods while Ipswich had two players shielding their five-man defence. Lawrence drifted all over the pitch in the opening exchanges and Ipswich looked to find him. Lawrence played high up the pitch, looking to get close to David McGoldrick and allowed attacking midfield players Grant Ward and Huws to wander.
But everything Ipswich did went through Lawrence and it was no surprise when he set up the opening goal. Huws was the scorer but Lawrence was heavily involved. The two men interchanged passes deep in Brentford territory repeatedly before Lawrence crossed, Huws controlled, swivelled and shot low past Bentley from 15 yards. It was a goal Brentford would have been angry at conceding, given the amount of time Ipswich had the ball prior to the strike, but it had been coming.
Christophe Berra had been unable to convert a cross early on before Lawrence, who supplied that ball, narrowly missed the target with a cross-cum-shot. Lawrence then had a shot blocked and Brentford cleared before Jordan Spence could pounce before he then set up Huws for the goal. Daniel Bentley had not had a save to make, most of his touches coming from clearing up misplaced passes forward, and when McGoldrick let fly from distance soon after the goal the deflection made it easy or the Brentford goalkeeper.
But the pattern of the game changed after the goal. Prior to it Ipswich had been full of energy, their pressing making it difficult for Brentford to get in to any rhythm. Lawrence also drifted out of the game a little as his movement lessened and the visiting defenders found it easier to pick him up. The Bees started to get on the front foot and could have levelled when Colin met a Jota corner but he headed over when well-placed. A good piece of work from Canós and Vibe allowed the latter to head off towards goal from halfway, he found some space but the shot was blocked and a follow-up from Romain Sawyers deflected just wide.
Brentford were dominating possession and territory as the half went on without creating chances. Ipswich were starting to sit deeper as Brentford pressed and probed for an opening. And just before half time, a piece of magic from Sawyers opened the door. Brentford had pressed the hosts back and when Rico Henry found Sawyers 40 yards out, he had ten Ipswich players between him and the goal but he spotted a run and lifted a ball in to space between the central defenders, Yennaris burst in to the gap and toe-poked the ball home.
Just like Ipswich’s goal, Brentford’s was coming. There had been long spells of possession from The Bees and although Berra headed wide just before half time, the visitors had the initiative going in to the break. And although McGoldrick had a shot blocked early in the second period, The Bees maintained that hold on the game. The second half continued as the first had ended. Brentford had a lot of the ball but mostly in front of their hosts, who were content to sit in.
Canós looked like the man most likely to open Ipswich up, particularly when the host had their wings backs high up and left their flanks exposed. He fired over when a cross was half cleared before coming within inches of giving Brentford the lead. It came after another spell of possession and Canós exchanged passes with Sawyers, his shot was half stopped by Bartosz Bialkowski and looked to be rolling in but Berra smashed it off the line with Yennaris arriving to make sure.
McGoldrick had a shot blocked for the hosts and Skuse headed wide before Henry lashed over at the other end. Brentford looked the more likely team to fashion a breakthrough as the minutes started to tick down and it took another fine tackle from Chambers to stop Florian Jozefzoon getting on to a Jota pass and firing in from 12 yards. A header from Justin Shaibu deflected wide and Sawyers smashed over before Ipswich almost won it in the dying stages. They moved the ball up the pitch well and Kevin Bru found Cole Skuse in the box but Bentley saved his toe-poked effort and ensured the match ended all square.
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski; Spence, Chambers, Berra, Knudsen, Kenlock; Ward (sub Diagouraga 57 mins), Skuse, Huws (sub Bru 71 mins); Lawrence (sub Moore 82 mins); McGoldrick
Subs (not used): Gerken, Smith, Sears, Pitman
Brentford: Bentley; Colin, Egan, Bjelland (sub Barbet 57 mins), Henry; Woods; Jota, Yennaris, Sawyers, Canós (sub Jozefzoon 69 mins); Vibe (sub Shaibu 72 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, Clarke, Cole, Kerschbaumer