Brentford picked up their second 0-0 draw in three matches by earning a point against Derby County. Having waited almost 12 months for a goalless game, The Bees followed the draw with Wigan Athletic at the start of the month with another at the iPro Stadium. And it was a point they deserved. The Bees produced a fine defensive display, limiting Derby to very few chances and could have won it at the other end.
Romaine Sawyers came closest for The Bees, hitting the post in the second half. The midfield man also had loud appeals for a penalty waved away and shot narrowly over at the death while Scott Hogan and John Egan also went close. But the game will be remembered for Brentford’s defensive resilience and the point it won them.
Neither Brentford nor Derby County have scored in the first quarter of their Sky Bet Championship matches this season, so it was little surprise there was no early chances. Brentford were happy to let their hosts have the ball for much of the first 15 minutes. They sat in, looking to press when Derby moved over half way but generally happy to concede possession in areas where the hosts could not threaten. Derby tried to pick their way through Brentford’s well-organised midfield but could not do so in the opening exchanges.
Once the opening 15 minutes had elapsed, Brentford started to get their share of possession. Derby were unable to press The Bees and stop them passing through midfield and Sawyers, in particular, started to find pockets of space to influence the game. The first chance came, however, when Derby won the ball from Ryan Woods and broke quickly. Will Hughes and Matej Vydra combined to set up Ikechi Anya and his near post shot had to be pushed around the post by Daniel Bentley.
Tom Ince also curled a shot over for the hosts but as the game moved towards the half hour mark, Brentford started to take the upper hand. Their passing football caused Derby problems and they were often able to get bodies in to the box. Sawyers headed a Sam Saunders cross narrowly wide and Sullay Kaikai fired across the face of goal. Kaikai also had a shot blocked for The Bees, when he was just unable to pick out a pass to Hogan, before Yoann Barbet fired a shot wide from 25 yards when a free kick was half cleared.
The closest Brentford came to a first half goal was from the head of Egan. The central defender met a Kaikai free kick with an effort that took a small deflection and bounced inches wide. But it was Derby who ended the first period with the initiative. Vydra was just unable to turn in an Anya ball inside the six-yard-box and Ince had a shot blocked before Bradley Johnson fired over. Cyrus Christie also missed the target from distance before Bentley tipped a curling Ince free kick over the top.
Bentley saved from Ince, Craig Bryson had a shot blocked and Vydra shot wide as the hosts went in at half time with the upper hand, albeit not with the lead. Bryson had another shot deflected wide early in the second half and a Vydra effort was blocked as the hosts started brightly after the break. But the game began to stretch early in the second period and that set up an entertaining last half hour.
Saunders went close for The Bees with a 25-yard shot but Sawyers, who set up that chance, should have put Brentford ahead moments later. Kaikai got away from Christie on the right and cut the ball back, Saunders set up Sawyers eight yards out but his shot hit the post and then bounced to safety off the back of Carson’s head.
Derby cleared the resulting corner but Kaikai put it back in and Egan met it on the volley, Carson appeared to be unsighted but went away to his right to keep it out. Ince shot over for the home side and a deflected Christie effort flew wide. The home side had a great chance when Christie got away on the right and delivered a cross to the far post that Vydra met with a volley but Andreas Bjelland was there to block inside the six-yard-box. Moments later Brentford had a good sight of goal when Nico Yennaris won possession in Derby territory and fed Hogan, he rounded Carson but could only poke the ball in to the side netting from a tight angle.
Moments later, however, it was a different man who came to Derby’s aid. A clever Hogan pass released Sawyers in the inside right channel but as he went to shoot he was bundled over by Anya. Referee Scott Duncan had a good look but decided no offence had been committed and waved play on, to the annoyance of every Brentford player and supporter. Bryson shot over for the hosts and it took a fine piece of defending from Barbet to stop Ince turning in an Anya cross at the far post after the winger had escaped on the left.
But Brentford ended on the front foot. Substitute Josh Clarke shot wide after a nice turn and there was another great chance for Sawyers. Kaikai set it up with a run from deep and a clever pass, Sawyers bent a shot from the left side of the penalty area over Carson but it dipped too late and missed the target. Neither team came closer to winning it in the later stages, although it was Brentford that did most of the pressing, and the spoils were shared.
Derby County: Carson; Christie, Keogh, Pearce, Baird (sub Russell 65 mins); Johnson; Ince, Butterfield, Hughes (sub Bryson 24 mins), Anya; Vydra (sub Bent 81 mins)
Subs (not used): Mitchell, Weimann, Hanson, Rawson
Bookings: Bryson (67 mins)
Brentford: Bentley; Colin, Egan, Bjelland, Barbet; Woods, Yennaris (sub McEachran 81 mins); Saunders (sub Clarke 71 mins), Sawyers, Kaikai (sub Macleod 84 mins); Hogan
Subs (not used): Bonham, Onariase, Kerschbaumer, Hofmann
Bookings: Hogan (60 mins)
Attendance: 26,707 (624 Bees fans)