Your Brentford v Derby County match report powered by Utilita
A late goal from Ollie Watkins earned Brentford a share of the spoils against Derby County. For much of the evening it looked like an early header from Joe Ledley would give Derby a rather fortunate win. But Watkins got Brentford level inside the final five minutes and earned them a point in a 1-1 draw to extend their current run of form to one defeat in six Sky Bet Championship matches.
A draw was the least The Bees deserved after dominating the majority of the contest. They held complete command in terms of territory and possession although they perhaps did not create enough chances with the ball they had. Derby scored inside a first 20 minutes where they held the upper hand and barely ventured forward afterwards. They were content to sit deep and it was enough to earn them a point.
There was a very slow start to the game. Derby were happy to let Brentford have the ball and built a solid defensive base. Their back four barely strayed out of line and the midfield in front of them were well-organised and moved in sync. They tried to stop Brentford playing in to midfield and pushed high up the pitch to force mistakes. As a result, The Bees could not get in to their stride in the early stages.
A Watkins free kick caused some early problems for the Derby defence but Brentford had few early sights of goal. At the other end, Daniel Bentley dealt uncertainly with a long-range effort from Tom Lawrence, the Brentford goalkeeper getting his chest behind the dipping, swerving effort. The next time Lawrence found space, he helped set up the opening goal. It seemed to happen in slow motion as Sam Winnall got goal side of Rico Henry and nodded Lawrence’s cross back in to the middle and Ledley arrived to head home.
The goal came as a result of Derby’s tactical plan. They chose moments to get forward in numbers and the late runs opened Brentford up. They probably deserved it on the balance of the first quarter but as the half wore on, Brentford got in to their stride. Derby were unable to press the ball as Brentford moved it quicker and they were forced in to a series of fouls to slow the game up. A melee involving more than a dozen players enlivened the Griffin Park crowd – and saw Andre Wisdom, Bradley Johnson and Ryan Woods booked – and The Bees had their best spell of the first half just after.
Andreas Bjelland saw a header tipped over before a Josh Clarke shot was blocked and Watkins drilled an effort across the face of goal. Most of Brentford’s play was coming down the left as Yoann Barbet was allowed to come forward with the ball and Romaine Sawyers found pockets of space but for all the home side’s probing there were few good chances, and in fact more bookings in the first period that shots on target. Neal Maupay had a sight of goal from a Clarke cross but failed to make a good connection and the ball was scrambled clear.
Watkins saw a shot deflect just past the post and when the corner was played short the same man had a shot blocked but Brentford went in to the break behind, unable to turn their domination of territory and possession in to goals. And that pattern continued in to the second half. Brentford still had all the ball and most of the game was played in the Derby half but there were few good chances.
Maupay headed a Henry cross wide on the stretch before the left back took matters in to his own hands and burst forward before seeing a shot deflect wide. Chris Mepham, on for his league debut at half time – replacing Bjelland, almost equalised when he met a Watkins corner but he nodded just wide. Nico Yennaris curled shot narrowly wide from 25 yards after good interplay on the edge of the penalty area before Craig Forsyth sliced a Florian Jozefzoon cross narrowly over his own crossbar.
Barbet saw a shot deflect wide before Brentford’s pressure finally told four minutes from the end. The livewire Henry created the space with a clever nutmeg and a ball to the left, Jozefzoon got the ball across and Watkins poked it beyond Scott Carson and in to the net. That left time for a winner and both teams looked for it from dead ball situations. Matěj Vydra blasted high and wide from 20 yards while a Barbet effort at the other end was lower but equally off target and the spoils were shared.
Brentford: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Bjelland (sub Mepham h/t), Barbet, Henry; Woods (sub McEachran 70 mins); Clarke (sub Jozefzoon 57 mins), Yennaris, Sawyers, Watkins; Maupay
Subs (not used): Daniels, Chatzitheodoridis, Mokotjo, Shaibu
Bookings: Woods (30 mins), Dalsgaard (36 mins), Watkins (45 mins)
Derby County: Carson; Wisdom, Davies, Keogh, Forsyth; Huddlestone, Ledley (sub Vydra 83 mins); Bennett (sub Weimann 11mins), Johnson, Lawrence; Winnall (sub Nugent 69 mins)
Subs (not used): Mitchell, Martin, Baird, Pearce
Bookings: Forsyth (24 mins), Wisdom (30 mins), Johnson (30 mins), Winnall (37 mins), Keogh (76 mins)
Attendance: 8,679 (923 away fans)