Brentford and Millwall played out a 1-1 draw on a cold and windy day at The Den. The Bee trailed to an early goal in South London but battled back to earn a share of the spoils. Ivan Toney scored his first Brentford goal from the penalty spot to give The Bees a point in their first London derby of the season.
The result was probably fair overall. Millwall scored before either team had really settled and The Bees had to respond. They shaded the first half without creating many clear-cut chances and neither goalkeeper was especially busy. A game with few really good openings got more open as it went on but neither side did quite enough to take the win.
The game could scarcely have started in a worse way for The Bees, a goal down inside four minutes and forced in to an early substitution. Rico Henry was clearly struggling inside the opening moments and when the ball went out of play 150 seconds or so in to the contest, he sunk to the floor. Dominic Thompson was already waiting to come on and was introduced at left back.
Thompson had not touched the ball when Millwall went ahead. Mason Bennett isolated himself on Pontus Jansson on the left and made the most of a lucky ricochet to break free. He stood up a ball in to the middle and Jed Wallace arrived to head down, past Luke Daniels and in to the net. Once Bennett got clear he picked his cross superbly and the header, back where the ball had come from, beat Daniels low down.
The goal came before there was any sort of pattern to the game. Millwall were mostly happy to play in their own half, picking their moments to try and win the ball back from Jansson and Ethan Pinnock. They played with two central midfield players and mostly kept them just in front of their three centre halves, looking to find their wing backs and wide midfield players in space on the flanks. Brentford had more of the ball in the opening exchanges but were mostly playing in front of the hosts and looking for space.
Little of note happened in the first quarter of an hour, apart from the goal. Toney shot wide for The Bees after Emiliano Marcondes and Sergi Canós made the most of a long ball forward and there were cautions for Thompson, for the visitors, and Millwall’s Mahlon Romeo for similar offences when opposition players looked to be breaking in to space. Marcondes lashed a free kick over the bar after Romeo’s foul and Brentford were starting to take command as the 20-minute mark approached so their equaliser was coming.
A good run from Josh Dasilva, who’s influence grew through the first half hour, looked like it had created a chance for Toney, but Alex Pearce made a challenge inside the penalty area. Brentford recycled the ball, however, and Dasilva and Marcondes created space for Henrik Dalsgaard to deliver a cross. As Toney arrived to meet it, referee David Coote adjudged that Shaun Hutchinson had pushed him in the back and awarded a penalty. Toney took the responsibility and rolled it home to the right of Bartosz Białkowski as the goalkeeper dived left.
And that was how it stayed until half time. A midfield battle ensued after the equaliser with both teams having their spells where they controlled the ball. Neither would feel they were completely on top but Millwall came closest to the third goal of the half when Romeo let fly from just outside the penalty area in the inside right channel after Brentford had failed to clear a cross. The shot fizzed past Daniels but hit the post.
Brentford probably had more play in opposition territory during the second half of the first period. Dasilva saw a shot blocked after creating space and Canós skipped away from Hutchinson on the left but his cross was intercepted by Scott Malone with Toney waiting to score. The Bees could have gone in ahead at half time when they broke quickly from a corner. Bryan Mbeumo stormed up the pitch but blasted high and wide when he had men in support.
There was an equally good chance for The Bees at the start of the second half. Toney dummied a pass from Christian Nørgaard to allow Canós to run down the left, his cross was in to the path of the arriving Dasilva but Malone got back to somehow divert the shot away for a corner. Marcondes delivered the dead ball, Nørgaard met it at the near post and flicked it across only to watch as it flew across the face of goal and inches past the far post with no-one there to tap it in.
Daniels had to tip an effort from Romeo over the bar after Brentford lost the ball in midfield, but The Bees were having slightly the better of the second period. They were taking control of possession and playing more in Millwall’s half, forcing the home side to chase. But no team were able to maintain any domination for long and exert enough pressure to create a series of chances.
There were openings for both teams, but the best probably went to Millwall’s Tom Bradshaw. Bennett fed a Jed Wallace cross in to his path but he blasted a shot wide of the post. Bennett also shot over the bar for the hosts while Dasilva and Mbeumo then created a crossing opportunity for Dalsgaard, but Pearce prevented Toney getting to it. It was not the only time that Pearce, or Jake Cooper, made fine defensive clearances for the home side.
When Mbeumo got away from Cooper inside the penalty area, his cross arrived at Marcondes, but he couldn’t get a shot away. Jansson headed over for The Bees while, at the other end, Millwall substitute Connor Mahoney had a shot blocked and when a corner was half cleared, Jed Wallace’s ball back in was headed across the face of goal by Cooper. That was the last chance gone and the spoils were shared.
Millwall: Białkowski; Hutchinson, Cooper, Pearce; Romeo, Leonard, Woods, Malone (sub M. Wallace 90 mins); J. Wallace, Bradshaw (sub Mahoney 79 mins), Bennett (sub Böðvarsson 79 mins)
Subs (not used): Fielding, Williams, Thompson, Smith
Bookings: Romeo (18 mins), Hutchinson (20 mins), Leonard (64 mins)
Brentford: Daniels; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry (sub Thompson 3 mins); Dasilva (sub Jensen 79 mins), Nørgaard, Marcondes; Mbeumo, Toney, Canós (sub Benrahma 73 mins)
Subs (not used): Raya, Goode, Fosu, Forss
Bookings: Thompson (13 mins)