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29 September 2012

Late Douglas strike gives Bees a point.

Jonathan Douglas scored with seconds remaining to give Brentford a point against npower League One leaders Tranmere Rovers.

It looked as if Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro had scored the only goal and Brentford would be beaten on Merseyside.

The striker, who was hardly in the game, fired in a fine goal just before the hour mark that looked set to be the winner.

Brentford were by far the better team up until the goal but could not find a way through and had to wait until the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Clayton Donaldson propelled a long throw in to the box which bounced all the way across and Douglas steered it back across Owain Fon Williams and in to the Tranmere net for the leveller.

It was no more than Brentford deserved – they had the better of the first quarter in terms of possession and territory but without really working Owain Fon Williams in the Tranmere goal and continued to improve until they fell behind.

Rovers piled on the pressure but couldn’t score the second and Douglas rescued a point for The Bees.

Brentford could have been ahead early on – a low Ryan Fredericks cross was scrambled away by the home defence and Harry Forrester chipped over the bar.

The closest either team came to a goal in the first 25 minutes was when a Forrester shot was blocked and the ball was crossed back to him by Fredericks, it took a superb tackle by Ash Taylor to prevent him scoring from eight yards.

Simon Moore had to get down well to hold on to a low Joe Thompson cross-cum-shot and then save at the feet of Zoumana Bakayogo after good work from Andy Robinson but the ball was in the Tranmere half more often than not and the hosts looked rattled.

Brentford’s only disappointment with their first half hour would have been the score line – Rovers were hemmed in their own half and had carried almost no attacking threat.

The Bees almost edged ahead when a Forrester free kick found Douglas at the far post, his header down was scrambled away with Paul Hayes and Harlee Dean waiting to pounce.

The visitors were even more in control as half time approached and started to turn possession in to chances.

It took a wonderful save to deny Forrester after Kevin O’Connor won the ball in Tranmere territory and Hayes fed the ball perfectly in to the path of the wide man.

A Tony Craig header was scrambled away and Fredericks blasted wide while Bakayogo made a fine recovery tackle when Hayes looked set to profit after Brentford won the ball again in the final third.

The pattern of the game was unchanged after the break – Brentford were completely on top and probing for a way through.

Taylor got back to tackle when Douglas burst through and Fredericks had a shot blocked after a good run.

Douglas dragged a shot wide from 18 yards after fine work by Forrester and a Sam Saunders shot was saved but Brentford were hit by a sucker punch just before the hour mark.

Akpa Akpro had been largely anonymous but showed he could threaten when he headed a James Wallace cross wide, the next time he touched the ball, he scored.

A simple ball set the striker in behind Dean and he teased his way past the centre half before slotting low past Moore.

Brentford failed to react to going behind and Tranmere upped the pace.

More kept out a curling Robinson effort before a free kick from the same man deflected wide.

Soon after, a short corner routine created a shooting chance for Liam Palmer, his effort may have tested Moore but it hit Jake Cassidy, who was offside anyway, and flew over.

Moore got down well to save a Cassidy shot as Tranmere attempted to make it safe but Brentford started to weather the storm as the game entered the final 15 minutes.

Robinson had a free kick, awarded when Douglas appeared to win the ball, deflect wide but The Bees were starting to get on tops in terms of possession.

However, Tranmere’s well-drilled back line was proving almost impossible to penetrate.

A Donaldson looping header was saved but Fon Williams had little else to do as his defence held firm.

Akpa Akpro almost doubled his tally in the last minute but his shot curled wide and Brentford had a great chance to equalise when Saunders shot wide after latching on to a Dean lay off.

With seconds remaining, however, Douglas took the chance that came his way and the spoils were shared.

Tranmere Rovers: Fon Williams; Holmes, Taylor, Gibson, Bakayogo; Thompson (sub McGurk 86 mins), Wallace (sub Harrison 88 mins), Palmer, Robinson; Akpa Akpro, Cassidy

Subs (not used): Mooney, Stockton, Kay, Bell-Baggie, Golobart

Bookings: Robinson (69 mins)

Brentford: Moore; Logan (sub Forshaw 73 mins), Dean, Craig, Bidwell; O’Connor; Fredericks (sub Donaldson 55 mins), Douglas, Adeyemi, Forrester (sub Saunders 55 mins); Hayes

Subs (not used): Lee, Legge, Diagouraga, El Alagui

Bookings: Logan (62 mins), Craig 77 mins (third of season), Douglas (79 mins)

Attendance: 5,720

By Chris Wickham

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