Bees denied by late strike
Brentford were cruelly denied a third away win on the bounce as Derby County scored a last gasp equaliser to earn a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the iPro Stadium.
The Bees dominated most of the match and held a 1-0 lead that an Alex Pritchard goal had given them as they headed in to stoppage time.
But Darren Bent forced home an equaliser to give Derby a point they scarcely deserved and prevent Brentford adding to recent wins on the road at Blackburn Rovers and Fulham.
Derby flew out of the traps, taking the game to The Bees and pushing the visitors back.
Their trio of attacking midfield players – Tom Ince, Chris Martin and Johnny Russell – were high up the pitch and linking with lone striker Bent.
Brentford were holding a good defensive line but there were chances for the hosts in the early stages.
Ince curled a free kick just wide and then forced David Button in to a low save with a shot before the goalkeeper then held on to a flicked effort from Russell.
An early, and rather harsh, booking for James Tarkowski did not help Brentford’s cause but the visitors were defending well and appeared to have weathered the storm by the quarter hour mark.
They then started to put together some fine attacking possession of their own with Pritchard and Alan Judge, in particular, finding pockets of space.
The Bees almost went ahead when, after fine interplay on the right, Judge lifted a cross in, Jota headed down and Moses Odubajo let fly with a shot that Lee Grant turned wide.
Tarkowski headed a Judge cross wide at the far post following a short corner and Brentford went close still soon after.
Judge was the man this time with a curling free kick that beat Grant but bent just past the post.
Brentford turned their pressure in to a goal just before the half hour.
It came on the counter attack as Toumani Diagouraga, who was masterful in the centre of midfield, broke play up and fed Judge, he found Pritchard on the left side and he cut infield before curling a shot past Grant and in to the far corner.
It was almost two soon after when Judge won a tackle and found Pritchard, this time his shot stung the palms of Grant but bounced away to safety.
At the other end Odubajo made a fine tackle when Ince looked to be away but Brentford had the initiative.
And they almost had a second goal when, following a short corner, Jota wriggled free and got off a shot that was blocked, Jonathan Douglas got on to it, Andre Gray was tackled as he attempted to turn and Tarkowski forced the ball just wide.
Button saved a low Ince effort and a weak Bent header as Derby tried to respond before the break but Brentford had the upper hand.
They could have been further ahead when a Pritchard volley was blocked by Raul Abentosa and a Jota shot was saved but The Bees went in at half time with the lead.
And they could have been out of sight by the hour mark.
When a Jota shot was blocked, Douglas fed Gray and he looked set to score before Abentosa came across to divert the shot wide.
The striker had an even better chance moments later when, after a period of possession, Jota fed Gray, he turned clear of the defence but shot wide from eight yards with only Grant to beat.
Judge volleyed wide when Pritchard pulled a corner back to the edge of the penalty area soon after as Brentford looked to make the game safe.
Pritchard had a shot saved before a golden chance went begging.
After another long spell of possession, Jota got away from Craig Bryson and to the by-line, his cut back was smashed towards goal by Douglas but Craig Forsyth blocked it on the line and no Brentford player could force it in.
Button saved at the feet of Bent at the other end and a Bryson shot was blocked but most of the play was at the other end.
Gray had a shot blocked and then miss-hit the follow-up from 18 yards before being just unable to stretch and head in a Stuart Dallas cross.
Martin fired across the face of goal for Derby while Pritchard had a shot blocked for The Bees as the minutes ticked down.
Derby threw caution to the wind in the dying moments, putting an additional striker on and looking to get the ball forward quickly.
Jesse Lingard had a shot blocked and, from the resulting corner, Button turned a Zak Whitbread effort over.
And it looked as if Brentford had done enough when the game entered the 92nd minute.
But Jeff Hendrick, who was perhaps fortunate to be on the pitch after a horrible high tackle on Tommy Smith moments earlier, found space to shoot from 25 yards and the speculative effort ran in to the path of Bent who tapped home from close range to give his side a very fortunate draw.
Derby County: Grant; Keogh, Abentosa, Forsyth, Warnock (sub Whitbread 77 mins); Hendrick, Bryson (sub Lingard 77 mins); Ince, Martin, Russell (sub Dawkins h/t); Bent
Subs (not used): Roos, Ward, Hanson, Thomas
Bookings: Bryson (41 mins), Hendrick (89 mins), Forsyth (90 mins)
Brentford: Button; Odubajo, Tarkowski, Dean, Bidwell, Diagouraga, Douglas; Jota (sub Dallas 69 mins), Pritchard (sub Toral 86 mins), Judge; Gray (sub Smith 82 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, O’Connell, Craig, McCormack
Bookings: Tarkowski (6 mins) (seventh of season)
By Chris Wickham