Dallas gets only goal as Bees win
A goal from Stuart Dallas early in the second half was enough for Brentford to kick off their 2015 Sky Bet Championship year with a win.
The winger smashed home just after half time and it proved to be the only goal as Rotherham United were beaten at Griffin Park.
The Bees had to ride their luck a little at times in the first half but had chances of their own before the break and dominated after.
While they could only score once, it was all they needed.
Rotherham’s early intention was to press The Bees as high up the pitch as possible.
Their wingers and central midfield players pushed on to prevent Brentford playing out.
They were quick in to tackles and harried Brentford when the hosts had the ball.
Brentford struggled to get their passing game going in the first 15 minutes and the visitors had the better of it.
They had sights of goal, albeit mainly from long range.
Jack Barmby shot wide before a Danny Ward effort was deflected off target and Matt Derbyshire missed the goal with a curler after cutting inside.
James Tarkowski had to make a fine tackle to deny Derbyshire after Harlee Dean had given the ball straight to Paul Green and Barmby curled a shot inches wide moments later.
Button saved at the feet of Derbyshire and Barmby shot over as Rotherham’s plan was showing signs that it would work.
Brentford had found the early stages difficult – a Jota corner had flown across the face of goal but The Bees had not been able to get on top of the game and play it in opposition territory.
Moses Odubajo, pushing forward from right back, was looking like Brentford’s biggest threat and when he picked up a cross he delivered to the back post, Dallas headed down it hit Jonathan Douglas and rolled inches wide.
That was the start of a spell where it looked as if Brentford had command.
Toumani Diagouraga was seeing more of the ball and linking the play and The Bees were playing in Rotherham’s half.
Jota had a shot blocked after picking up an Andre Gray lay-off and Dallas blasted wide soon after.
Gray did have the ball in the net just past the half hour but the offside flag was up and Alex Pritchard came close to a ball of rare quality later in the half when he turned and lifted a lob just over after Odubajo had burst forward.
But Rotherham were squandering better chances.
Derbyshire failed to trouble Button with a weak shot after getting on to a long ball and the visiting striker then inexplicably chose to try and pass when he was put through one-on-one by Barmby.
Richard Smallwood also should have scored when the impressive Barmby again picked the lock and he only had Button to beat but his shot was weak and easily saved.
Brentford ended the half well – Douglas had a shot blocked after another good run by Odubajo and Pritchard curled a free kick inches wide.
They also started the second positively and Gray had an early shot blocked as The Bees looked to play on the front foot.
And 12 minutes after the break they were in front with a move Dallas was heavily involved in.
He moved the ball on to Bidwell when Pritchard, who started the charge on the left, was hacked down – the cross was met on the volley by Jota but his shot was blocked, it fell back to Dallas and his powerful effort couldn’t be kept out by Adam Collin.
The game immediately opened up as Rotherham came flying forward to try and level it.
Button made a fine save to keep out a Derbyshire shot before Dean smashed it clear and when Brentford’s break from the corner was halted, a Ward shot was again saved well low down.
Ward had another shot blocked but with the visitors throwing more men forward, there was space for Brentford to exploit.
A Pritchard cross deflected across the face of goal before Gray was released by a long Button kick, he got away from Kári Árnason but fired his shot in to the legs of Collin, the ball broke to Jota and his shot was remarkably tipped over by the Rotherham goalkeeper.
After a corner was half cleared a curling Dallas shot was saved and, after Odubajo and Pritchard had combined, Douglas blasted wide.
Derbyshire fired over at the other end and Tarkowski blocked from Ward but Brentford had the upper hand and just needed a second goal to give themselves some breathing space.
They looked set to get it when Dallas set Gray away and his cross was heading for Douglas at the far post but Scott Wootton made a fantastic last ditch clearance.
Pritchard fired a shot from 20 yards against a post moments later as Brentford looked for that second goal.
Rotherham were still trying to attack – Conor Newton fired wide when a free kick was half cleared and an Adam Hamill shot was blocked.
They visitors thought they had levelled when Green met a Wootton cross with a flying header but Button made a superb save high to his right to keep it out.
The game was incredibly stretched in the later stages with a strong wind and sodden pitch seeming to have drained many players.
Douglas was still going strong though and after his pass had almost set up a chance for Jon Toral his fierce shot was cleared off the line by Árnason.
That proved not to matter as Dallas’ goal was enough to give The Bees the win.
Brentford: Button; Odubajo, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Douglas, Diagouraga; Jota (sub Toral 75 mins), Pritchard, Dallas, Gray (sub Smith 79 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, Craig, Yennaris, Saunders, Tébar
Rotherham United: Collin; Wootton, Morgan, Árnason, James (sub Richardson 75 mins); Hammill, Green, Smallwood, Barmby (sub Newton 59 mins); Ward (sub Bowery 73 mins); Derbyshire
Subs (not used): Loach, Wood, Pringle, Clarke-Harris
Bookings: Smallwood (44 mins), Hammill (90 mins)
Attendance: 10,851 (457 away fans)
By Chris Wickham