First half goals from Chris Martin and Tom Ince were enough to condemn Brentford to defeat against Derby County. The Bees travelled to the iPro Stadium looking to bounce back from consecutive defeats but conceded midway through the first period and then just before half time. They finished the game strongly but were unable to find a way back in to it.
Derby were on the front foot from the first whistle. The home side played with three central midfield players and two wingers and were able to dominate the opening ten minutes. Brentford played with Lasse Vibe in between their midfield four and Marco Djuricin and they were outnumbered in central areas in the opening exchanges.
Martin had an early header blocked for the hosts before George Thorne let fly from 20 yards with a shot that deflected wide. David Button got down well to save from Cyrus Christie soon after and, following a tackle in midfield on James Tarkowski, Ryan Woods was forced to make an important interception to prevent Jeff Hendrick racing through on to a Martin pass.
After a difficult opening, Brentford started to get in to the game. They were able to get Toumani Diagouraga in to the game, Alan Judge drifted in field in to pockets of space and Andy Gogia provided an outlet on the right. Derby’s attacking players showed reluctance to track back and that meant Brentford could create chances when they got in to the final third.
Gogia saw a shot blocked after picking up a Judge pass and cutting inside and Woods saw a shot blocked after a corner was half cleared. Vibe saw a chance snuffed out after nice interplay on the left and when he got his head to a Gogia cross-cum-shot soon after he was in an offside position. Vibe shot wide after good work on the right but Derby took the lead moments later.
The goal came slightly against the run of play as Brentford were having a good spell but it was clinically executed. The hosts overloaded on the right and Christie got in behind, his cross was diverted in at the far post by Martin from point blank range. The striker appeared to turn it in with his knee but he really couldn’t miss.
That gave the hosts a lift at a time in the game when they may have needed it. They were working hard to press Brentford when The Bees had the ball but when the visitors got through, there was space in Derby defensive areas. The hosts had the upper hand as the half hour approached, however. Hendrick pulled a ball across the face of goal after twisting and turning on the left and Jake Bidwell made a vital headed clearance to prevent Martin reaching a Johnny Russell cross before Ince fired over from ten yards.
Tarkowski made a vital block to prevent Hendrick firing home from 18 yards and Button rushed out to smother when Bradley Johnson got in behind. Hendrick then chipped an effort just over the bar and a Martin shot was blocked as Derby threatened to take complete control. Brentford were trying to find a way back in to the game and did look as if they had weathered the storm. Gogia had a volley blocked when he got on to a Bidwell cross and then forced Scott Carson in to a save with a long range effort.
But just when it seemed Brentford would get to half time with just a goal in the game, they were hit by a sucker punch. Vibe was robbed deep in Derby territory and the hosts broke quickly. Hendrick got away on the left and fed the ball back inside to Ince who slotted it home.
Brentford made a change at the break, introducing Sergi Canós, but Derby had the lead and the initiative looked to kill the game off completely. A Hendrick shot deflected over before Johnson had a shot blocked and then saw one deflected and saved. Button tipped an Ince free kick over the bar and then saved Johnson’s header from the resulting corner.
Brentford were struggling to keep Derby out as wave after wave of white attack came towards their goal. Ince curled a free kick just past the far post, Tarkowski made a brave block from a fierce Thorne shot and Johnson headed wide.
Philipp Hofmann, back from injury, came on for The Bees and, with a focal point in attack, the visitors looked better. The German striker almost scored when he met a Nico Yennaris cross, but Carson saved, and he had a shot blocked soon after. They had almost got a fortunate goal early in the half when a clearance from Jason Shackell hit Canós but Carson was alert to get down to save.
Hendrick shot wide and then blasted over before Russell latched on to a pass and lifted an effort off target but as the game entered the final ten minutes Derby appeared content to sit in and Brentford probed for a way back in to the game. Substitute John Swift linked well with Woods and Judge and Brentford were able to move up the field with conviction.
The Bees pressed for a goal to give them a chance of taking something from the day and it lead to an exciting end to the match. Djuricin saw a shot saved while Andreas Weimann had chances on the break at the other end. He had a shot blocked and then looked set to go through on goal before Tarkowski made a recovery tackle. Djuricin almost set up a goal when he intercepted a poor Ryan Shotton back pass, he was forced wide but found Hofmann and the shot was cleared off the line by Christie. Derby went down the other end and Ince tumbled over, referee Jeremy Simpson weaved play on and the cross reached Weimann at the far post but he shot in to the side netting.
Tarkowski blocked from Weimann and Jamie Hanson shot over as the game drew to a close and Judge had the last effort at goal, forcing Carson to save. But Brentford could not find a way through and had nothing to show from their trip up the M1.
Derby County: Carson; Christie, Keogh, Shackell (sub Shotton 56 mins), Forsyth; Hendrick, Thorne (sub Hanson 73 mins), Johnson (sub Weimann 80 mins); Ince, Martin, Russell
Subs (not used): Grant, Baird, Butterfield, Warnock
Bookings: Thorne (28 mins), Russell (43 mins), Ince (88 mins)
Brentford: Button; Yennaris, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Gogia (sub Canós h/t), Woods, Diagouraga (sub Swift 70 mins), Judge; Vibe (sub Hofmann 63 mins); Djuricin
Subs (not used): Bonham, Barbet, O’Connell, Kerschbaumer
Bookings: Tarkowski (55 mins) (second of season), Woods (58 mins) (third of season), Yennaris (63 mins)
Attendance: 29,467 (808 Bees fans)