Bees earn away point
Jonathan Douglas scored as Brentford came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against fellow promotion-chasers Ipswich Town.
The Bees were hit by an early goal in Suffolk as Ipswich went ahead inside the first ten minutes but they responded well.
Douglas levelled before the half hour The Bees had chances to have gone in at half time ahead.
In an enthralling match, which was much tighter than Ipswich’s 4-2 win in the reverse fixture, both teams had chances.
But in the end neither could find the second goal to earn the win.
In the reverse game at Griffin Park on Boxing Day, Ipswich were ahead inside 20 seconds and the Suffolk side started brightly again.
There was a lot of energy in their early play, looking to get men close to powerful forward Daryl Murphy.
Brentford had the first sight of goal – when Alan Judge cut in off the left and shot wide – but Ipswich would have considered themselves to have the upper hand when they went ahead nine minutes in.
Richard Chaplow delivered a corner from the right, Christophe Berra got up to nod down and Murphy diverted the ball past David Button from close range.
With a goal to build on the home side looked to take the game to Brentford.
They buzzed all over the pitch, flying in to tackles and reacting quickest to loose balls.
They also had effective attacking play and created chances.
Freddie Sears could have scored when he got ahead of Liam Moore and on to a Tyrone Mings ball forward but the Brentford defender recovered to make a tackle.
Another long ball caught The Bees out again soon after when Murphy got between Moore and Button but his touch took him very wide and he couldn’t convert.
Jonathan Parr also shot wide for the hosts, who were dominating.
But Brentford made a change, switching Stuart Dallas to the left and moving Judge to the other flank and the game changed.
Ipswich didn’t seem to quite have the energy of the opening 15 minutes and Brentford started to take control.
From a quick break, Alex Pritchard set up Dallas but he blasted wide before the former, this time set up by the latter, forced Dean Gerken in to a fine save with a curling effort.
Dallas almost set up a goal for Douglas with a cross that just eluded the midfield man and when a corner came in soon after, Moore was just unable to force it home.
Murphy had a shot saved at the other end but when Brentford levelled 25 minutes in, they deserved it.
After good play down the right involving Judge and Moses Odubajo, Andre Gray delivered a cross, Dallas met it on the volley and although Gerken kept that out, he could do nothing to prevent Douglas nodding the loose ball home.
Judge headed a cross over soon after but Ipswich regrouped as half time approached and started to play the game in Brentford’s half again.
When a free kick was half cleared, Sears and Berra were crowded out as they attempted to score and Odubajo blocked a Murphy effort soon after when another dead ball was worked down the right.
Brentford could have taken the lead just before the break when, following a quick break, Judge teed up Gray but his curling effort flew inches wide.
However, The Bees almost presented Ipswich with a goal in the dying seconds of the half.
The visitors made a mess of a free kick and Jay Tabb was able to break, Sears set up Chaplow – one of four Ipswich players unmarked at the far post – but Button saved well and The Bees scrambled the ball away.
Brentford had another lucky escape in the opening seconds of the first half.
After Moore and Odubajo had both slipped when they could have cleared, Parr crossed for Murphy, the striker was four yards but inexplicably lifted the ball over the bar with Button stranded.
Sears had a shot blocked as Ipswich again started the half well and when a corner was half cleared, Berra fired across the face of goal.
The game became stretched as it entered the final half hour.
Brentford had weathered the Ipswich storm at the start of the second half and started to dominate possession.
But in pushing forward for a goal, it left space for the hosts to exploit.
Gray shot in to the side netting for The Bees after good work by Odubajo and Gerken saved a Pritchard free kick.
Button saved from Mings at the other end and then superbly denied Murphy when the striker went through one-on-one.
Button saved from Murphy again soon after when Tabb won a header he had no right to while at the other end Gray capitalised on a mistake by Berra and his central defensive partner Tommy Smith but shot straight at Gerken.
Ipswich were probably having the clearer sights of goal and Chris Wood missed another chance when he headed a Teddy Bishop cross wide.
Bishop was denied by Button soon after while Brentford had penalty appeals waved away by referee Scott Duncan when Luke Chambers appeared to use his arms to prevent Dallas getting away from him.
Brentford had two chances to win it at the death – a Toumani Diagouraga shot from a half cleared free kick was blocked and Smith got across to divert a Pritchard effort away after he found space.
But neither team could find a winner and the points were shared.
Ipswich Town: Gerken; Chambers, Berra, Smith, Mings; Chaplow (sub Bishop 64 mins), Tabb, Skuse, Parr; Murphy, Sears (sub Wood 64 mins)
Subs (not used): Bialkowski, Anderson, Varney, Connolly, Clarke
Bookings: Parr (82 mins)
Brentford: Button; Odubajo, Tarkowski, Moore (sub Dean 71 mins), Bidwell; Douglas, Diagouraga; Dallas, Pritchard, Judge (sub Jota 67 mins); Gray (sub Long 75 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, McCormack, Toral, Smith
Bookings: Pritchard (37 mins) (second of season), Douglas (52 mins) (eighth of season), Diagouraga (81 mins) (sixth of season), Odubajo (84 mins) (third of season)
Attendance: 20,132 (1,245 Bees fans)
By Chris Wickham