No goals at Griffin Park
Brentford extended their unbeaten home run to ten games but were unable to make it two victories at Griffin Park in four days as they were held to a draw by Wigan Athletic. A resolute defensive display earned the visitors a point at Griffin Park as Brentford were unable to break them down. And they probably deserved a share of the spoils for an almost faultless effort in front of their own goal. They did not give Brentford any openings and anything The Bees created had to be earned.
There were chances for The Bees in both halves. Two efforts were cleared off the line and Wigan’s Ádám Bogdán was the busier of the two goalkeepers. But Brentford did not quite have enough to find a way through, even as the game became a little stretched for periods of the second half. The draw means The Bees have not lost at Griffin Park since Blackburn Rovers won in West London in mid-March but they would have hoped to pick up another home win after beating Reading on Tuesday and were left frustrated.
The game settled in to a pattern early on. Wigan tried to press high up the pitch when Brentford had the ball in their defensive areas but The Bees were able to play through and over it so most of the action was at the other end. The visitors tried to play out from the back but were not able to play through Brentford’s midfield in the same way. This meant The Bees dominated the early exchanges, Wigan struggled to get a territorial foothold and all the chances in the opening moments fell to the hosts.
The first chance came from a Wigan error, David Perkins inexplicably ducked under a Romaine Sawyers free kick to give Lasse Vibe a sight of goal but his powerful low effort was blocked by Bogdán with his legs. Scott Hogan had a shot blocked after getting on to a Josh Clarke pass and an Alan McCormack free kick was deflected wide. When Clarke flicked a pass cleverly for Vibe and Hogan to run on to soon after, it took a combination of Bogdán and Dan Burn to prevent either knocking it in.
The best chance of the opening half hour probably fell to Vibe. The Danish striker pulled a shot wide from 15 yards after Maxime Colin had diverted a Nico Yennaris header in to his path. And as the half wore on Brentford lost the domination they had. Wigan started to pick passes through midfield, started to get the ball high up the pitch and started to give Brentford’s defence something to think about. They could even have taken the lead when the overlapping Nathan Byrne got away from Andreas Bjelland but Max Power fired the cut back in to the side netting.
Bentley also saved from Power after good work by Will Grigg and Michael Jacobs but it was Brentford who ended the half on the front foot. Clarke saw a shot deflect wide after he picked up a loose ball and a Colin effort from the half cleared corner was blocked. But Wigan would probably have gone in at half time the happier. They had denied Brentford too many sights of goal and started to pose a threat of their own as the half wore on.
The visitors had also barely put a foot wrong defensively in the first half but Brentford went up a gear after the break and looked to test that resolve. In the early stages of the second half there was a zip to their football and they looked more incisive in the final third. Sawyers had an early shot blocked after cutting inside before a McCormack free kick from 20 yards fizzed over the bar. Vibe saw a shot deflected away after superb interplay on the left between Bjelland and Sawyers and, from the resulting corner, a John Egan header was superbly nodded off the line by Stephen Warnock. The Wigan captain was at full stretch and underneath his crossbar and had no right to make the clearance.
Egan then had a shot blocked before another effort from the central defender knocked Warnock off his feet as he made a brave block with his head. Wigan went straight on the counter-attack and substitutes Yanic Wildschut and Nick Powell combined but the latter shot wide. That was a rare attack from the visitors after half time but Powell put a ball across the face of goal moments later that just eluded Grigg. The substitutions from Wigan had given them a more attacking outlook and the game became more stretched, which meant chances at both ends.
Vibe had a shot well blocked by Shaun MacDonald after a clever quick free kick from Sawyers while Wildschut had a shot blocked at the other end. McCormack almost conjured the opening goal with a superb run down the right but his cross was headed over by Sawyers from eight yards. Hogan fired over at the near post after a clever Sawyers dummy created space for Yennaris to pick a pass while Adam Le Fondre flicked a corner wide at the other end.
Brentford were almost presented with a winner when Bogdán dropped a Lewis Macleod cross but Jake Buxton cleared off the line before Sullay Kaikai blasted over from distance. There was a fine tackle from Harlee Dean to prevent either Le Fondre or Powell converting a Wildschut cross and the visitors almost won it at the death. Powell let fly with a free kick from 20 yards that dipped and swerve and forced Daniel Bentley to punch away. The whistle blew seconds later to ensure the spoils were shared.
Brentford: Bentley; Colin, Dean, Egan, Bjelland; McCormack (sub McEachran 80 mins), Yennaris; Clarke (sub Macleod 72 mins), Vibe (sub Kaikai 65 mins), Sawyers; Hogan
Subs (not used): Bonham, Barbet, Woods, Hofmann
Bookings: McCormack (36 mins) (second of season), Dean (85 mins) (fourth of season), Egan (90 mins) (third of season)
Wigan Athletic: Bogdán; Byrne (sub Powell 57 mins), Buxton, Burn, Warnock; Power, MacDonald; Perkins, Gómez (sub Wildschut 57 mins), Jacobs; Grigg (sub Le Fondre 78 mins)
Subs (not used): Jääskeläinen, Woolery, Garbutt, Davies
Bookings: Buxton (40 mins), Warnock (74 mins), Powell (90 mins)
Attendance: 9,547 (523 away fans)