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Match Reports

Brentford 1 Preston North End 1

Florian Jozefzoon gets the goal as Brentford come from behind to earn a point

10 February 2018

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Brentford came from behind to draw with Preston North End at a wet and windy Griffin Park. The Bees fell behind early in the second period after an even first half but fought back to level it up. Florian Jozefzoon scored for Brentford just past the hour mark to ensure a share of the spoils and The Bees had chances to win it late on as the visitors were reduced to ten men. Alan Judge hit a post for Brentford but they couldn’t complete the comeback and had to settle for a point and a 1-1 draw.

The Bees might feel a little hard done by to only take one point from the game. They had the best chance of the first half, through Neal Maupay, although the opening period was fairly even overall and fell behind to a rare Preston attack after the break. The Bees pressed for the winner, particularly after Greg Cunningham had been dismissed, but couldn’t find a way through.

On a wet pitch, both teams showed signs that they wanted to attack and were on the front foot from the first whistle. Preston, despite some early attempts to slow the game and waste time, had two early chances, both of which could have resulted in goals inside the first three minutes. Alan Browne broke through the middle, albeit after probably fouling Romaine Sawyers, but when Callum Robinson cut the ball back to Tom Barkhuizen, the man who started the move blocked the shot. The ball was recycled and Barkhuizen had another shot that this time hit Robinson.

Preston were keen to start the match with players in Brentford territory. They tried to stop Brentford playing out from defence and forced The Bees to play through a gaggle of players or go longer. That desire to get men forward did hinder them again, however, when Billy Bodin turned cleverly but this time saw hit shot hit Robinson. Bodin also saw an effort deflected over the bar by John Egan from a half-cleared short corner.

Preston’s high starting position did give Brentford room to play in midfield once they had beaten that first line and there were chances for The Bees in an exciting opening as well. A superb long pass from Egan enabled Ollie Watkins and Neal Maupay to set up Sawyers but he shot wide from the left channel when he should probably have tested Declan Rudd. Josh McEachran then fed a ball over the top that Watkins looked as if he might get to on to but Rudd gathered at the very edge of his penalty area.

Rudd then saved from Nico Yennaris after another clever McEachran pass before a moment of concern for The Bees at the other end. Robinson won the ball deep in Brentford territory and tumbled as McEachran fell in to him 25 yards from goal. It looked as if Robinson may be able to get clear but referee Simon Hooper decided the offence was only worthy of a caution and Paul Gallagher fired the free kick in to the defensive wall.

Preston did have the ball in the net soon after when Tommy Spurr rose to powerfully head home but he was adjudged to be offside and Robinson had an effort blocked later in the half. Watkins saw a shot deflect wide at the other end after a fine run and the resulting corner was played short and worked through a collection of players before a Sawyers shot was blocked. Brentford should have taken the lead just before half time when Yennaris fed a McEachran pass in to the path of Maupay, the French striker only had Rudd to beat but fired his shot against the Preston goalkeeper’s body.

Bodin headed wide late in a first half that both teams will feel they could have scored and perhaps ended in front. And within 17 minutes of the start of the second half, both had found the net. The goals came after a relatively quiet opening to the second period. The game had turned in to one largely played in midfield. Brentford tried to take the ascendency but the first moment of quality came from Preston.

The opening goal came out of nothing for the hosts. Barkhuizen battled for the ball on the left and cut back, he was looking for Robinson with his cross but the delivery just eluded his striker and then Egan before kissing the turf and bouncing past Daniel Bentley in to the far corner. The quality of the ball was worthy of a goal and although Robinson initially tried to claim it, Barkhuizen was credited with it.

Preston’s lead did not even last ten minutes. And once again it was a goal almost out of nothing. The visitors failed to clear a throw and Henrik Dalsgaard challenged for it, Jozefzoon let the ball run across his body and fired it left footed in to the corner of the net from 15 yards. The precise nature of the shot left Rudd helpless and Brentford were level.

The goal could have come moments earlier when, following a clever short corner, McEachran fed a ball across the face of goal and watched as it progressed out for a throw in two yards from the goal line without a touch. And although Preston almost hit back immediately when a Robinson shot was blocked, The Bees had the initiative. They pressed forward looking for a winner and almost opened Preston up when Rudd rushed out to beat Jozefzoon to a deflected Sawyers pass.

The Bees control of the game grew when Cunningham inexplicably got himself sent off with 16 minutes remaining. He had just been booked for impeding Bentley when the Brentford goalkeeper tried to launch an attack and then hacked Jozefzoon down as he tried to break on the right. Mr Hooper had little option but to show a second yellow card and Cunningham left the game early.

Brentford almost turned that advantage in to a lead within moments. Judge delivered a cross from the right that Rudd punched out, Watkins quickly returned it back past him but it flew past the post. With Judge, Lewis Macleod and Emiliano Marcondes Camargo Hansen on the pitch, Brentford had plenty of attacking options and looked to turn that in to a goal and a win. Andreas Bjelland headed wide before Judge bent a free kick around a wall from 25 yards and looked on in disbelief as Rudd somehow turned in on to the post.

Barkhuizen shot wide for Preston but Brentford looked the most likely winners. Jozefzoon blazed over after getting on to a Watkins pass and weaving in to the penalty area and Emiliano had a shot blocked as The Bees pressed forward in to the dying seconds. But the goal wouldn’t come and Brentford had to settle for a point.

Brentford: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Egan, Bjelland, Clarke; McEachran (sub Macleod 80 mins); Jozefzoon, Sawyers (sub Judge 74 mins), Yennaris, Watkins; Maupay (sub Emiliano 74 mins)

Subs (not used): Daniels, Barbet, Mokotjo, Ogbene

Bookings: McEachran (17 mins) (third of season), Egan (90 mins) (third of season)

Preston North End: Rudd; Fisher, Spurr, Huntington, Cunningham; Gallagher (sub Welsh 66 mins), Johnson; Bodin (sub Horgan 89 mins), Browne, Barkhuizen; Robinson (sub Woods 76 mins)

Subs (not used): Maxwell, Harrop, Moult, Earl

Bookings: Fisher (32 mins), Gallagher (63 mins), Cunningham (73 mins)

Sent Off: Cunning (74 mins) (second bookable offence)

Attendance: 9,194 (1,002 away fans)

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