Brentford drew for the sixth time in seven games, coming from behind to secure a 1-1 draw with Cardiff City. The Bees had the better of the first half but could not get their noses in front and then fell behind when the visitors were awarded, and converted, a penalty. Tariqe Fosu levelled it up but The Bees could not find a winner and had to settle for a point.
The Bees will feel they did enough to win the game, but they could not find the goals to do so. Cardiff were forced back for long periods but Brentford opened them up and created chances, but could not finish them off. And although The Bees have not lost in eight and have only suffered one defeat in 11, they have drawn most of those games and did so again tonight.
Cardiff started with attacking intent and went looking for the first goal in the early stages. They played balls long in to striker Kieffer Moore and then looked to put together attacking possession deep in Brentford territory. The Bees were more patient in possession, trying to play through the centre of midfield before finding wing backs Bryan Mbeumo and Mads Roerslev in advanced areas.
Cardiff had early joy with their plan, putting early free kicks in to the Brentford penalty area. Harry Wilson had a shot blocked when Moore knocked one down and the resulting corner was met by Aden Flint, but his effort was also blocked. Wilson and Perry Ng had further efforts blocked before space was created for Will Vaulks, but he dragged a shot wide.
After a bright start from the visitors, Brentford began to take control of the contest. They found space to progress through the midfield and Mbeumo and Roerslev had room out wide. Fosu blasted over for The Bees and was involved in the best opening of the first quarter of the contest. He spread the play to Roerslev on the right and he cut a ball back, Ivan Toney dummied and Marcus Forss shot low from 12 yards, but fired straight at Alex Smithies.
Raya made a low save from a Joe Ralls shot, that didn’t really have enough power to trouble him, and Ethan Pinnock made an important clearance when Moore diverted a Marlon Pack header across goal towards Wilson. But Brentford spent most of the half on the front foot. They were forcing Cardiff deeper and deeper and had the openings to have gone in front before half time.
Toney headed a Mbeumo corner over and was involved in Brentford’s two biggest chances of the first half. Toney rose highest at the far post to head a deep Fosu cross back across and past Smithies. Mbeumo was arriving but Forss shot on the swivel and blasted off target. Moments later a poor back pass by Pack presented Toney with the ball one-on-one with Smithies inside the penalty area. He lashed his shot towards the corner, but the Cardiff goalkeeper made himself big and turned the ball wide.
There had been chances at both ends in the first half, with Brentford having the better of them, but the start of the second period was played at a slower pace. The Bees continued to have more of the ball, but Cardiff held a solid defensive line, often dropping in to a back five when they needed to. Little happened in the opening portion of the second half, until Cardiff scored.
The goal came from a penalty after Cardiff won a free kick on the right when Pinnock fouled Moore, under pressure from Tom Sang. Vaulks delivered the free kick and Curtis Nelson headed down, the ball hit the dangling arm of Pinnock and referee Darren England awarded Cardiff a penalty. Moore stroked it to Raya’s left as the goalkeeper dived right and the visitors had the lead.
Brentford immediately responded by introducing Sergi Canós and Saman Ghoddos, further upped the tempo and went on the attack. Wilson got in to a couple of good positions for the visitors, only to be flagged offside, as the game opened up, but The Bees were on the front foot. Forss tested Smithies when he got on to a Fosu pass and a Ghoddos header was saved.
The equalising goal came in unusual circumstances. Fosu picked up a throw-in and turned in to space. He let fly with a speculative shot that dipped and swerved and bounced through the arms of Smithies and in to the net. It was a goal out of nothing, and the game was level again with just under half an hour to play.
The Bees had the initiative and the momentum and pressed forward, creating chances. Toney failed to connect with an overhead effort from a Pontus Jansson cross and Mbeumo fired wide. Smithies then saved at the feet of Ghoddos after Toney had flicked a ball in to his path.
Canós got on to a Marcondes pass and cut in before seeing a shot blocked. A Jensen shot was then blocked before Canós let fly from 25 yards with a shot that wrong-footed Smithies, but the goalkeeper managed to get something in the way to keep the ball out. A corner was half cleared soon after, Jensen cut it back and Toney fired it towards the net, Flint blocked and Forss was unable to put it in.
Vaulks shot wide at the death for Cardiff and there were chances for them to counter-attack as Brentford pushed on, but they were hanging on as The Bees continued to pour forward. There was a last-gasp chance when a cross was half cleared, Ghoddos headed back across and Emiliano Marcondes and Charlie Goode collided as they tried to nod in. That was the last chance gone and the spoils were shared.
Brentford: Raya; Jansson, Nørgaard, Pinnock; Roerslev (sub Canós 58 mins), Fosu (sub Goode 90 mins), Janelt (sub Ghoddos 58 mins), Jensen, Mbeumo (sub Marcondes 68 mins); Forss, Toney
Subs (not used): Daniels, Sørensen, Gordon, Stevens, Bidstrup
Bookings: Fosu (88 mins) (second of season) Canós (90 mins) (fourth of season)
Cardiff City: Smithies; Nelson, Flint, Brown; Sang (sub Williams 86 mins), Pack (sub Ojo 74 mins), Vaulks, Ng (sub Osei-Tutu 81 mins); Ralls; Wilson (sub Bacuna 74 mins), Moore (sub Murphy 81 mins)
Subs (not used): Phillips, Williams, Watters, Harris, Hoilett