Aston Villa 0-0 Brentford: Bees earn draw at Villa Park
By Press Association
Last Updated: 09/09/17 6:57pm
Battling Brentford produced an excellent performance to collect an away point from a goalless Sky Bet Championship draw with Aston Villa.
Brentford have never won at Villa Park in six visits and this was their fourth draw - a fine performance in view of their winless early-season form.
Villa had been seeking only their second win of the season and this latest display did little to mark them out as serious promotion contenders as it was a frustrating and indifferent performance.
The hosts put in a poor first-half showing and their best opportunity to snatch an early lead fell to Josh Onomah. But the on-loan player from Tottenham conspired to screw his shot wide following a low, left-wing cross from Andre Green.
Brentford, to their credit, engineered several promising attacks. Ryan Woods was usually involved with some astute passes in particular out to the right, bringing Sergi Canos into the game on his first appearance of the season. Unfortunately, Canos was forced to limp off after only 30 minutes when he got involved in a tangled tackle on Green.
Ominously there was some sloppy defensive play by Villa and Neal Maupay had a couple of real chances to open Brentford's account only to fluff both openings.
Brentford substitute Josh Clarke found himself clear down the right only after play had been broken up to be foiled by a defiant Sam Johnstone.
Villa's expected changes materialised on the hour with newcomer Robert Snodgrass and Scott Hogan taking over from Green and Davies. They were quickly followed by Gabby Agbonlahor, who took over from a struggling Onomah as Brentford gained in confidence to take up a more positive attacking role.
Johnstone again demonstrated his skill with another fine save. Spreading himself wide he pushed away a powerful Clarke effort to keep Villa in the game. Dan Bentley was not to be outdone as he made a last-ditch save against James Chester to prevent a late Villa goal.
Steve Bruce: "It was frustrating, disappointing and (I'm) thankful to take a point. Sam Johnstone earned his spurs. I was conscious of the fact, and I do not want to make excuses, that practically the whole team team have been away on international duty. The three youngsters who have been away with England had to come off with injuries. In hindsight I blame myself because the young players who have given us the spark have been away for 11 days.
"With my experience I should have done better. I take a bit of responsibility because there was no real freshness. As a result we were as flat as we could be. I can readily understand the frustration of the fans as this was arguably the worst we have been since I've been here at Villa in the last nine months. We didn't have any spark, we didn't do enough with or without the ball. We looked jaded and I take responsibility for that. I should have known better after having 90 per cent of the team away on international duty."
Dean Smith: "It was a good point but we should have collected three points. We controlled the football and in the second half created three big chances. Unfortunately Sam Johnstone, who I had (on loan) at Walsall, kept us at bay.
"We are an organised team despite losing three big players during the transfer window but I do not think we have diminished the quality of the squad. We have to keep believing in what we are doing. We do not suddenly panic because we are not winning. We have a great belief in what we are doing and this is the second successive game we have not conceded a goal."