Brentford 1-1 Derby: Ollie Watkins earns point for Bees
By Press Association
Last Updated: 26/09/17 11:35pm
Ollie Watkins rescued a deserved point for Brentford with a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw that ensured Derby's away-day hoodoo continued.
Welsh midfielder Joe Ledley gave Derby the lead after 16 minutes when he planted a firm header back across goal and beyond Bees goalkeeper Daniel Bentley after a clever nod back from Sam Winnall.
But Watkins got across his man to meet Florian Jozefzoon's drilled low cross and his first touch trickled beneath keeper Scott Carson and over the line with just four minutes remaining.
It was no more than the Bees deserved after racking up almost 80% possession as Derby shut up shop after making the early breakthrough. The Rams, who have managed just one win on their travels, started the brighter with Tom Lawrence cutting in from the left to force Bentley into a punched clearance with just five minutes gone.
Brentford looked lacklustre in the first half hour but the game exploded into life following a touchline bust-up which started after Andre Wisdom bundled Romaine Sawyers into the advertising hoardings. He picked up a yellow card along with team-mate Bradley Johnson while Ryan Woods was also booked for joining the fray.
The bookings sparked the Londoners into life and Danish centre-back Andreas Bjelland forced a fingertip save from Carson. Derby, who lost winger Mason Bennett with a hamstring pull after 10 minutes, always looked a threat on the break, with Winnall lively. But the Bees were denied a clear-cut penalty when Richard Keogh ploughed through the back of Sawyers after 34 minutes, but referee Andy Davies waved away their protests.
Watkins thought he had levelled just before the break when his 25-yard effort wrong-footed Carson but deflected just the wrong side of the upright.
After the break it was all Brentford as they surged forward trying to unlock a 10-man Derby defence, well marshalled by Craig Forsyth and Keogh. Neal Maupay could not get over a 56th minute Rico Henry cross and powered a header inches over before Yoann Barbet's far-post header suffered the same fate two minutes later.
Nico Yennaris curled a speculative effort just wide before Forsyth's spliced clearance fizzed just over his own crossbar, but it was only brief respite as Watkins levelled shortly afterwards from one of the few quality deliveries from the flanks.
Referee Davies almost incurred the wrath of the home fans as he blew for full-time with Watkins about to pull the trigger on the break, but luckily for him the shot found the side-netting.
Dean Smith: "It was fully deserved even though we probably didn't create as many clear cut chances as we have in previous games. We were very patient and moved the ball a lot more quickly after half time when we found a little more intensity. We had to because you can't just go chucking balls in the box against centre backs of Derby's calibre.
"We looked at their bench and knew it was going to be tough but after the break we moved it around well and were brave on the ball, and that's not easy against a team of ex-Premier League players. We lacked a little bit of quality in the final third but got the luck our performance deserved in the end."
Gary Rowett: "The biggest problem was that we were wasteful when we won the ball and if you keep giving it away at a place like Brentford you have to keep chasing it. As much as they had all the possession they only had two shots on target and Scott Carson hasn't made a save in the second half. We had two chances to clear the ball before their goal. At that point in the game you have to put foot through it so it was a really poor goal to concede.
"We started quite well and wanted to put pressure on them early on but we showed a lack of composure at times and I asked players to be tougher and more resilient. If you don't do that against Brentford they play in the pockets and move the ball quickly as we saw for long periods when we found it difficult to get out. The overriding feeling is disappointment that we couldn't see it out."