• By Yann Tear at Brentford Community Stadium

Brentford drift even further away from heart's desire as Cardiff City become latest to frustrate


Brentford (0) 1 Fosu 63

Cardiff City (0) 1 Moore pen 57

Brentford were held to a sixth draw in seven matches to virtually extinguish their hopes of automatic promotion.

With second-placed Watford winning at an already-promoted Norwich, the gap is now surely an unbridgeable 10 points, with four to play – even if the Hornets still have to visit west London.

The Bees fought back impressively after falling behind to a Kieffer Moore penalty for Cardiff early in the second half, levelling through Tariqe Fosu and should have gone on to win it.

They certainly made enough clear-cut chances to have ended the harmful glut of draws which have surely condemned them to another play-off campaign which they had hoped to avoid for all the right reasons.

But the Bluebirds were obstinate opponents and joined the list of clubs who have thwarted the Bees in recent weeks, just when the promotion-chasers could least afford it.

There were three big chances in the first half, with Marcus Forss spurning a couple of the gilt-edged variety.

He was perfectly placed to profit from a pull-back from Mads Roerslev – thanks to a near-post dummy from Ivan Toney – but his first-time shot was too close to keeper Alex Smithies.

Then there was another big opportunity when Fosu’s hanging ball to the far post was nodded back by a leaping Toney towards the unmarked Forss, but the striker skied from three yards – not managing to twist his body enough to get over the ball sufficiently to execute a more relaxed finish.

Toney, who kicked the advertising boards in frustration, had a great chance himself to break the deadlock when Marlon Pack’s backpass fell invitingly into his orbit, but Smithies dashed out, made himself big and got an arm to deflect the effort wide.

Cardiff were organised and robust in the mould of boss Mick McCarthy and looked capable of causing problems with quick balls launched forward and at set pieces.

Joe Ralls scampered onto a long ball and fired a left footer from outside the box that David Raya had no trouble saving. Harry Wilson’s dancing feet pierced the Bees rearguard and Aden Flint almost took advantage – the big defender stymied by an offside flag.

And just before the hour came the body blow of the penalty concession. A free-kick in from the right from Will Vaulks was met by the diving head of Curtis Nelson and ref Darren England spotted Ethan Pinnock’s arm brushing the ball off target.

Moore confidently tucked home to the keeper’s left – Raya diving in the opposite direction.

Just six minutes later and the Bees were back on level terms when Fosu’s speculative effort from 25 yards deceived Smithies, who saw the ball fly off his gloves and into the net. The shot was dipping and swerving but should have been stopped with comfort.

It was only Fosu’s fourth of the season for the Bees and his first since the rout of Wycombe in January.

Sergi Canos was introduced – the man whose hat-trick won the game for Brentford when the sides met in South Wales – while an out-of-sorts Bryan Mbeumo was withdrawn.

Canos almost beat Smithies with another swerver the keeper saw late and Thomas Frank’s men suddenly looked more purposefully. Toney was soon firing another effort that Forss almost bundled in.

But this was destined to be another night of what might have beens for the frustrated Bees.

Bees: David Raya – Jansson, Norgaard, Pinnock – Roerslev (Canos 58), Janelt (Ghoddos 58), Jensen, Mbeumo (Marcondes 68) – Fosu (Goode 90) – Forss, Toney. Subs not used: Daniels, Bech Sorensen, Stevens, Gordon, Bidstrup

Bluebirds: Smithies – Nelson, Flint, Brown – Sang (Williams 86), Vaulks, Pack (Ojo 74), Ng (Osei-Tutu 81) – Wilson (Bacuna 74), Ralls – Moore (Murphy 81). Subs not used: Phillips, Watters, Harris, Hoilett