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  • Charlie Stong at Kenilworth Road

Bees surviving by stealth, as Luton's draw with Forest soothes the wound of defeat at Burnley



Luton Town 1 (Berry 89)

Nottingham Forest 1 (Wood 34)

11,622


If Brentford do survive the Premier League drop this season, it looks unlikely that anyone from the gtech will be to thank for it.


Somehow, without winning a game since beating Wolves at Molineux in early February, the odds of a Bees relegation seem to lengthen every week. At the moment, they are surviving by stealth.


Today they lost again - 2-1 at Burnley - a place where everyone wins.


But, just as Luton's implosion at Bournemouth midweek was a tonic for Bees fans, the Hatters' 1-1 draw at home to Nottingham Forest means two sides the Bees will want to finish ahead of in the race from the bottom have closed by just a solitary point.


Let's take the six-point penalty for Everton earlier this season as precedent and assume the Toffees lose another half dozen - as do Forest - as is expected in the coming weeks - and Brentford's position will look even healthier.


If that scenario plays out, Forest and Everton will fall to 19 points, with Brentford's current 26 looking a solid enough gap - even though the Bees cannot buy a win of late. Forty points will be positively mid-table this year.


A Luton win today would have brought them closer to Brentford, but substitute Luke Berry's 90th-minute strike, which sent Kenilworth Road wild here today, could only salvage one point. If those deductions do take place you have to fear for Forest and Everton now.


Ross Barkley had three great chances to give Luton the lead in the opening moments here today. Two drives from just outside the box were relatively comfortable for Matz Sels in the Forest goal, while a third from the same part of the pitch grazed the outside of the right-hand post.


Forest rode their luck and grew into the game, Divock Origi was played clean through on Thomas Kaminski's goal and chipped the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper, but it had little weight on it and Issa Kabore got back to clear the ball before it could cross the line.


Origi was beginning to get into the game more and more and he thought he had given Forest the lead on 32 minutes but his shot was somehow blocked by Reece Burke.


But Forest were ahead seconds later. They worked it well from the right, and Neco Williams' inch-perfect cross was headed home by Chris Wood to send the visiting fans crazy.


Luton thought they were level three minutes before half-time, Teden Mengi poked home from a corner but referee Darren England, the target of the Hatters' faithful all afternoon, rightly chalked this one off as Mengi had controlled the ball with an arm.


Forest could have extended their lead early in the second half but Morgan Gibbs-White's attempted chip was blocked by Kaminski.


The visitors kept coming. This time it was Mengi's turn to clear off the line after Anthony Elanga looked to have beaten Kaminski with a shot from the left side of the box.


Then Murillo tried a spectacular shot direct from a free-kick well inside his own half. Looking to catch Kaminski off his line, the keeper just got back to palm the balk over the bar. It would have been outrageous - better even than Beckham's at Selhurst Park all those years ago.


But Luton were level in the final minute of the 90, Barkley's corner form the right was nodded on, and Berry spun and slotted the ball home for 1-1 leaving Brentford's fans just as relieved as Luton's that neither of these sides were able to dent a three-point chunk in Brentford's advantage.


The draw gives Luton the edge over Forest and Everton - assuming those six points are taken from those teams. The one thing against the Hatters is their fixtures. They visit Spurs and Arsenal in their next two games - we'll lose both of those," a resigned fan said to his mate on the way out. And they still have trips to West Ham, Manchester City and, in what could be pivotal, a visit to the gtech.


Forest still have to face Manchester City at home and Spurs away, while the Bees' tricky fixtures - aren't they all at the moment - include Manchester United and Brighton at home and a trip to Villa Park - their next three games. Lose all those and things could change again.


Luton: Kaminski, Barkley, Ogbene, Morris, Kabore, Ching, Mengi, Burke, Mpanzu (Townsend 60), Clark (Berry 85), (Felipe 76) Doughty

Forest: Sels, Sangare, Williams, Gibbs-White (Dominguez 82), Wood (Hudson-Odoi 76), Toffolo, Elanga, Yates, Origi, Boly, Murillo

Referee: Darren England


Picture: Charlie Stong


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