Time starting to run out for Brentford as Birmingham City become latest team to frustrate
Brentford (0) 0
Birmingham City (0) 0
The Bees lost more ground in the race for automatic promotion as they were held to a draw for a fourth game in a row.
They had the better of the game overall, but Birmingham, well marshalled in defence by Marc Roberts and guided now by Lee Bowyer, never looked like going quietly.
The result leaves Brentford nine points adrift of second-placed Watford, with just one game in hand and seven to play.
The play-offs are looking increasingly likely, although there is still a home game to come against the Hornets on May 1 which could yet be a factor.
The signs were quite promising in the opening passages of play.
Bryan Mbeumo found plenty of space down the left on several occasions, with one of his wicked crosses only just eluding the incoming Mads Roerslev.
Mathias Jensen pinged over the bar from inside the box, when he should have done better, and Ivan Toney, looking to add to his 28 goals for the campaign, outmuscled the City rearguard from a couple of early balls into the box.
Sergi Canos should have opened the scoring just before the half hour, with what turned out to be the best chance of the game.
A pass in from the left from Vitaly Janelt gave him acres of space to exploit, but his final dink past a hugely impressive keeper Neil Etheridge finished the wrong side of the post.
And there was a fierce drive from Toney that had the keeper stretching to his left to keep out – Chris Norgaard the provider – while Jensen had another crack from outside the area.
But relegation-threatened Brum were not passive and almost led when Gary Gardner struck the far post after a low ball had been slid in from the left by former Bee Scott Hogan.
The long throws from Roberts also gave something for Thomas Frank’s men to think about.
After the interval, a clever flick from Canos opened up a route to goal for Toney, but the Bees marksman’s shot was beaten away by Etheridge.
And it needed another spectacular intervention from the Brum stopper to turn aside Mbeumo’s flicked header from an Emiliano Marcondes chip. There were chances then, but not enough ruthlessness when it mattered.
Bees: Raya – Roerslev, Jansson, Pinnock, Bech Sorensen – Jensen (Marcondes 71), Norgaard, Janelt (Ghoddos 71) – Mbeumo, Toney, Canos (Forss 86). Subs not used: Daniels, Goode, Reid, Fosu, Stevens, Bidstrup
Blues: Etheridge – Colin, Roberts, Dean, Pedersen – Gardner – Sunjic, McGree – Halilovic (Toral 60) (Harper 72) – Hogan (Leko 60), Jutkiewicz (Cosgrove 89). Subs not used: Prieto, Friend, Bela, San Jose, Seddon