Brentford missed the chance to make ground on the Championship’s automatic promotion places after Nottingham Forest deservedly gained a point.
The draw at the Brentford Community Stadium leaves the Bees four points behind Watford in second, who can stretch that gap to seven points if they beat Birmingham later on Saturday.
Ivan Toney rolled in the opener nonchalantly from the penalty spot, his 28th league goal of the season, after Gaetan Bong dragged down the Bees striker in the box.
It came in a half in which the hosts had the better of the chances, with Bryan Mbeumo dragging wide, but Forest dominated possession despite their inability to truly test David Raya.
The second half continued in a similar theme, with Thomas Frank’s promotion chasers having less of the ball but coming closest, particularly when Mbeumo was only denied a tap-in by Bong’s block.
Their luck eventually ran out as Forest got reward for consistent pressure when Filip Krovinovic stroked in an equaliser, after Brentford defender Winston Reid failed to clear Bong’s cross, despite Cafu seeming to bundle over Mathias Jensen in midfield in the build-up.
Substitute Saman Ghoddos cracked a shot just wide as the Bees sought a winner, while Cyrus Christie’s deflected half-volley had Raya scrambling and stretching but it soared just wide.
Christie denied Brentford a winner with a stunning last-gasp block to foil Tariqe Fosu in the final minutes.
Forest are now 10 points clear of Rotherham in 22nd place, although the Millers do have a number of games in hand on sides above them after Covid-19-related postponements.
Brentford have now dropped 18 points from winning positions this season and for the second time in the week, after Derby came back from 2-0 down on Tuesday to draw.
Even with Toney stretching his lead as the Championship’s top scorer, Brentford could not break down the Forest defence from then on.
They seemed to lack some of their early-season swagger, although the movement of their fluid front line of Toney, Mbeumo and Sergi Canos caused problems for the visitors’ defence when they did get the ball in dangerous areas.
Forest’s goalscoring troubles have been a root cause of their struggles with just 29 to their name before today and that blunt-edged attack looked like it might cost them after a wealth of possession.
James Garner was impressive as the anchor in midfield and Alex Mighten was a threat out wide, but Lewis Grabban – up top on his own – at times looked isolated.
Krovinovic’s goal was no less than Chris Hughton’s side merited, but their focus moving forward will be to add a potent threat to their patient play.
Brentford boss Thomas Frank told BBC Radio London:
“I like to put what was right, this was close to a spotless performance in every aspect, we defended well, created chances, pressed forward and first half we should have been 2-0 up.
“We learned from the last game (against Derby) in midweek, we always say ‘win or learn’ and we learned. We came out more aggressive and created huge counter-attacking chances and opportunities.
“But we didn’t score, and they got the equaliser and there are a few bits we need to do better. The second ball dropped perfectly for Krovinovic whereas when the ball dropped for Henrik Dalsgaard at the other end he put it wide. We need to look at the performance and that was spot on today.
“We have to say calm, the reality is this game if we played it nine more times we’d probably win.”
Nottingham Forest boss Chris Hughton told BBC Radio Nottingham:
“I’m pleased with the reaction to conceding when we did, against a very good side and also the reaction to midweek.
“The most pleasing thing was that we were a side today that knew we had to do the work off the ball, but I thought we were good in possession as well.
For a team to come here and have the possession we had speaks volumes for the character of the team.”
Responding to the penalty award: “I’ve been asked and from the angle we’ve seen there are numerous times where that will happen and it’s not given. Whether there’s a thought that it should be given in favour of the attacking team or not.
“For me it’s soft still, only because I’ve seen numerous circumstances where they [incidents] are not given.”
- 22DalsgaardBooked at 35mins
- 29Bech Sørensen
- 8JensenSubstituted forMarcondesat 86′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 27JaneltBooked at 26minsSubstituted forGhoddosat 70′minutes
- 19MbeumoSubstituted forFosu-Henryat 77′minutes
- 7CanósSubstituted forForssat 86′minutes
- 3FigueiredoBooked at 90mins
- 13BongSubstituted forRibeiroat 66′minutes
- 18Ribeiro DiasBooked at 67mins
- 11AmeobiBooked at 78mins
- 17MightenBooked at 25mins
- 7GrabbanSubstituted forMurrayat 81′minutes
- 6Mbe Soh
Match ends, Brentford 1, Nottingham Forest 1.
Second Half ends, Brentford 1, Nottingham Forest 1.
Cyrus Christie (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Winston Reid (Brentford).
Corner, Brentford. Conceded by Tobias Figueiredo.
Attempt blocked. Ivan Toney (Brentford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Saman Ghoddos.
Filip Krovinovic (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Brentford).
Alex Mighten (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Henrik Dalsgaard (Brentford).
Attempt missed. Marcus Forss (Brentford) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Emiliano Marcondes with a headed pass.
Emiliano Marcondes (Brentford) is shown the yellow card.
Tobias Figueiredo (Nottingham Forest) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt blocked. Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Brentford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Saman Ghoddos.
Scott McKenna (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ivan Toney (Brentford).
Substitution, Brentford. Marcus Forss replaces Sergi Canós.
Substitution, Brentford. Emiliano Marcondes replaces Mathias Jensen.
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Mathias Jensen.
Attempt blocked. Cyrus Christie (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.