John Hirdle reports from the Keepmoat on how Brentford contrived to lose a game in which they had the lions share of the ball and were in total control of with fifteen minutes left to play.
If possession in games won points then the Bees would be romping away clear at the top of the table. As has been shown so often in matches this season though, it can mean nothing in the overall scheme of things, and Saturday’s game at Doncaster proved the point to Bees fans yet again.
Quite how the Bees managed to leave the Keepmoat stadium empty handed is a mystery, but the constant inability to press home their advantage when dominating away games must by now be surely starting to worry the Brentford coaching staff. It certainly frustrated the 500 plus loyal Bees fans in attendance, who once more were left to ponder at the final whistle quite how another game got away.
With Clayton Donaldson as the lone striker and a solid bank of players strung across midfield the Bees stifled the home side straight from the off and took control of the game. Donaldson nearly embarrassed Donny keeper Gary Woods lack of control from a backpass on 7 minutes then Tony Craig on 13 and Harry Forrester on 17 minutes had off target shots. On 18 minutes the home side created their first chance and Kyle Bennett should have done better when firing over the bar from a good position inside the area.
On 22 minutes from the edge of the box Harlee Dean tried his luck with a low stinging drive and it took a full length diving save from Woods to turn the ball away for a corner. The Bees continued to press and suffocate Doncaster in to making mistakes and on 26 minutes really should have taken the lead when an under hit back pass from Shelton Martis let in Donaldson, but with just the keeper to beat the striker poked his shot wide.
On 40 minutes Doncaster had a rare opportunity from a free kick on the edge of the box and it took a fine flying save from Simon Moore to deny David Cotterill,s strike. In bright autumn South Yorkshire sunshine it was the Bees who ended the first half in style though, and on 44 minutes deservedly took the lead through a fine goal from Jonathan Douglas.
Adam Forshaw, playing on the right side of midfield, drifted in to a central position for the first time in the game and showed his ability with a confident run at the home defence before releasing a pin point pass to Douglas, who had timed his run to perfection and then finished with a delightful chip over the keeper and in to the net off the underside of the cross bar.
Doncaster started the second half in brighter fashion and looked to have a bit more bite about them with some feisty tackles flying in. But it was still the Bees who were in control and dictated the tempo of the game. On 58 minutes Jake Bidwell picked up a knock and was replaced by Leon Legge, who took over at Centre half with Craig switching to left back.
The change appeared to have no immediate effect on the match though, and after Donaldson had fired high and wide on 65 minutes, after good work by Toumani Diagouraga, the Bees striker had another great chance a minute later when put through but was let down by his first touch and Donny keeper Woods was able to rush off his line and scramble the ball away for a corner.
Tom Adeyemi sliced a half chance wide of goal on 72 minutes before Uwe Rosler made his second substitution when bringing on Kevin O'Connor for Forshaw. Extraordinarily the game then turned completely on it,s head and from absolutely nowhere Doncaster conjured up an equaliser completely out of nothing.
Cotterill producing a 30 yard rasper of a drive on 74 minutes to level things up. No Bees player opted to close him down and the swerving dipping shot ripped in to the top corner of the net leaving Simon Moore with no chance.
Stuart Dallas came on as the Bees final sub for Adeyemi on 78 minutes but was unable to get in to the flow of the game, and it was Doncaster, having been completely subdued for the vast majority of the game, who now had their tails up and snatched a winner on 84 minutes through their second half sub Billy Paynter.
Martin Woods was allowed to whip in a perfect cross from the left and Paynter with the freedom of the six yard box to himself was able to pick his spot and head past Moore. A goal similar in many ways to the one conceded at Scunthorpe a week earlier, as the Bees had many players in and around the area defending but completely failed to pick up the runner and paid the consequences once more.
The Bees moved Leon Legge up front and ditched the patient passing plan for a route one aerial bombardment of the home side in the remaining time but failed to create anything of any real note and thus saw their seven match unbeaten run come to an end. 72% possession came the way of the Bees in the game, but the all important statistic at the final whistle was the score. Doncaster 2 Brentford 1.
Team - Simon Moore, Shaleum Logan, Jake Bidwell, Harlee Dean, Tony Craig, Toumani Diagouraga, Adam Forshaw, Jonathan Douglas, Clayton Donaldson, Tom Adeyemi, Harry Forrester.
Subs - Leon Legge (For Bidwell 58 mins), Kevin O,Connor (For Forshaw 72 mins), Stuart Dallas (For Adeyemi 78 mins). unused Subs - Richard Lee, Scott Barron, Jamie Spencer, Paul Hayes.
Man of the match - Jonathan Douglas.