Brentford crawling towards Premier League survival despite Brighton draw extending winless run

Brentford played out a goalless draw with Brighton (John Walton/PA Wire)
Brentford played out a goalless draw with Brighton (John Walton/PA Wire)

Point by point, and with no immediate plans to save their own supporters from a nail-biting end to the season, Brentford are crawling away from danger towards the foot of the Premier League table.

A goalless draw with Brighton must go down as a creditable result, given the Seagulls’ proficiency with the ball here and their place in the top half of the table.

None of the six Premier League meetings between these sides has been won by more than two goals. Once again there was a sense that, in this battle of two fine, upstanding, profitable clubs, they more than cancelled each other out.

Up in the directors’ box at the Gtech Community Stadium, there sat a spare and unclaimed seat. Brentford chairman Matthew Benham used to work for Brighton chairman Tony Bloom’s betting firm at the turn of the millennium until the pair fell out. Now he insists on sitting with Seagulls fans in the away end on his visit here each season.

He and Brighton will have taken notes at how straightforwardly the Bees created and then took 31 shots in Saturday’s 1-1 draw here against Manchester United. To the visitors’ credit, they limited Brentford to only five here. Frank’s side were structurally coherent and always in the game — but a repeat of Saturday’s superb performance this was not.

Wins on home soil for Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth on Tuesday night did not help Brentford’s efforts to escape a relegation scrap as the season approaches its end. Neither, really, did the passing of another home game with presentable chances they failed to take.

Ivan Toney was not at his ruthless best (Getty Images)
Ivan Toney was not at his ruthless best (Getty Images)

This time those openings fell to Ivan Toney and Yoane Wissa, both of whom were lively and inventive. Wissa will look back and rue the shot he slammed wide from Keane Lewis-Potter’s first-half cross, as will Toney regret his tame effort after Cruyff-turning Jan Paul van Hecke and his wild free-kick which ballooned over.

Besides that miss, though, Wissa was electric all night, justifying Frank’s decision not to start Bryan Mbeumo despite the Cameroonian now being back to full fitness.

Wissa is a rare, wondrous sort of player — a fine dribbler, decent tackler, willing off-the-ball runner who holds the ball up well despite a small stature and slight frame. It would have been incredibly harsh if he had conceded a penalty for a supposed tug on Lewis Dunk on the stroke of half-time. Andy Madley was right to stick to his on-field decision.

The emphatic pat Frank gave on Wissa’s chest when he replaced him for Mbeumo showed how pleased the manager was with his contribution. A shame for Brentford that Brighton defended so well, kept the ball for long periods, and ensured the Bees’ wait for a first win since February 10 at Wolves goes on.

This 0-0 draw did feature a handful of rather humdrum periods of safe passing and stilted moves from both sides, but such is life against sides as capable as Brighton. Victory continues to elude them, but Brentford should take their point and move on.