NOTTINGHAM FOREST 2 BRENTFORD 1

Stewart Purvis sees Brentford’s unbeaten run of ten games come to an end.

Yet another early defensive slip-up cost the Bees a game they could have at least drawn. Clear winners in the stats in every category but goals, Brentford started too casually and left the comeback too late.
Nottingham Forest are big into ‘70s and ‘80s memorabilia: a Brian Clough statue, a Clough highlights video before the game, signage round the ground recording the trophies they won until these came to a dead halt in the early 1990s. Now they even have memorabilia management, ‘Forest Legends Are Back’ red and white scarves are on sale to mark the return of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane.. One of the advantages of Keane’s return, goodness knows there must also be disadvantages, is a well organised defence that anticipated every Brentford move until Sergi Canós came on.

 For the first fifteen minutes Brentford were relaxed bordering on sleepy. Capitalising on that mood Forest’s Lewis Grabban grabbed a yard in the box over Julian Jeanvier, Dan Bentley helped Jeanvier shepherd Grabban to the side and his shot was blocked but then it somehow ended up in the net. Ten minutes later Forest had a great chance to go 2-0 up when Brazilian Leo Bonatini, on loan from Wolves, missed an easy chance. 
Overall Forest were quicker and stronger to the tackle. The only exception to the Bees stupor at this point was Henrik Dalsgaard, one of whose efforts brought a fumbled response from Costel Pantilimon in the Forest goal. Dalsgaard’s move to wing back in the new formation has released him to make plenty of runs, crosses and headers. Romaine Sawyers and Yoann Barbet are exploiting this option with a regular supply of long crossfield passes. 
The second half started with Forest twice through on goal, the first time Dalsgaard popped up in defence to clear off the line and then Grabban went wide. Bees fans will remember him at Griffin Park in 2010-11, to viewers of Netflix’s ‘Sunderland Till I Die’ twelve club Grabban is the man who decided he couldn’t be bothered to play for a club fighting relegation. Now signed by Forest he earned the chance of a second goal when Konsa slipped, Grabban held the ball in the box long enough to invite a tackle by Jeanvier and then fell over well enough to secure a penalty.
Against this pantomime villain step forward Brentford hero Daniel Bentley. The Brentford keeper saved not only Grabban’s shot but the follow-up header by Ben Watson. But his hero status was short-lived, a flying punch towards an in-swinging Forest corner missed the target and among the proverbial sea of heads it was Wague's who made enough contact to get the ball over the line. 
Two- nil down and the Bees would need to repeat their comeback against Blackburn to get any points. Thomas Frank had made two significant substitutions. As early as the 63rd minute Sergi Canós came on for the below-par Benrahma and the Spaniard immediately brought the same kind of energy which a couple of seasons back saw him run half the length of the City Ground to set up Jota in a memorable victory. Next Kamohelo Mokotjo was replaced by Josh McEachran, he of the occasional killer pass that might just cut through Keane’s defensive wall. More chances started to happen, Ollie Watkins even got the ball in the net but was offside.
Time was running out but in the 89th minute Watkins set up Canós and more of a poke than a shot slipped low past the giant Pantilimon. It was Canos’s fourth goal in four games. The patient Bees fans celebrated and urged on the players for an equaliser in the four minutes of added time. There were chances from free kicks and corners and from one Bentley, in a late upfield bid to regain hero status, challenged for a header past Pantilimon. But height was not on his side. 
Not for the first time this season Brentford had left themselves too much to do too late.
 No wonder Thomas Frank said afterwards he was ‘annoyed’ and ‘irritated’ by the defeat.

Nottingham Forest: Pantilimon; Janko, Milošević, Robinson, Osborn; Cash (sub Wagué) Watson, Yates, Lolley; Bonatini (Gonçalves ); Grabban (Ansarifard)

Brentford: Bentley; Konsa ( Forss ), Jeanvier, Barbet; Dalsgaard, Mokotjo (sMcEachran), Sawyers, Odubajo; Watkins, Maupay, Benrahma (Canós)