READING 2 BRENTFORD 1

Stewart Purvis joined the Bees caravan down the M4 that came away with nothing.

Remember when Brentford used to go to Reading with a better than even chance of winning? When Woods and Canos scored two great goals at Christmas 2015. When Vibe got the winner in front of the Brentford end last season. For 2,000 Bees fans (1,954 to be precise) those memories were alive enough for them to travel to a game which had no real significance in Brentford's foreclosing season other than the search for an elusive third away win. The only memory they took away this time was another disappointing away game, not quite as bad as Swansea but not much better. 

All the characteristics of Brentford's away form were there to be seen from the start. Goals conceded early and easily that deflated the supporters, mis-placed passes in midfield and a failure to win the second ball.

In the eighth minute Reading broke out of defence, Mo Barrow, given plenty of space in midfield, played a penetrating through ball which Yakou Meite got to before Julian Jeanvier and Luke Daniels and swept into the net. In the fifteenth minute it was Meite again, this time getting his head on the end of a free kick from the right. Our Bees United photo tweet, worth a look, captured the moment. The Bees fans packed into a section of the away end got a perfect view of the failure in Brentford's defensive marking. Meite was yards in front of his marker Moses Odubajo and had a clear sight of goal. Moses appealed for offside, it was close but not close enough. Bees were two-nil down after the first quarter of an hour and it could have been worse. No wonder the Reading fans, anxious about possible relegation, were now confident enough to sing 'We are Staying Up'.

By the half hour point Brentford were putting together the occasional chance. Josh Dasilva who always threatens to put a thunderbolt away, had a go and Henrik Dalsgaard had a shot blocked. Said Benrahma, by contrast, had skied a chance but it was the Algerian who set up the Brentford reply. His free kick bounced in front of Reading keeper, Emi Martinez, who fumbled the ball into the air and Neal Maupay did well to head it into the corner of the net despite there not being much pace on the ball. Coming just before half-time the goal gave Bees fans hope of a second half that could yet produce a victory. In the away end the first chorus of  'Come on Brentford' could be heard.

The start of the second half did not keep up that momentum. Brentford fans divide between those who think that Mads Bech Sorensen is a B team player who needs time to settle into the first team defence and those who think his bulk inevitably slows him down and limits his spring for headers. On 51 minutes he was booked for a really clumsy tackle. Then a long distance Reading free kick by Lewis Baker nearly caught out Luke Daniels before the 6 feet 4 inch keeper produced one of of his characteristic tips over the bar. A moment of some light relief followed. Neal Maupay, again giving it everything and a bit more on top, used his hand to try to engineer a breakaway. The referee didn't spot it even when he went to the Brentford bench for treatment to the hand he had injured committing the foul. Not so funny was Benrahma going off with a leg injury that looked worrying. He was replaced by Sergi Canos who immediately collected a bloody nose .

There were still few real Brentford chances and at the other end a Meite header could have secured his hat-trick but went wide. It was only in the final twenty minutes when Thomas Frank brought on Marcondes for Dasillva, and then gambled with a second striker in Forss, that Brentford showed enough energy and enterprise to ignite any real excitement amongst those supporters. In the 76th minute a Canos shot went wide, as did a Sorensen header. There were plenty of crosses, but as usual nobody of sufficient height on the end of them.

At the end Reading fans celebrated a result that should keep them in the Championship.The stats suggested that Brentford had more of possession, shots on target and corners. But those who have followed this sad run of failure know those figures don't tell the real story of game after game when a team so determined at home seem so limp away. And Thomas Frank-who's asked about it after every defeat- has yet to come up with an explanation. 

Reading: Martínez; Yiadom, Miazga, Moore, Gunter; Rinomhota, Baker, Ejaria; Méïté (sub Harriott ), Oliveira (Blackett ), Barrow (McCleary)

Brentford: Daniels; Konsa, Jeanvier, Sørensen; Dalsgaard, Dasilva (Marcondes), Sawyers, Odubajo ( Forss ); Watkins, Maupay, Benrahma (Canós )