BLACKBURN ROVERS 1 BRENTFORD 0

Stewart Purvis was one of 270 Bees fans who saw Brentford go close but not close enough at Ewood Park:

After a run of three away victories with nine goals scored and only one against this game was more like the away form of last year, an early goal conceded and a late fight back that just fell short.
Thomas Frank looked like a Head Coach rationing out the player minutes to get best value of his small squad across three games in a week. For the trip to Central Lancashire he chose not to start with Bryan Mbeumo  but instead to put him on the bench and continue with Jan Zamburek who’d held the ball up well in the final stages against Reading. Josh DaSilva was on the bench too as Christian Norgaard returned after suspension. 
The plan required a clean sheet to be kept until the cavalry of subs came on in the second half. But after just ten minutes the plan went wrong when Blackburn scored. A Rico Henry link up with Said Benrahma on the left didn’t work out and Blackburn counter attacked, sweeping the ball upfield to Stewart Downing, aged 35  and still worth a starting slot, who cut it back to Bradley Dack. One nil to the Rovers.  
Jan Zamburek is described on the Brentford website as a midfielder so Rovers manager Tony Mowbray probably worked out the 18 year old Czech making his full debut in the Championship was unlikely to be an attacking threat on the right wing although he did get one chance. So Mowbray could focus his team’s press on Brentford’s left where the attacking threat of Henry and Benrahma was contained, particularly by Adam Armstrong on Henry. Benrahma got increasingly frustrated, was warned twice by referee Matthew Donohue and was lucky not to be booked. 
The real problems lay in midfield where the return of Norgaard did not signal a return to the normal service seen at QPR and Swansea and where Mathias Jensen was often outmuscled. 
The saving grace was that after conceding that opening goal Pontus Jansson, Ethan Pinnock and David Raya steadied the ship and got the Bees to half-time just one goal down.
Five minutes into the second half Brentford got their first clear cut chance. Benrahma was almost through when a hand ball from a Blackburn defender stopped his progress. From the free kick on the edge of the box he hit the post. Then  Jansson got his head to a Jensen corner but Rovers scrambled it off the line.
You could have set your watch that at 60 minutes there would be Brentford subs with Zamburek giving way to Mbeumo and Mokotjo to DaSilva. That’s exactly how it turned out. Some Bees fans were wondering if things would have been better if Brentford had started with that line-up. The fact that Bees were still in with a chance at that point was down to Raya, returning to his previous club and picking up Brentford man of the match for the second game in succession.
Now more chances started to come for Brentford. A Norgaard shot curled just wide, then Mbeumo did the same. 
Then a moment you couldn’t have forecast. On 80 minutes assistant head coach Brian Riemer made a signal to B team graduate Mads Roerslev that clearly meant ‘get ready, you’re going on’.  Mads’ face seemed to say ‘what me?’. Which is how a 20 year old Danish defender came to start his Brentford first team career on the right wing. It said everything about Thomas Frank’s limited options. Ten minutes later Mads was booked for a push but did nothing else wrong. 
The chances were still coming but Benrahma was wasteful and Watkins strangely quiet. At the end Henrik Dalsgaard, who’d not had a great night, headed straight for the tunnel and was called back by Thomas Frank and directed to go over and thank the 270 fans in the away end who were disappearing fast down the exits. 
The stats showed the Bees had 62% of the possession and twice as many shots at goal but fewer threatening ones. It could easily have been a draw but its becoming a habit to say that after trips to Blackburn. 
Now Frank has to eke out the best of his squad  to get back to winning ways at home to Luton on Saturday.
 
Blackburn Rovers: Walton; Nyambe (sub Bennett), Adarabioyo, Downing; Evans, Rothwell; Armstrong (Holtby), Dack, Travis; Graham ( Brereton)
 

Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry (Roerslev) ; Jensen, Nørgaard, Mokotjo (Dasilva); Žambůrek (Mbeumo) Watkins, Benrahma