Penalty costs Bees in Middlesbrough loss

Brentford 0 Middlesbrough 1

A calamitous defensive error cost Brentford as they were beaten by their play-off rivals at Griffin Park.

The Bees had dominated the first half, with Middlesbrough keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos making two fine saves, but Harlee Dean’s mistake just before the break led to keeper David Button bringing down Patrick Bamford.

Grant Leadbitter tucked away the penalty and while Stuart Dallas twice went close in the second half, the Bees largely laboured in search of an equaliser.

They almost snatched a draw with the final shot of the game, as Boro failed to deal with a corner and Jonathan Douglas was denied from close range by Konstantopoulos.

So outclassed were Brentford in their 4-0 defeat at the Riverside Stadium in September, boss Mark Warburton often warned of being “Middlesbrough’d” before future visits to the larger clubs.

On this occasion it was the Bees who gave out the footballing lesson in the first half – but they were left to rue a succession of missed chances in the opening 20 minutes.

Andre Gray headed wastefully wide when unmarked while Konstantopoulos made a fingertip save to tip over Jota’s firm effort.

From the resultant corner, James Tarkowski’s header was blocked on the line by Leadbitter, and a few minutes later Konstantopoulos was fortunate to keep out a Dallas daisy-cutter.

But the head of steam Brentford built up waned and, when Dean allowed a long ball to float over his head, Button arrived a split second late and sent on-loan Chelsea striker Bamford sprawling.

Leadbitter converted the penalty – his eighth spot-kick of the season – and, boosted by their unexpected half-time lead, Middlesbrough emerged a stronger force after the break.

Two early corners allowed Jelle Vossen efforts on goal – the first was turned behind by Button and the second saw him guide a header just past the post.

Bamford also forced an untidy save from Button at his near post, while former Harrow Borough winger Albert Adomah blazed over when through on goal.

At the other end, Dallas twice sent thumping efforts just over the bar but Brentford looked lacking in ideas at times against a well-drilled Boro backline.

Midway through the second half, ex-Bees midfielder Adam Forshaw came on for his Middlesbrough debut, to a chorus of boos, but Warburton waited until the final 15 minutes to shuffle his pack, bringing on Jon Toral and Everton loanee Chris Long.

It wasn’t until the final attack that Brentford seriously threatened but, after a scramble, Douglas was denied and Middlesbrough celebrated victory.

Brentford (4-2-3-1): Button; Odubajo, Dean (Smith 88), Tarkowski, Bidwell; Diagouraga (Toral 75), Douglas; Jota, Pritchard, Dallas; Gray (Long 75).
Subs not used: Bonham, Yennaris, Craig, Saunders.

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