Brentford 1 Tranmere Rovers 1

Last updated : 09 December 2006 By Footymad Previewer
A solitary point is hardly the most generous of Christmas gifts, but after conceding 15 goals without reply in their last five League One outings, beleaguered Brentford will have been more than grateful to emerge from this entertaining encounter with a share of the spoils.

The visit from Ronnie Moore's high-flyers hardly came at a welcome time for Brentford, but despite losing the lead within minutes of scoring their first league goal in nearly two months, the Bees staged a battling display to slow Tranmere's promotion push.

After the midweek hammering by Doncaster, Brentford caretaker boss Scott Fitzgerald opted to shuffle the pack, dropping Thomas Pinault to the bench and shifting full-back Kevin O'Connor into central midfield in place of the Frenchman.

It proved a shrewd move. Brentford and Tranmere may occupy opposite ends of the table, but with O'Connor in the thick of things, there was little to choose between the two sides in the opening quarter.

But as Tranmere picked up the pace and frequency of their attacking incursions, the Bees' central defensive pairing of Adam Griffiths and Matt Heywood frequently appeared to be on different wavelengths.

This was never more obvious than when Kevin Ellison's apparently harmless free-kick was allowed to drift all the way through to goalkeeper Clark Masters, who turned it over the bar at the last moment.

If that caused unease among those of a red and white persuasion, their nerves were temporarily settled seven minutes from the interval when Jo Kuffour crossed from the byline for Charlie Ide to angle a beautifully taken header beyond the stranded Gavin Ward.

But Brentford have rarely made things straightforward for themselves this season and the home support had hardly finished roaring its approval at a first goal in six league outings before Rovers were level.

O'Connor brought down Chris Greenacre in a central position some 30 yards out and with only moments to go until the interval, Griffin Park's worst fears were realised as Chris Shuker bent a free kick just inside Masters' left-hand upright.

But this was a steelier, more resolute Brentford than of late and the Bees re-emerged with their determination undiminished.

Kuffour spurned a brace of presentable opportunities as the home side piled on the pressure but Rovers remained resolute and in the end a point apiece was about right.