Brentford 0, Brighton & Hove Albion 0

One for the camera: Yarmoluik attempts to squeeze through the Brighton ranks

Third Season: Clean sheets times two

At the end of a gruelling match, when neither side managed to establish superiority, Thomas Frank was to observe, wisely, ‘If you can’t win, don’t lose.’ Those fans travelling from the Sussex coast in the hope of a positive result for their favourites appeared not to agree with the home chief coach’s sanguine view. Excitement was high on their menu and go hang the cost, which was not exactly dish of the day for the Bees.

‘Boring, Brentford’ chanted the visiting fans, and in case anyone missed the subsequent message, they continued to broadcast their mantra: ‘Boring Brentford’.

Those more interested in obtaining a point or several in order to obtain Premier League points and a more respectable position in the League table took no notice.

The travelling Brightonians – known also as Seagulls to their loyal following – were especially keen on obtaining a three-point victory, especially as the six-match absence of their star striker, João Pedro, had had been responsible for goals being rarer than picking the winner on the Derby.

Sad for them, but Brazilian Pedro failed to deliver on the goal-glut promise the supporters hoped for. Neither did Ivan Toney or any of his team-mates come to that. But ‘boring’? What the two needy sides delivered was some cerebral football, often thoughtful but never snooze-worthy humdrum unfit for the prime competitive standard expected across the football rainbow.

25-year-old Janelt closely marks 34-year-old Lallana

These adversaries were both in need of points, Brighton having lost five away games in a row in all areas of the game and Brentford failing to win since early February when beating Wolverhampton Wanderers, a revenge result of sorts following a draw and two defeats in a recent close cluster of games.

Early exchanges suggested that goal famines were not to be the order of the day and when Yoane Wissa despatched a fierce shot that whizzed into Bart Verbruggen’s net – on the wrong side, it transpired – and, later, the prodigal Pedro was denied only by Mark Flekken’s remarkable save, the famine was tottering.

And tottering it remained, although Brighton’s enthusiasm in demanding a penalty when Wissa appeared to shove Seagull’s captain Lewis Dunk to the ground seemed to be conclusive to the VAR. However, referee Andrew Madley earned points – well, someone had to! – by establishing Wissa had himself been fouled and no further action was necessary. Good call, Mr Madley.

Brighton’s game of attrition, always creeping, but sometimes breaking, towards goal

The second half was one of missed chances, with Verbruggen and Flekken mopping up anything that didn’t find its way into the stand behinds the goals or taking off towards for the stars. Even Toney was somewhat out of sorts, failing to capitalise on being reunited with his partner in the old firm, Bryan Mbeumo, when he replaced Wissa towards the end (no criticism, Yoane, you played well).

To suggest the most interesting event of the the latter stages of the game was Toney deciding to change his boots on the side of the pitch would be flippant, so I won’t do so. Perfectly legit, certainly, and it was in that it didn’t change his luck.

Toney readies a back kick

Six matches left of the season, with several first-team absentees still on the injury list, means the going might be tough – dangerously so unless the Bees can get back to winning ways.

One point from a game isn’t enough, I observed to my mate Charlie as we trooped from the Gtech Stadium. Still, let’s remember Thomas’s view.

‘I have one of my own,’ said a dour Charlie. ‘When we can’t win, don’t play!’

Fresh legs, Regulión and Onyeka arrive to back up Toney

Brentford: Flekken; Zanka, Ajer, Collins; Roerslev (substitute Maupay 96m), Janelt, Jensen (sub Onyeka 86), Yarmoliuk (sub Damsgaard 64); Lewis-Potter (sub Reguilón 73), Wissa (sub Mbeumo 73), Toney.

Brighton and Home Albion: Verbruggen; Veltman (substitute Moderat 86 minutes), van Hecke, Dunk, does Santos de Paulo; Groß, Baleba; Buonanotte (sub Welbeck 73), Lallana (sub Enciso 64), Adingra (sub Enciso 64); João Pedro.

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor to the Bees United website. Photographs by Liz Vercoe.

Bill, who lives in Chiswick and is a former Fleet Street editor, was named Journalist Laureate 2023 the London Press Club awards:

READ ALSO: Former Fleet Street editor, Chiswick resident Bill Hagerty, is named Journalist Laureate 2023

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