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Cherries: Honours even in Griffin Park stalemate
CHERRIES took their unbeaten run into 2013 and enjoyed the better of a 0-0 draw with League One promotion rivals Brentford at Griffin Park.
Eddie Howe’s men made it 16 games without defeat but were unable to find a way past Bees goalkeeper Simon Moore after dominating the second half.
Brentford went close to drawing first blood when Adam Forshaw’s thunderous drive flashed past the post after Harry Forrester’s fourth-minute corner had been cleared to the edge of the box.
Harlee Dean’s looping header was comfortably gathered by David James before Jake Bidwell wasted a good opportunity to test the Cherries goalkeeper when he fired a free-kick high over the crossbar.
Cherries fashioned their first clear shooting chance midway through the opening period when Marc Pugh’s venomous strike was beaten away by Bees goalkeeper Simon Moore at his near post.
James came to Cherries’ rescue when he made a top-drawer save to keep out Marcello Trotta’s snapshot after the Fulham loan man had turned sharply inside the box.
Forshaw, Brentford’s star performer in the first half, again went close to breaking the deadlock when his fierce low strike fizzed past James’s left-hand upright after 35 minutes.
As the first half drew to a close, Trotta saw his glancing header clear the crossbar after the lively Forrester had created the chance with a cross from the left.
Brentford goalkeeper Moore saved bravely at the feet of Wes Fogden after Pitman had looked to tee up the midfielder at the start of the second half.
A melee in the Bees box ended with a combination of Moore and defender Tony Craig thwarting Pitman after he had taken aim from close range.
And from the resultant corner, taken by Pitman, Harry Arter arrived at the near post, only to see his header come back off the crossbar with Moore beaten.
Forshaw’s rising drive cleared the woodwork before Steve Cook stuck out a leg to block after Trotta had let fly with an angled effort.
Pugh failed to get good purchase on a header following a hanging cross from Pitman before Cherries wasted a glorious opportunity to open the scoring midway through the second half.
A sweeping move down the left flank ended with substitute Josh McQuoid firing wide with the goal gaping after Fogden’s cut-back had fallen invitingly for him.
Substitute Matt Tubbs almost snatched a dramatic victory for Cherries at the death, although his low drive was parried by Moore at his near post.
Cherries: James, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Daniels, Fogden, Arter, O’Kane, Pugh, Pitman (McQuoid, 67), Grabban (Tubbs, 78).
Unused subs: Fletcher, McDermott, Partington, Hughes, Jalal (g/k).
Bees: Moore, Logan (Hodson, 58), Craig, Dean, Bidwell, Forrester, Forshaw (Diagouraga, 74), Douglas, Adeyemi, Donaldson, Trotta (Hayes, 78).
Unused subs: Saunders, Reeves, Kiernan, Lee (g/k).
Attendance: 8,059 (including 1,435 visiting supporters).
Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex).