A fifth minute penalty by Adam Forshaw condemned Reds to a third successive league defeat on Saturday in front of a season’s high crowd of 4,177.
In the second half in particular the hosts carved out some good chances but Brentford, who always looked a threat on the break, proved solid at the back as they made it four wins on the spin to continue their climb up the table.
Reds lined up with a midfield trio which included Nicky Adams in a central role with Dannie Bulman and Mike Jones sitting slightly deeper and Kyle Bennett, on his home debut, and Andy Drury in the wide areas.
In the corresponding fixture last season Reds conceded a penalty after 50 seconds. It wasn’t quite as bad this time but just four minutes had gone when Kyle McFadzean tripped Kadeem
Harris as he weaved his way inside the box. Referee Graham Scott pointed to the spot straight away and FORSHAW rolled the penalty home as Paul Jones dived the other way.
Bennett went close to a quick response with a shot from 22 yards which was held by goalkeeper David Button then Clayton Donaldson marauded down the right before finding Forshaw whose curling shot was high and wide.
Both sides tried to get their passing games going but for the next 20 minutes or so the game became scrappy with both defences cancelling each other out.
Reds had plenty of the ball but were struggling to penetrate the visitors until the 35th minute when a half-cleared corner dropped to Drury on the edge of the box. He hit it first time and caught it sweetly enough but his shot was straight at Button.
The keeper was called into action again six minutes later when Proctor laid the ball into Bulman’s path but his side-footer was pushed to safety by Button.
Reds began the second half with much more purpose and Drury was inches away from equalising on 50 minutes. Josh Simpson led an attack before finding Jones whose cross was met by a diving header from Drury which went just the wrong side of the post.
Drury and Adams had swapped roles and Adams began to stretch the visitors’ defence. Three minutes later he pulled the ball back into the path of Mike Jones whose thunderbolt whistled just over the bar. Adams then sent Simpson in on the overlap but his cross was headed clear by Alan McCormack.
After a somewhat passive first half the game had sparked into life. Reds were pressing for an equaliser but leaving themselves vulnerable on the counter and Harris squandered a great opening in a 3 v 3 break with a horribly over-hit cross.
Proctor then set up Bulman for a hit from distance but it fizzed low past the left-hand upright before his pass gave Drury a sight of goal but once again Button was not troubled in the Brentford goal.
Reds made their first change midway through the half when Emile Sinclair replaced Drury and the home side went to a 4-4-2 but Brentford broke again moments later and Joe Walsh did enough to divert Donaldson’s shot for a corner before Trotta rode two tackles and with Jones in his sights slashed his shot wide. Harris then miscued and when the ball dropped 10 yards out Forshaw sliced his volley into the away fans behind the goal. The midfielder had a better effort on 72 minutes with a fierce shot from the angle of the box that was heading for the bottom corner until a deflection took it wide.
With 15 minutes to go Gary Alexander replaced Proctor then Brentford brought on £300,000 striker Will Grigg – an stark reminder of the relative strengths of the two squads.
As the game entered its last ten minutes Brentford appeared to have ridden out the storm and looked like the side likely to score the next goal and Forshaw again went close when he rose to meet Sam Saunders’ cross with a glancing header that flashed wide.
Richie Barker made his final change six minutes from time when James Hurst came on for Bulman and Simpson moved into midfield and almost immediately Hurst put in a decent cross but Alexander missed the kick 10 yards out.
There were five minutes of stoppage time and Bennett headed Adams’ free kick just over after he’d been checked by Harlee Dean, but that proved to be Reds’ final sight of goal and Richie Barker’s men will have to regroup and go again on Tuesday against Bristol City at Ashton Gate.