Finish line, and the beach, in sight for Brentford and Fulham as west London neighbours play out stalemate

Finish line, and the beach, in sight for Brentford and Fulham as west London neighbours play out stalemate

Neither Brentford nor Fulham can claim to have much left to play for this season and it showed as they drew 0-0 in an uninspiring encounter at the Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday.

Into the month of May, and this was a match played at lukewarm temperature both literally and figuratively, neither side were quite on the proverbial beach even if neither went hell-for-leather for victory in the sun.

There were half-moments of bite about this west London derby — shown when Kristoffer Ajer went off with a bloodied nose after a meaty first-half coming together — but a lack of quality in the final third reflected the game’s status as a late-season dead-rubber.

This fixture delivered a thrilling 3-2 home win for Brentford last season. No such sharpness in front of goal here.

In fact, Alex Iwobi’s eighth-minute miss proved to be indicative of the off-colour finishing on display in a tight, fraught contest. As the ball arrived at his feet 16 yards out, he screwed his volley, the ball spinning narrowly towards Mark Flekken’s crossbar but over it nonetheless.

Bryan Mbeumo then came closer for the Bees, benefitting from a poor loss of possession by Willian which saw Ivan Toney swivel and play the Cameroonian in. Mbeumo beat Calvin Bassey for pace but couldn’t beat Bernd Leno as his shot struck the bar and Keane Lewis-Potter tamely squandered the rebound.

It was only with half-time approaching that the ball next seemed to escape the middle third of the pitch. It was Nathan Collins who ensured it did — his made-to-measure diagonal long-ball plucked from the sky by Lewis-Potter, who left Timothy Castagne in his wake, lobbed Leno, but watched as Issa Diop headed clear.

In an exclusive interview with Standard Sport this week, Yoane Wissa said of Brentford: “We are quite a strange team. We can create a lot of chances for four games and then create nothing.”

Here was that fifth game, then. The second half was even more meandering than the first, but only Fulham created a clear-cut opportunity to score. It arrived late on, courtesy of substitutes Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez.

Traore’s deflected cross fell for Jimenez, but the Mexican was left with his head firmly in his hands after blazing over from just outside the six-yard box. Neither side had a better chance all afternoon. Neither side scored all afternoon.