Match report: Brentford 1 PNE 1

Callum Robinson watches as Tom Barkhuizen's cross curls into the net
Callum Robinson watches as Tom Barkhuizen's cross curls into the net

Preston North End earned a battling point against Brentford at Griffin Park after having to play the last 15 minutes with 10 men.

Greg Cunningham was sent-off in the 75th minute, the skipper-for-the-day picking up two bookings in quick succession.

Tommy Spurr heads home but the effort is ruled out for offside

Tommy Spurr heads home but the effort is ruled out for offside

North End had taken the lead early in the second half, an inswinging cross from Tom Barkhuizen travelling straight at the far post without anyone getting a touch.

But they were quickly pegged back, Brentford equalising within eight minutes with a shot on the turn from Florain Jozefzoon.

Cunningham's two cautions came within 90 seconds of one another, the first for preventing keeper Daniel Bentley taking a goalkick, one the Irishman could count himself unlucky about.

However, his challenge on Jozefzoon brought an inevitable booking and then a red card.

Tom Barkhuzien competes with Brentford's John Egan

Tom Barkhuzien competes with Brentford's John Egan

With Cunningham in the dressing room Preston had to soak up plenty of pressure from the hosts, Declan Rudd making a fine save to push a free-kick from substitute Alan Judge on to the bar late on.

North End might question why Brentford finished with 11 men, Josh McEachran having escaped with only a yellow card in the first half when bringing down Callum Robinson who looked clear on goal.

The draw ended a miserable run of results for PNE at Griffin Park, their last four visits to the West London ground all ending in defeats.

Alex Neil had made two changes to the starting XI, both enforced of them with Ben Pearson starting a two-match ban and Tom Clarke injured.

Daniel Johnson came into midfield while Tommy Spurr was Clarke's replacement at the back, this Spurr's first appearance since September after his recent return from knee surgery.

North End started brightly, Alan Browne winning the ball in midfield in the third minute and playing a ball through to Robinson who chased it to the byline.

Robinson pulled it back into the middle, Barkhuizen's shot hitting Harlee Dean and bouncing to safety.

In the next passage of play, another effort from Barkhuizen was blocked in the six-yard box.

Brentford's first opening of the contest saw Ollie Watkins' pass played into the path of Romaine Sawyers by Maupay, Sawyers hitting a low shot across goal and wide of the far post.

Billy Bodin saw a shot from inside the box deflected over the bar, Paul Gallagher's cross having found its way into his path.

The home side were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men in the 17th minute, Gallagher and Robinson have pressed high to win possession in the Bees half.

Robinson moved towards the box, McEachran tripping him up and escaping with just a yellow when he looked like the last man.

The resulting free-kick was taken by Gallagher but was blocked by the wall.

Watkins shot was taken wide by Paul Huntington's sliding challenge as the play swung from end to end.

Preston had the ball in the hosts' net in the 27th minute, Spurr rising to head home a Gallagher free-kick from the left channel.

But the celebrations were cut short by the assistant flagging for offside - not necessarily against Spurr but team-mates close to him had perhaps strayed too far.

Three minutes before half-time, Maupay was played clear of the PNE defence in the box but Declan Rudd was off his line quickly to spread himself and block the Bees striker's shot.

In the 45th minute, Gallagher's cross was met by Bodin in the middle but he glanced a header across goal and wide.

North End took the lead nine minutes into the second half after Gallagher's high ball forward from midfield headed clear by a Brentford defender.

Greg Cunningham was first to the loose ball, heading it down the left channel for Barkhuizen to chase.

He got there ahead of Henrik Dalsgaard, cut inside the right-back and sent over a right-foot cross which curled in at the far post, the keeper distracted by Robinson's attempt to make contact with it.

But the lead was to last only eight minutes, the ball worked in field from a throw-in on the right, Jozefzoon turning in the box to fire a left-foot shot past Rudd.

North End went down to 10 men for the last 15 minutes when Cunningham was booked twice in 90 seconds.

The left-back's first caution was for blocking the keeper from taking a quick goal kick after the breakdown of a Preston attack - that one looking harsh it has to be said.

When he dived in to trip Jozefzoon as the winger found space on the Brentford right, referee Simon Hooper pulled out a second yellow and then red.

Calum Woods came off the bench to play at left-back, Robinson the man sacrificed - Barkhuizen moving up front.

Barkhuizen saw an 84th minute shot fly wide after he had cleverly given his marker the slip to come inside off the left.

Rudd produced a fine save with four minutes left, diving to his left to tip a free-kick from Judge onto to the angle of post and bar, with it bouncing behind for a corner.

Brentford had all of the ball in the last few minutes but North End's 10 men held out to earn a point.

Brentford: Bentley, Dalsgaard, Bjelland, Egan, Clarke, Yennaris, McEachran, Jozefzoon, Sawyers (Judge 75), Watkins, Maupay (Marcondes 74). Subs (not used): Macleod, Mokotjo, Ogbene, Barbet, Daniels.

PNE: Rudd,, Fisher, Huntington, Spurr, Cunningham, Johnson, Gallagher (Welsh 65), Bodin (Horgan 88), Browne, Barkhuizen, Robinson (Woods 76). Subs (not used): Harrop, Moult, Earl, Maxwell.

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)