There may not have been any goals between Wolves and Brentford, the two form sides of League One, but the crowd at Molineux on Saturday afternoon were treated to a cracking game of football.
And, although Wanderers lost their top spot to Leyton Orient, the point gained stretched their advantage over third placed Peterborough to eight.
Head coach Kenny Jackett made wholesale changes following the FA Cup defeat against Oldham. Six men who started against The Latics were omitted whilst Michael Jacobs came in to make his debut and Sam Ricketts, Kevin Doyle, Matt Doherty, Dave Edwards and Backary Sako returned – Doherty after a six game injury absence.
Wolves kicked-off attacking the North Bank end and twice in the opening minute they went close to an early breakthrough. Doyle beat the offside trap as he sprinted to the by-line and hit a shot from an acute angle that was deflected over the bar by Jonathan Douglas.
Jacobs took the corner and Doyle ran in at the near post to end a glancing header into the side netting.
The next chance fell to Sako who met a cross from Kevin McDonald with a shot that bounced into the floor and onto the top of the net.
Wolves were inches from a classic goal in the 12th minute. Doyle’s crossfield pass to Leigh Griffiths was inch perfect and the leading scorer took a touch before hitting a tremendous effort that hit the inside of the near post and bounced clear.
The first real Brentford threat arrived in the 26th minute as Kadeem Harris crossed from the left for Adam Forshaw to run in on the blind side. Although he was unmarked his first time shot was hurried and flew high and wide from just six yards out.
Brentford keeper David Button pushed out a shot on the turn from Griffiths before Brentford had another chance when Clayton Donaldson ran through and chipped the ball over the advancing Carl Ikeme. But the home supporters breathed a sigh of relief as the ball drifted narrowly wide.
It was real end to end stuff and after Button had dived at Doyle’s feet following a low cross from Griffiths, Marcello Trotta’s intended pass to Douglas was a little too strong as the ball hit his team-mate and bounced wide off his legs.
Jacobs fired over from the edge of the box after Danny Batth had nodded back Doherty’s long throw, and from a Ricketts throw Sako cleverly beat his marker and sent a driven cross through the goalmouth with a defender turning the ball behind at the back post for what was an unproductive corner.
A moment’s hesitation in defence gifted Donaldson a shot at goal but Ikeme blocked superbly and the last attempt of the half fell to Griffiths who wasn’t far wide of the far post with a first time drive.
Half-Time: Wolves 0 Brentford 0
Both sides had early corners cleared in the new half but whilst play was taking place at a lively pace, there was little to trouble either keeper in the opening quarter.
Alan McCormack lashed a dangerous centre across the face of Ikeme’s goal and then the keeper didn’t have too much of a problem as he took a shot from Forshaw.
Midway through the half Doherty broke up a Brentford attack and fed a pass to Sako. He in turn laid the ball in front of Doyle who, running at an angle and holding off a defender, fired into the arms of Button.
Zeli Ismail replaced Jacobs in the 72nd minute. The on loan winger had slotted in well in his first start for the club and he received warm applause as he trotted off.
Brentford substitute Will Grigg drilled a shot inches with of the far post before Richard Stearman got a timely foot in to divert the ball away as Forshaw ran through.
With the game approaching its conclusion, the visitors were putting some strong attacks together and after Batth had cleared a through pass from Toumani Diagouraga, the ball was played back across the area and McCormack ran in to hit a tremendous shot from the edge of the box that was brilliantly turned away by Ikeme.
Despite having some good chances, Brentford looked happy enough to hold on for the point as they started to waste a little time in the closing minutes. For one Wolves corner, they drafted every man back into their own box.
If there was to be any real criticism of Wolves it would be that they didn’t turn enough of the attacking possession into clear cut chance. Never-the-less, that didn’t spoil what had been an entertaining spectacle.
Wolves: Ikeme, Doherty, Ricketts (capt), McDonald, Batth, Stearman, Jacobs (Ismail 72), Edwards, Griffiths (Cassidy 88), Doyle (Sigurdarson88), Sako.
Unused subs: Price, Ebanks-Landell, Golbourne, McCarey.
Brentford: Button, Forshaw, Craig (capt), Dean, Douglas, Donaldson, McCormanck, Saville (Diagouraga 78), Bidwell, Harris (Grigg 57), Trotta (Saunders 65).
Unused subs: Lee, El Alagui, Logan, Nugent.
Bookings: Donaldson (77 – foul), Saunders (87 – obstructing keeper).
Referee: M. Naylor.
Liverpool Academy Under 18s 2 Wolves 0