Brentford 1 Leeds United 1: Evans praises resolute Leeds after Carayol’s leveller

PIC: Bruce Rollinson

PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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Mustapha Carayol’s second-half goal earned Leeds a 1-1 draw at Brentford and left manager Steve Evans praising his side’s resolve.

On-loan winger Carayol scored the second goal of his spell with the club with six minutes to go, curling in from the edge of the box.

Mustapha Carayol celebrates his goal for Leeds United against Brentford with Lewis Cook. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Mustapha Carayol celebrates his goal for Leeds United against Brentford with Lewis Cook. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Sam Saunders had put Brentford ahead after 28 minutes, cashing in from 20 yards after he was afforded the run of the midfield.

Brentford’s approach play was a delight at times but they lacked the cutting edge to put Leeds to the sword and were made to pay for their profligacy.

Evans was delighted with the way his side hung in during a first half in which he admitted they were second best to Brentford’s slick passing.

But he said: “At half-time I was confident we’d get something and we go away disappointed that we haven’t taken all three points, especially since we feel we have a good shout for a penalty.”

Mirco Antennuci can't believe the decison after being brought down in the box.' PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Mirco Antennuci can't believe the decison after being brought down in the box.' PIC: Bruce Rollinson

That came when the lively Mirco Antenucci dropped to the floor in a duel with Bees centre-back Harlee Dean, the referee decisive in waving away Leeds protests.

Evans added: “Regardless of that it was very much a game of two halves. The conditions were tough with a swirling wind and we also lost Chris Wood with a tight hamstring.

“We didn’t perform to the level we can and gave the ball away too sloppily with misplaced passes.”

But Leeds looked far brighter after the break and despite the hosts’ fluent football, actually carved out the better chances.

Souleymane Doukara stung David Button’s fingertips late on with a sizzling drive while Alan Judge also forced a superb free-kick stop from Marco Silvestri at the other end.

Evans admitted: “Brentford have good technical players and were passing it round us a bit in the first half but we changed the system at half-time and after the break our keeper Marco Silvestri had very little to do.

“The Brentford fans are fantastic and as a head coach that’s why I hate coming here because you know the fans will be right behind them, but we actually got them to go quiet.”

Brentford head coach Dean Smith bemoaned his side’s lack of quality in the final third for failing to put the game beyond Leeds by half-time.

“In the first half we played some very good football and probably could have gone in more goals up, but the final pass or final touch wasn’t as good as it should have been,” he said.

“We’ve taken four points from two games and we feel disappointed because it could have been better.”

Saunders’ goal came as Leeds’ midfielders allowed him through to get a decent sight of goal and he duly did the rest.

Two minutes after the deadlock was broken Mirco Antenucci, who replaced the injured Wood early on, tested Bees keeper David Button with a 25 yard effort.

Minutes later Alan Judge fired inches over as Brentford teased and probed but failed to create too many clear cut chances.

Leeds boss Steve Evans was furious midway through the half as Harlee dean outmuscled Antenucci inside the box and the referee waved away Leeds’ penalty shouts.

Brentford’s John Swift looked lively with the ball and caused the visitors’ uncompromising back four problems in a first half played mainly between the two boxes.

After the break Leeds came into it more and Button had to be at his best to thwart first Antenucci and then former Bee Stuart Dallas with a brave double save.

At the other end Judge’s dipping free-kick forced a similarly spectacular full length stop from Leeds keeper Marco Silvestri.

Just before the hour mark John Swift the ball to Souleymane Doukara and the striker’s audacious lob from 20 yards had Button back-pedalling as it drifted just past the upright.

Judge again tested Silvestri with a free-kick as Brentford’s precision passing football all too often ended with a loose ball.

The home side’s lack of cutting edge came back to haunt them late on when sloppy defending handed Carayol space in the box and he made them pay with a clinical finish.

The winger might have pinched all three points late on but his 30-yard effort was palmed clear at full stretch by Button.

A point apiece was about the right result as Leeds stayed in the game despite falling short technically of their hosts.