Blades full-time: Sheffield United 0 Brentford 0

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Sheffield United’s slim play-off hopes are hanging by a thread after tonight’s controversial goalless draw with promotion-chasing Brentford at Bramall Lane tonight.

Subsitute Chris Porter and Ryan Flynn missed chances late on as United, FA Cup semi-finalists, were forced to settle for a share of the spoils. The result leaves them six points adrift of sixth-placed Peterborough United with seven matches remaining.

Blades boss Nigel Clough made two changes to his starting line-up. Out went Jose Baxter and Stefan Scougall, two injury casualties of United’s late defeat last weekend at the hands of Swindon Town. Billy Paynter was preferred in attack to Chris Porter, while Stephen McGinn was recalled in midfield.

Brentford travelled to South Yorkshire second in the League One table, with former United boss David Weir on their coaching staff.

Out went Jose Baxter and Stefan Scougall, two injury casualties of United’s late defeat last weekend at the hands of Swindon Town.

Billy Paynter was preferred in attack to Chris Porter, while Stephen McGinn was recalled in midfield.

Brentford travelled to South Yorkshire second in the League One table, with former United boss David Weir on their coaching staff.

It was the Bees who had the better of the early exchanges and United goalkeeper Mark Howard almost presented them with the opener after slicing John Brayford’s back pass. Marcello Trotta seized on the mistake and his low drive was hacked away inside the six yard box by Kieron Freeman.

Clayton Donaldson, Brentford’s top-scorer, headed Jake Bidwell’s teasing centre narrowly off target before blazing over a wild left foot drive.

United struggled as an attacking force but had a penalty appeal turned down when Jamie Murphy fell to the ground after a challenge with Alan McCormack.

Murphy looked the hosts most dangerous attacking threat and he delivered a good cross after skipping past McCormack on the left flank which picked out Conor Coady, who saw his strike deflected over.

It took an inch perfect sliding tackle by James Tarkowski to prevent Murphy tapping in the first goal after great play by Coady.

Brentford were then awarded a penalty when Freeman was adjudged to have brought down Trotta. Referee Eddie Ilderton showed no hesitation in sending off Freeman, who appeared to touch the ball with his sliding challenge. After consulting with the linesman, he decided to reverse his decision, meaning Freeman remained on the pitch and no spot-kick was given.

Freeman rescued United again just before the hour mark when he blocked Toumani Diagouraga’s fizzing right foot effort after clever play by Trotta.

Bees midfielder Jonathan Douglas tried his luck from distance but Howard was equal to it while Ryan Flynn skied a right foot drive at the other end.

United substitute Chris Porter forced David Button to tip over his looping header after the striker rose highest to meet Ben Davies well flighted free kick.

Trotta some how nodded wide when he should have at least hit the target following a rapid Brentford breakaway.

Flynn nearly snatched maximum points late on but he curled inches wide after good approach play by Coady.

But Brentford were the superior team from open play and George Saville made a hash of his right foot shot before Trotta fired straight at Howard.

Blades: Howard, Brayford, Flynn, Doyle, McGinn, Collins, Coady, Paynter, Davies, Murphy, Freeman.

Subs: Porter, Baxter, Scougall, Long, Khan, Kennedy, Dimaio.

Brentford: Button, Forshaw, Craig, Douglas, Donaldson, McCormack, Judge, Diagouraga, Bidwell, Tarkowski, Trotta.

Subs: Lee, Dean, Grigg, Dallas, Saville, Reeves, Yennaris.