EDDIE Howe was left to rue another dubious penalty decision on the road as Cherries left Griffin Park with just a point to show for a hugely impressive performance.

After a first half high on quality from Howe’s men, it took until the 64th minute for Danny Hollands’s header to break the deadlock.

But Lewis Grabban’s penalty got Brentford back on terms just four minutes later.

Referee Andy Woolmer pointed to the spot after Charlie MacDonald went down under pressure from Marvin Bartley. In truth, it appeared as if MacDonald had simply lost his footing on the slippery Griffin Park turf.

Howe was forced to ring the changes following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Colchester United, with winger Marc Pugh and defender Shaun Cooper both ruled out.

Lee Bradbury returned to the fold along with Harry Arter, who made his first start since undergoing hernia surgery just over four weeks ago.

Bartley was installed alongside Jason Pearce at the heart of Cherries’ defence after Ryan Garry failed to recover from a knee injury in time for the trip to London.

Leon Legge headed clear under pressure from Josh McQuoid as early as the second minute, with Howe’s men starting the better of the two teams.

Liam Feeney’s flash of individual brilliance after 15 minutes almost paid dividends, with the former Salisbury man’s right-foot curler flying narrowly over Richard Lee’s crossbar.

Hollands possibly should have done better after latching on to Arter’s deft 20th-minute through ball, but could only slice his left-foot effort wide of the post.

McQuoid’s header six minutes later, meanwhile, flashed well wide after more inventive play from the impressive Feeney, before MacDonald almost broke the deadlock moments later, only for his scuffed shot to come back off the post.

It was all Cherries, with the Bees seemingly unable to maintain any periods of possession. Stephen Wright could not cope with Feeney’s pace and invention, while Bradbury and Adam Smith linked up nicely on the opposite flank to get in Craig Woodman’s face.

As Cherries continued their dominance in the latter stages of the first half, Lee did well to parry Feeney’s 40th minute effort after the ball emerged through a crowd of players in the Bees penalty area.

And Feeney could have made more of an opportunity just before the break after McQuoid skipped clear and played in the lively winger with a delightful cross-field pass. Feeney, though, could only skew his shot deep into the away stand.

A goal was the least Howe’s men deserved for their first-half endeavours as Pugh’s absence, in particular, had little effect on Cherries’ attacking prowess.

Feeney continued where he had left off in the opening period after the restart – namely skinning Wright alive down the left flank.

Legge had to be on his toes just three minutes into the second half to slice the Cherries winger’s dangerous cross to safety, before Hollands fired a half-volley well wide moments later.

Bradbury then played in McQuoid with a neat header across goal after 53 minutes, but once again the home-grown striker failed to hit the target.

To Cherries’ credit, though, there was no sign of any frustration, while Howe resisted the urge to change things.

It was the right call.

After McQuoid had been felled by Karleigh Osborne, Rhoys Wiggins’s free kick from the edge of the box was headed home by Hollands to hand Cherries a deserved lead.

However, the advantage did not last long with substitute Grabban lashing home from the spot after Bartley was adjudged to have brought down MacDonald after 66 minutes. It was truly a harsh decision, with MacDonald simply appearing to slip on the greasy surface.

Hollands’s dipping volley moments later failed to trouble Lee, while Howe unleashed Steve Fletcher for the final 20 minutes.

Feeney’s control let him down 12 minutes from time after Bradbury’s ball over the top found acres of space, while Myles Weston fired over Shwan Jalal’s cross bar when well placed at the other end.

The penalty decision appeared to knock a little stuffing out of Howe’s men, with the home side ramping up the pressure during the closing stages.

Wiggins, however, almost ended the clash with a flourish a minute from time, but his rasping volley from distance flew narrowly over the top.

That was as good as the second-half action got, with Cherries left to reflect both on what might have been and, undoubtedly, another questionable penalty decision on their travels.

Performance-wise, like Sheffield Wednesday two weeks ago, Howe will probably conclude this result was two points lost after dominating for such long periods and impressing in abundance.

The Cherries boss still has a lack of strike options to address somehow, while the defensive reshuffle of recent weeks has clearly softened the core of his side.

But yet another point on the road against one of the division’s form sides could prove key in the final shake-up – even if Cherries certainly did deserve much more.

Brentford: (4-4-2) Lee; Wright, Legge, Osborne, Woodman; Wood (Grabban, 60), O’Connor, Bean, Weston; MacDonald, Simpson (Forster, 65).

Unused subs: Diagouraga, Spillane, Saunders, Balkestein, Hamer (g/k).

Booked: Legge.

Cherries: (4-4-1-1) Jalal; Smith, Pearce, Bartley, Wiggins; Bradbury, Robinson, Hollands, Feeney; Arter (Fletcher, 70); McQuoid.

Unused subs: Cummings, Stockley, Purches, Taylor, Stewart (g/k).

Booked: Bradbury, Wiggins.

Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire).

Attendance: 5,278 (inc 952 away fans).