Murphy gives Blues the lead but Bees take a point thanks to Douglas header
The Championship’s leading goalscorer gave Blues an early advantage with a poacher’s finish and on another day would have had a hat-trick but for Brentford ‘keeper David Button’s agility.
Richard Chaplow was also denied by the ‘keeper, with Murphy sending a close range effort over the bar from a great position early in the second-half.
The Bees left with a point thanks to Jonathan Douglas’ header midway through the first-half.
Dean Gerken was handed the goalkeeper’s jersey in one of four changes to the team that went down at Leeds in midweek, Freddie Sears and Murphy starting up front with Richard Chaplow coming into midfield.
Gerks, making his first start since November, had to cover his near post as Alan Judge flashed a shot wide in the opening couple of minutes but after ‘keeper David
Button had to scurry to clear from a throw back to him, Town got the breakthrough on eight minutes, Murphy poking the ball in after Christophe Berra had headed on from a corner.
Sears threatened a second almost immediately after getting on the end of a ball down the middle but Liam Moore got across to make the block.
Murphy then found the sidenetting after more in-decision in the visitors’ defence then Jonathan Parr sent a left footer just wide as Blues threatened to repeat the early goal fest of the corresponding fixture on Boxing Day.
Murphy tested Button with a curler from the edge of the box, then Gerken threw himself to his left to pluck Pritchard’s strike out of the air.
Jonathan Douglas almost got on the end of Jake Bidwell’s cross but the skipper was in the right place on 24 minutes to level the scores with a header after Gerken had made a fantastic save from Stuart Dallas.
Sears and Murphy combined but Toumani Diagouraga killed the danger, while at the other end Judge headed over.
A clever pass from Cole Skuse released Sears down the right, his cross found Murphy but the Irishman was crowded out inside the Bees’ box.
Andre Gray flashed a shot just wide after Judge’s pass found him on the edge of the area, but the clearest chance to add to the scoreline before the break fell to Blues in bizarre fashion, a free-kick to the visitors on the edge of the Town box was intercepted by Jay Tabb who after running the length of the pitch found Sears who fed the unmarked Chaplow 15 yards out but his strike was saved by Button.
Town, having had a gilt edged chance to take the lead seconds before the break, and an even better opportunity within a minute of the restart, Murphy deflecting the ball over with the goal gaping after Parr set him up.
Berra then sent a cross inches wide of the far post with the delivery begging to be tapped home, Tyrone Mings testing Button with a 20 yarder at his near post as Blues carried a threat.
Teddy Bishop and Chris Wood replaced Chaplow and Sears just past the hour and seconds later Town could have been ahead, Murphy bursting clear but Button denied the striker, the Bees’ ‘keeper repeating the feat soon after at his near post.
Gerken held firm from Gray’s tester from the edge of the box as both sides looked capable of finding a decisive goal, Wood’s diving header going just wide.
Dazzling feet from Bishop created an opening for himself but again Button came to Brentford’s rescue and in the last moments it needed the timely intervention of Tommy Smith to stop the outstanding Pritchard providing a sting in the tail for Bees.
Town: Gerken, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Mings, Parr, Skuse, Tabb, Chaplow (Bishop 63), Sears, Murphy (Wood 63). Subs not used: Bialkowski, Clarke, Anderson, Connolly, Varney. Booked: Parr.