Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis conceded that his side had to dig deep to claim a point at Brentford.
Boro took the lead in the 21st minute when Adama Traore cut in from the left and rode two challenges before planting an unstoppable low drive just inside the near post.
But the Bees stormed back into it just after the half-hour when midfielder Lewis Macleod beat Darren Randolph in the visitors’ goal with what was almost a carbon-copy strike from the edge of the box.
“I thought they were the better team, but we’ve worked really hard defensively and did a smashing job in restricting them to shots from outside the box,” Pulis said.
“They are a decent side and Dean Smith has done a smashing job here. He keeps producing good players, sells them and producing new ones. I’m disappointed in some ways because we can play much better than that, but this is an old-fashioned ground with fans tight to a pitch which looks small... but they made it look very big for us.”
Pulis insisted he was not surprised by the opposition.
“Every time Adama (Traore) picks the ball up he gets fouled before he gets into motion. In the last few games the opposition have been quite content to bring him down, but to my mind he needs some protection,” he added.
Brentford were reduced to 10 men in the final minute of the game when substitute Romaine Sawyers earned a second caution in the space of five minutes.
Brentford: Bentley, Dalsgaard, Egan, Mepham, Clarke, Woods, Mokotjo (Judge 84), Jozefzoon, Macleod (Sawyers 75), Watkins (Canos 67), Maupay. Unused substitutes: Yennaris, Marcondes, Daniels, Barbet.
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Shotton, Ayala (Fry 60), Gibson, Friend, Howson (Leadbitter 65), Clayton, Besic (Assombalonga 75), Traore, Bamford, Downing. Unused substitutes: Konstantopoulos, Cranie, Harrison, Baker.
Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).
Brentford head coach Smith hailed the performance of Macleod, who scored his first goal for the club after three years of stop start injuries.
“He’s worked very hard with the fitness team, looks bigger and stronger and he deserved his start.”
But for the second game in a row Smith was critical of the officials, in particular referee Simon Hooper over his decision to dismiss Sawyers.
“The second (caution) was very harsh as he couldn’t get out of the way,” Smith said. “I could show you five clips of Boro players who didn’t get booked for doing exactly the same thing.
“He also doesn’t make the decision straight away, but sends him off after he’s been surrounded by Middlesbrough players.
“I thought the FA had issued an edict about that so it’s up to them to enforce it.
“It’s a shame we have to talk about that because I thought we were very good. It’s easy to forget after watching that performance that they were a Premier League team last season.”