Fulham might not have a new manager, but senior coach Stuart Gray – brought in to take charge of the first team at least temporarily after Peter Grant asked to be moved back to academy duties – would have been impressed with the desire shown by his side during an entertaining west London derby. Brentford, who came to Craven Cottage on a four-match unbeaten run away from home, would have fancied their chances of gaining another win over their local rivals and took an early lead after dominating the initial exchanges but the Whites stubbornly refused to roll over.

The Bees began the sharper, attacking a Fulham side that have looked defensively disorganised since Kit Symons’ departed last month. Nico Yennaris surged past several white shirts in a superb slalom run but the finish failed to match his powerful dribbling as the ex-Arsenal trainee sliced a shot wide of the target when well placed.

But the visitors did take the lead when left back Jake Bidwell was clumsily fouled in the area by Jazz Richards. Alan Judge calmly converted the penalty – and when the goal was followed by wave after wave of Brentford attacks, it felt like deja vu from the previous seasons where the Bees have enjoyed comfortable successes in SW6. Lasse Vibe might have increased their advantage with a clever curler from the edge of the area but Andy Lonergan was alert to the danger.

Fulham were not as fitful in attack as they had been in recent weeks under Gray and Ryan Fredericks was determined to take the game to Brentford. The former Tottenham full back, who has still yet to score for the Whites, was deployed as a right winger today and went close again with a drive that David Button couldn’t hold but the loose ball was scrambled away in the nick of time from just in front of the lurking Ross McCormack. That was the start of a prolonged period of pressure from the home side and they got their reward just before the break when a McCormack cross was headed past his own goalkeeper by a desperate James Tarkowksi.

Brentford came out on the foot front after the break with both Konstantin Kerschbaumer and Ryan Woods drawing sharp saves from Woods. The former Bolton goalkeeper then did superbly to keep out a low drive from Vibe and, just afterwards, denied Judge from a tight angle. Fulham took full advantage to take the lead following fine link-up play between their strikers. McCormack rolled a ball between the Brentford centre halves and Moussa Dembele rolled a finish beyond Button before wheeling away to celebrate with a joyous Hammersmith End.

But the hosts’ lead lasted just five minutes. Fulham folded from a corner with Tarkowski climbing highest to help it on and Jack O’Connell powering in the equaliser from close range. It was a very soft goal to concede and Richard Stearman’s frustration was evident from the way the tall centre back shook the frame of the goal in fury immediately afterwards.

That set up an end-to-end finale with both sides going in search of a winner. Jota, a famous scorer of late goals against Fulham, had one disallowed for offside – whilst it was being vigorously celebrated by the away fans – but it was Gray’s outfit who created the clearest chances in the closing stages. McCormack saw a fierce free-kick fisted away by Button and Dembele, after a superb turn in the area, was only denied by a brilliant black from Bidwell.

FULHAM (4-4-2): Lonergan; Richards, Garbutt, Stearman, Ream; Parker (Kacaniklic 79), O’Hara, Fredericks (Woodrow 79), Cairney (Smith 87); McCormack, Demble. Subs (not used): Lewis, Burn, Hyndman.

BOOKED: Fredericks, Stearman.

GOALS: Tarkowski (o.g. 40), Dembele (64).

BRENTFORD (4-4-2): Button; Yennaris, Bidwell, Tarkowski, O’Connell; Woods, Diagouraga, Canos (Jota 66), Judge; Kerschbaumer (Swift 66), Vibe (Hofmann 87). (Subs not used): Bonham, Barbet, Saunders, McEachran.

BOOKED: O’Connell, Canos.

GOALS: Judge (pen 18), O’Connell (71).

REFEREE: David Coote (Nottinghamshire)