Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 1, Brentford 1.
West Brom boss Slaven Bilic described being top of the Championship at Christmas as "great, but a big obligation" after his side moved three points clear following a 1-1 draw with Brentford.
The Baggies stretched their unbeaten run to 13 games, but had to settle for a point at The Hawthorns after an enterprising first-half showing by the Bees.
The visitors were rewarded when Henrik Dalsgaard put them ahead with a glancing header from Mathias Jensen's corner, but full-back Darnell Furlong equalised in similar fashion in added time.
Albion's Jake Livermore and Kyle Edwards forced saves from David Raya after half-time, and 'super-sub' Charlie Austin had a goal ruled out for offside late on, but that was as close as they came to a winner.
Despite the result, Bilic's side moved further clear at the summit because of Leeds' defeat at Fulham, with the Bees dropping a place to fifth, also as a consequence of the result at Craven Cottage.
"We are top because we work hard every game," he told BBC WM. "There is still a long way to go. It's a marathon, but it's a great position to be in.
"If we do the same in the second half of the season, I don't see how we could not finish in the top two. It feels great [to be top of the league at Christmas] but it's a big obligation for us."
Grady Diangana was absent from Bilic's men because of injury, with the West Brom boss also revealing after the game that defender Ahmed Hegazi was left out because of an unspecified "training ground incident".
The Egyptian centre-back has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad.
On the pitch, it took the Baggies half an hour to muster an effort of note as Brentford - who have never won an away league game against them - produced some fine football, with Said Benrahma prominent.
Christian Norgaard was not far away with a curling effort before fellow Dane Dalsgaard scored his first goal for the club since November 2018, but a lapse in concentration allowed Furlong to make it 1-1.
Both sides pressed hard to win it but not even Austin, brought on after 70 minutes after scoring six goals in Albion's previous five games, could separate the two sides as his close-range finish was disallowed.
"It was a fair result. In the second-half we were the better side but they started better," Bilic continued. "We wanted to finish the move straight away but that's not always possible.
"At half-time we reshaped the defence a bit. It wasn't all us, but the only thing missing was a better quality finish at the end."
Brentford head coach Thomas Frank told BBC Radio London his side came to take on the league leaders looking to "go for the win".
"I am so proud of the boys, coming here with a big personality, wanting to dominate the game on our terms," added.
"That frustrated West Brom and I think for 43 minutes they didn't have a shot on target.
"Second half it was a little bit more open, but throughout the 90 minutes I think if there was a team who should have won, it would've been us."
- 5BartleySubstituted forO'Sheaat 49'minutes
- 36FergusonBooked at 76mins
- 8LivermoreBooked at 56mins
- 10PhillipsSubstituted forAustinat 72'minutes
- 12Costa Pereira
- 21EdwardsSubstituted forKrovinovicat 78'minutes
- 8JensenSubstituted forMokotjoat 71'minutes
- 14DasilvaSubstituted forZamburekat 90+2'minutes
- 19MbeumoBooked at 37minsSubstituted forValencia Castilloat 86'minutes
- 16Valencia Castillo
- 29Bech Sørensen
- Darren Bond
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 1, Brentford 1.
Substitution, Brentford. Jan Zamburek replaces Josh Dasilva.
Attempt missed. Christian Nørgaard (Brentford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Saïd Benrahma following a set piece situation.
Josh Dasilva (Brentford) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Romaine Sawyers (West Bromwich Albion).
Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Matheus Pereira tries a through ball, but Charlie Austin is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Filip Krovinovic.
Substitution, Brentford. César Joel Valencia Castillo replaces Bryan Mbeumo.
Offside, Brentford. David Raya Martin tries a through ball, but Ollie Watkins is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Josh Dasilva.
Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Filip Krovinovic replaces Kyle Edwards.
Nathan Ferguson (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Nathan Ferguson (West Bromwich Albion).
Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Darnell Furlong (West Bromwich Albion).
Attempt missed. Christian Nørgaard (Brentford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high following a corner.
Corner, Brentford. Conceded by Semi Ajayi.
Attempt blocked. Ollie Watkins (Brentford) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Josh Dasilva.