The midfielder rose highest at the far post to power Ben Pringle's whipped free-kick past a static Bees defence with 14 minutes gone.
Clayton Donaldson came close to levelling midway through the first half, but his chipped effort after a slide-rule through ball from Adam Forshaw was blocked by goalkeeper Scott Shearer.
Forshaw came close just before the break but his rising drive cleared the crossbar.
The visitors collected five yellow cards protecting their lead, two for diving and one for time wasting as the home crowd grew increasingly frustrated by the tactics.
But it worked, and in the second half Steve Evans' side looked dangerous on the break as Brentford's build-up play lacked any real invention.
Alex Revell fired wide after capitalising on a defensive mix up and Pringle drilled a low shot just wide of the far post.
Brentford's only real effort of note after the break came in injury time, but substitute George Saville's piledriver was tipped wide by Shearer.