Bryan Mbeumo scored a stoppage time penalty as Brentford completed a comeback win over Watford. The Bees fell behind in the first half against the run of play and trailed with 84 minutes on the clock. But Pontus Jansson headed home an equaliser and Mbeumo scored from the spot to give The Bees a 2-1 win.
It was a victory that looked as if it may not come, but which was very much deserved. Watford’s goal came from a very rare attack, and they failed to trouble Brentford’s back line for most of the game. Brentford had chances before falling behind and then put Watford under pressure at the end of the game. They equalised when Jansson nodded in from close range and then won it when Saman Ghoddos was felled in the penalty area and Mbeumo did what was required from 12 yards.
Brentford started the game brightly. They had control in the early stages with a mixture of patient possession in their own territory and bright attacking moves in Watford’s half. The Bees had the better of the early chances and Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann was the game’s most important player in the first quarter.
Bachmann was forced in to action inside the first three minutes. A cross from the right dropped loose and Shandon Baptiste swivelled to volley from the edge of the area. Bachmann had to stretch to tip it over the crossbar. He then got down well to hold on to a Rico Henry cross from the left with Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa waiting to tap in.
Jansson headed a Charlie Goode long throw wide before space was worked for Henry to shoot from 20 yards, but his effort was blocked. Bachmann’s best save, to that point, came midway through the first half. Goode won possession in his own half and Baptiste curled a ball in to Watford territory. Mbeumo tricked his way in to a few yards of space and bent a shot from 20 yards that seemed to have Bachmann beaten, but the goalkeeper went full stretch to his right and tipped it around the post.
The importance of that save was shown a few moments later when Watford took the lead. The visitors had shown little attacking instinct in the first quarter of the match. They mostly sat off without the ball, inviting Brentford to try and play through them and protecting their penalty area.
Watford had not been able to counter-attack until Joshua King was released in the inside left channel. He curled a shot from an improbable position that beat Álvaro Fernández low down but cannoned off the far post and was cleared for a corner. That ball was delivered by Tom Cleverley and Emmanuel Dennis rose to head in. The Watford striker rose in the middle of the penalty area and his header gave Fernández no chance.
That goal came very much against the run of play and Brentford had to try and respond. Christian Nørgaard turned a Goode throw wide and Mbeumo fired over when a free kick was half cleared. Goode headed a Vitaly Janelt corner on to the roof of the net and it took a fine tackle from Kiko Femenía to deny Wissa. Nørgaard drilled a ball through, Mbeumo found space and it looked like Wissa was in to shoot from close range before Femenía got across to make a tackle.
Dennis headed wide at the other end, but Brentford went in at the break unfortunate to be behind. Watford started the second half with an intent to slow the game down. Brentford had a lot of the ball in the opening stages of the second period, but mostly played in front of the visitors, looking to find a way through.
As the half wore on, Brentford began to wear Watford down, pulling them across the pitch and finding passes through. Mads Roerslev found space on the right from a fine Mathias Jensen pass to deliver a cross, Mbeumo couldn’t reach it and the shot from Henry was blocked. Nørgaard had an effort blocked from a Goode cross and a Wissa shot hit a defender after good work from Baptiste.
Nørgaard was starting to dictate the pace of the game. He had found Cleverley in close proximity for the first hour but was released when the Watford man was withdrawn and took control of the centre of the pitch. He almost set up an equaliser for Jansson with a ball cut across the penalty area. Watford failed to clear, Janelt cut inside, and his fierce drive was tipped away by Bachmann.
Watford were content to sit in and look to play out a 1-0 win, only counter-attacking when there was lots of space. Cucho Hernández curled a free kick over the crossbar before Dennis set up a break on the left. King found space inside the area, but his low shot was well held low down by Fernández.
A two-goal deficit at that point would have made life tricky for Brentford, but with only one goal in it, The Bees continued to push on. Ghoddos and Marcus Forss were introduced, and Frank Onyeka followed. With Henry withdrawn Ghoddos was shifted to a left wing back position, and he linked with Janelt and Baptise on that side. A cross from Janelt found Onyeka, but his shot deflected wide.
That did, however, lead to the corner that saw Brentford equalise. Watford dealt with the first ball, but space was worked for Janelt again. He crossed from the right, Forss nodded it on and Jansson arrived to head down and in from close range. Video Assistant Referee Jared Gillett had to check Jansson was not offside, and the goal was given after a couple of nervy minutes for The Bees.
That equaliser gave Brentford ten minutes, including stoppage time, to find a winner, and they were the only team looking for it. A Janelt shot deflected wide, and the resulting corner bounced around the penalty area before being cleared off the line. And in stoppage time, Brentford found a way through.
Onyeka and Janelt linked on the left and Nørgaard found space just outside the penalty area. His pass carved Watford open and Ghoddos was free in the box. Troost-Ekong desperately lunged for the ball and caught Ghoddos, giving Referee Michael Oliver little option but to point to the penalty spot. With regular penalty taker Ivan Toney missing the game, Mbeumo assumed the responsibility. He walked up, waited for Bachmann to commit himself and stroked the ball home to give The Bees the points.
Brentford: Fernández; Goode, Jansson, Janelt; Roerslev, Baptiste, Nørgaard, Jensen (sub Ghoddos 69 mins), Henry (sub Onyeka 76 mins); Mbeumo, Wissa (sub Forss 69 mins)
Subs (not used): Cox, Stevens, Bech, Thompson, Bidstrup, Young-Coombes
Bookings: Janelt (68 mins), Jansson (70 mins), Goode (81 mins), Onyeka (90 mins)
Watford: Bachmann; Femenía, Troost-Ekong, Cathcart, Ngakia; Kucka, Sissoko; Hernández (sub Sema 76 mins), Cleverley (sub Pedro 57 mins), King; Dennis (sub Tufan 90 mins)
Subs (not used): Elliot, Rose, Louza, Fletcher, Tufan, Kabasele, Angelini
Attendance: 16,861 (1,725 away fans)