Yoane Wissa netted an 88th-minute goal as Brentford grabbed a late equaliser for the second time in four days.
On Saturday it was substitute Vitaly Janelt who denied Everton and tonight it was Wissa’s turn to score off the bench, this time Crystal Palace the side left cursing at full-time.
A game high on endeavour and entertainment, but low on chances, looked like it was going to be settled by a piece of Wilfried Zaha brilliance on the hour. However, Wissa beat the offside trap with two minutes to play, meeting Janelt’s cross with a firm header, to extend our run to just one defeat in five to begin the campaign.
Thomas Frank was dealt a blow before the match with Christian Nørgaard joining Pontus Jansson, Ethan Pinnock, Kristoffer Ajer and Sergi Canós on the absentee list. Palace, by contrast, were able to welcome top scorer Zaha back in place of Odsonne Édouard. Michael Olise and Jean-Philippe Mateta also replaced Tyrick Mitchell and Jordan Ayew following the Eagles weekend defeat to Manchester City.
Brentford settled well into the game, seeing plenty of possession in the early stages without creating the chances to go with it. Indeed, it took until the quarter hour mark for either side to register anything resembling an effort on target, Ebere Eze cutting across his shot from 25 yards and sending it swerving wide of David Raya’s left-hand post.
As the half went on the game began to open up. Zaha and Michael Olise kept their width at all times but were well marshalled by the Brentford full-back duo of Rico Henry and Aaron Hickey. The positions they took up were stretching play, meaning there was plenty of space in central areas for both sides.
Mbeumo used that to his advantage by skipping past a couple of challenges in the midfield before finding Andersen barring his route to goal. Former Bee Jeffrey Schlupp picked up the loose ball and took a direct route of his own, running from the edge of one box to the other only to shoot tamely into the arms of Raya.
Captain for the night, Ivan Toney, provided the focal point for the attack and from his cute header, Brentford carved out their first opening. Toney knocked a long ball down perfectly for the on-rushing Henry, he in turn found Keane Lewis-Potter but Marc Guéhi stood his ground on the edge of the box to block the shot.
Toney was heavily involved in the Bees next attack, finding Mbeumo with a cross-field pass. The attacker used Hickey as his decoy and played in Shandon Baptiste on the penalty spot. However, Shandon couldn’t quite collect the ball on the run, allowing Palace to clear.
Olise fired a tame effort at Raya and Mateta headed off target, either side of a Zanka header over the bar, as both sides traded half-chances.
Heading into the final ten minutes of the half, the open nature of the game began to suit the hosts better. Zaha finally got away from the attentions of Hickey in the box only for the defender to recover and make a crucial block inside the six-yard box.
It was then Zanka’s turn to make a crucial defensive intervention when Mateta received the ball just inside the box. Sensing the danger, Zanka closed the gap between the two as Mateta turned and then threw himself in the way of the shot. The half ended with one more important intervention from Hickey inside the six-yard box, Zaha again the man denied by the Scottish defender.
The break did little to interrupt the flow of the game with both sides finding openings when the game restarted. Mathias Jensen was involved in both early chances, which came at either end of the pitch. First, his low cross in was cleared away in front of Mbeumo and then he was played into trouble by Janelt, Schlupp picking his pocket and curling a shot straight at Raya from the edge of the box.
Olise saw a low shot skip up off the turf and clip the outside of the post before Toney had Brentford’s best chance of the opening 55 minutes. Having beaten the offside trap, he got onto the end of Jensen’s dinked free kick eight yards out but, as the ball dropped over his shoulder, made poor contact with the ball and it spun behind.
You sensed it would take something special to open the scoring and that’s exactly what Zaha provided on the hour. There didn’t look much danger when he picked the ball up out on the left, but he cut inside Hickey before arcing an unstoppable shot across Raya and into the top corner.
Frank reacted quickly, bringing on Mikkel Damsgaard, Josh Dasilva, and Frank Onyeka. Palace responded with defensive changes of their own, allowing Brentford to gain the upper hand in terms of territory and possession.
However, aside from Dasilva’s curling effort and a hooked Mee effort following Toney’s blocked header, Brentford were kept well at bay by a disciplined Palace backline. With 12 minutes to play, Jensen and Hickey were withdrawn for Wissa and Saman Ghoddos.
The extra attacking threat only served to push Palace deeper towards their own goal, but it took until two minutes from time for that pressure to pay off. Janelt exchanged passes with Henry down the left and clipped a delightful ball into the back post. Wissa peeled away from his marker, timed his run to perfection, and met the ball with a powerful header across Guaita and in.
As Wissa’s on fire rang out from the away end, VAR threatened to pour cold water on the celebrations but after a lengthy check the goal stood.
It could have got even better for Brentford. Three minutes into five minutes injury-time, Zanka won a crucial challenge on Zaha inside the area and The Bees broke. After a lightning counter, Henry found himself through one-on-one but the legs of Guaita denied him at close range. From the resulting corner, Mee stooped and got good contact on the ball. His header bounced up off the turf and floated towards the top corner only for the bar to deny the away side a dramatic winner.
Brentford: Raya; Hickey (booked 71) (Ghoddos 78), Zanka, Mee, Henry; Janelt, Jensen (Wissa 78), Baptiste (Onyeka 67); Mbeumo (Dasilva 67), Lewis-Potter (Damsgaard 67), Toney (c) (booked 83)
Subs not used: Strakosha, Bech, Roerslev, Stevens
Crystal Palace: Guaita; Clyne, Guéhi, Andersen, Ward (c); Doucouré (booked 90+5), Schlupp (Milivojević 76); Olise (Mitchell 80), Eze (Ayew 76), Zaha; Mateta (Édouard 54)
Subs not used: Johnstone, Ebiowei, Richards, Phillips, Rodney