Brentford and Aston Villa played out a pulsating 3-3 draw on Saturday afternoon at Villa Park.

The Bees trailed by two goals shortly after half-time but produced a stunning nine-minute turnaround to flip the game on its head and take a 3-2 lead before Ollie Watkins’ second of the game meant the spoils were shared.

Goals from Zanka, Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa had cancelled out Watkins’ first-half header and Morgan Rogers’ strike one minute after the restart, but it was the former who headed home another as the sides had to settle for a point apiece in the Midlands.

Watkins header separates the sides at the interval

Thomas Frank made three changes to the team that drew 0-0 with Brighton in midweek.

The headline of the trio of alterations was handing Bryan Mbeumo a first start since early December, while Sergio Reguilón and Mikel Damsgaard also came into the side.

It meant Keane Lewis-Potter, Yehor Yarmoliuk and Ivan Toney all dropped to the bench having all started the previous two matches in the last week.

The hosts made six changes to their side which lost 4-1 to Manchester City on Wednesday evening as former Bees’ frontman Ollie Watkins returned to lead the home attack at Villa Park.

Brentford went on the offensive inside the opening minute and created the first big chance of the afternoon.

Intricate play saw Damsgaard feed the ball into Wissa before the move shifted to Reguilón who fired wide.

In the sixth minute, it was Mbeumo who was next to try his luck, but his free-kick up and over the wall from the edge of the area found only the side netting.

Jensen was looking typically calm and composed in midfield, with Villa not threatening Flekken inside the opening 20 minutes - the Dutchman easily gathering a selection of crosses and free-kicks.

The impressive Damsgaard played a diagonal ball into Mbeumo soon after and a brilliant first touch to bring it down and find strike partner Wissa followed, but Diego Carlos got back well to deny the Bees.

Ajer twice did well to clear from inside the area as the game began to open up, while Mbeumo countered at the other end but couldn’t find Damsgaard on the left side on the break.

Villa probed thereafter and it was Ajer leading the defensive effort as he threw himself at Rogers’ effort from the edge of the area, but Villa would open the scoring moments later.

John McGinn’s cross from the was right met by former Bee Watkins who headed past Flekken and, despite the keeper’s best efforts to keep the ball out of the net, the home side took the lead six minutes before the break.

Zanka, Mbeumo and Wissa on target as Bees score three goals in nine minutes

Villa started the second half on the front foot and doubled their lead soon after the restart as Youri Tielemans’ pass found Rogers in space on the edge of the area.

The winter transfer window arrival’s first touch took him into a shooting position and his second saw him make no mistake as he fired into the bottom corner to put daylight between the hosts and the Bees.

But Brentford responded well and halved the deficit just before the hour mark.

Wissa and Reguilón were looking dangerous on the left flank and the Bees’ opening goal was to come from their endeavours.

The latter’s cross was well kept alive by Damsgaard and he turned it back into the area for Zanka to apply an unorthodox finish with his standing leg.

The Bees had the momentum and would draw level in a sensational two-minute spell.

Another fantastic move down the left culminated in Mbeumo meeting Reguilón’s cross in mid-air to volley Brentford back on level terms in some style.

More drama was soon to follow in a breathtaking encounter as the Bees took the lead on 68 minutes.

With the bit between their teeth, a quick Brentford free-kick found its way to Jensen.

The Danish midfielder then floated an inch-perfect ball to Reguilón, who in turn put it on a plate for Wissa to finish calmly and spark wild scenes of jubilation in the away end and cap an astonishing nine minutes for Frank’s side.

But the pendulum would swing again with nine minutes of normal time to go.

Leon Bailey got to the byline and hung a cross up for Watkins to nod home his second and Villa’s third of the afternoon.

The home side were back in the ascendency and Lucas Digne’s acrobatic effort from inside the area flew over Flekken’s crossbar in front of the Holte End.

Both sides did their best to find a winner, but Michael Salisbury brought seven added minutes and a thrilling game to a close in the west Midlands.

Aston Villa: Martínez; Konsa, Diego Carlos, Pau, Digne (Àlex Moreno 90); Douglas Luiz, Tielemans (Diaby 90); McGinn; Bailey (Duran 90), Rogers (Zaniolo 69), Watkins

Subs not used: Olsen, Chambers, Kesler-Hayden, Iroegbunam, Kellyman

Brentford: Flekken; Roerslev, Ajer, Zanka, Collins, Reguilón (Lewis-Potter 76); Janelt, Damsgaard (Yarmoliuk 81), Jensen (Onyeka 85); Wissa (Toney 81), Mbeumo (Maupay 85)

Subs not used: Strakosha, Ghoddos, Baptiste, Ji-soo

Frank: It was a fine point

Brentford head coach Thomas Frank praised his players for their mentality to come back from 2-0 down to avoid defeat against Aston Villa.

"It was an average first half. In my opinion, I felt that we defended very well - apart from one situation, which is irritating me," he said.

“It was an average second half. We conceded after a minute, which is also irritating.

“But, after that, all credit to the players: the mentality, character, determination, everything to turn this around.

“Not many teams would be able to do that here at Villa Park against this Aston Villa team that are in form, fantastic at home. That was very impressive.

“Overall, it was a fine point, but we still had the opportunity to win it. The players are doing everything they can, but I would have really liked three points.” 

Mbeumo: The togetherness we have is big

Bryan Mbeumo hailed Brentford’s togetherness following the Bees’ thrilling 3-3 draw with Aston Villa.

“We didn’t play great in the first half and the start of the second, but everybody showed great character to come back,” he said.

“We have some points we need to work on. We know it’s a really tough place to play, they have a good team with good players, but the togetherness we have in the team is big.”

Mbeumo marked his first start since 6 December by scoring the second of Brentford’s three goals.

“It was just instinct,” he revealed. “I saw [Reguilón] on the side and I tried to position myself as best as possible in the box to score. He’s a player with a lot of quality and experience.”