Pontus Jansson scored on his first start in six months as Brentford were denied all three points against Brighton and Hove Albion by Alexis Mac Allister’s last-minute penalty.
The clash between two sides chasing a place in Europe next season didn’t disappoint with Thomas Frank’s Bees taking the lead three times only to be pegged back on each occasion.
Jansson nodded home after 10 minutes; a goal which was cancelled out 11 minutes later by Kaoru Mitoma’s neat lob.
That kicked off a spell of three goals in seven minutes which saw Ivan Toney restore the Bees’ advantage before Danny Welbeck’s close-range leveller.
Ethan Pinnock put Brentford back ahead at the start of the second half; a lead which lasted until Mac Allister’s spot-kick in the final minute of normal time.
Jansson makes first start since October in a back three alongside Pinnock and Mee
Jansson was Brentford’s only change from the draw with Leicester a fortnight ago; Yoane Wissa was the man to drop out as the Bees reverted to a back three.
Brentford B winger Michael Olakigbe was also named in a matchday squad for the first time.
The hosts were unchanged from their last league outing against Crystal Palace.
Brentford: Raya; Hickey, Jansson, Pinnock, Mee, Henry; Norgaard, Jensen (Ghoddos 85), Damsgaard (Dasilva 73); Mbeumo (Wissa 79), Toney
Subs not used: Strakosha, Schade, Zanka, Roerslev, Stevens, Olakigbe
Brighton and Hove Albion: Steele; Veltman (Enciso 72), Colwill, Dunk, Estupinian (Buonanotte 83); Gross, Caicedo; March, Mac Allister, Mitoma; Welbeck (Undav 83)
Subs not used: Sanchez, Webster, Ayari, Gilmour, van Hecke, Moran
Brighton and Brentford share four goals during a pulsating first half
A slow opening few minutes in the Sussex sunshine gave little hint as to what was to follow.
Brighton settled into an early rhythm, keeping the ball well, and looking to get Solly March and Mitoma involved from wide areas.
The returning Jansson was stepping out of defence to shadow Argentina’s World Cup winner, Mac Allister, wherever he went.
That left space in the right centre-back position which Brighton tried to exploit.
A brilliant Pinnock challenge was the only thing that stopped Mitoma opening the scoring on six minutes - the Japanese winger racing down that channel and in on goal from Moises Caicedo’s through ball.
From the resulting corner, Mathias Jensen got his body in the way of March’s close-range effort.
Joel Veltman had Brighton’s next opening, again from a corner, before Brentford took the lead with their first real foray forward.
After sending everyone up for a long throw, Jensen went short before receiving the ball back to curl in a cross which begged to be attacked. Jansson did just that, getting the run on Dunk and planting past Steele from eight yards.
The goal didn’t deter Brighton; Pinnock made another block to turn Veltman’s low drive behind before the hosts levelled with as route-one a goal as you will see. Jason Steele collected a cross, spotted Mitoma free downfield, and instantly sent the ball his way. Raya retreated into his goal, allowing the Brighton winger to collect the bouncing ball unchallenged, and he lifted home from 20 yards.
But the Bees reacted brilliantly and were ahead less than 90 seconds later. The front two combined, with Bryan Mbeumo feeding Toney inside the box. The England striker took a touch before burying low shot past Steele and into the bottom corner.
That wasn’t the end of the scoring in a crazy seven-minute period as Brighton levelled for a second time on the afternoon. Brentford failed to clear their lines and March teased in a pinpoint cross to the back post that Welbeck guided home.
Both sides sensed that attack was the best form of defence and the chances continued to come.
Mbeumo sent an overhead kick skipping wide of the post before Welbeck inadvertently blocked a goal-bound effort inside the six-yard box following Mitoma’s driving run down the left.
Raya made saves from Dunk and Mac Allister, the second at full stretch, either side of a Welbeck shot blocked by Ben Mee, before Levi Colwill planted over the bar from seven yards.
Solly March had the half’s final chance; his low shot through bodies was dropped on by Raya.
Mac Allister’s late penalty earns the Seagulls a share of the spoils
Having ended the first half on the back foot, Thomas Frank would have wanted a fast start to the second period and that’s exactly what he got.
Toney won a free-kick midway inside the Brighton half, Mbeumo floated it to the back post and Pinnock was given the freedom of the south coast to steer home.
Brentford had something to hold onto and they were made to hold onto it through wave upon wave of Brighton pressure.
March had a low shot saved by Raya before the Bees stopper tipped over Moises Caicedo’s powerful drive.
Toney could have opened up a two-goal cushion when he was gifted the ball inside the Brighton area but his shot lacked the power to beat Steele from 12 yards.
From then on, however, the chances all came at the Brentford end. Raya plunged low to paw away March’s shot, with Jansson getting there first to clear in front of Mitoma.
Veltman, Mac Allister and Pascal Gross also tested the Spanish keeper with regulation efforts.
Raya was troubled more seriously by a looping, deflected effort which he had to turn behind at his near post. From the resulting corner, Pervis Estupinian delivered in a subime cross which Lewis Dunk sent flying over the bar from eight yards.
Estupinian then had a shot deflected behind by Jansson.
Julio Enciso drove wide on the angle, and Mac Allister flashed off target, as time started to run out for the home side.
When March flicked an effort wide at the back post inside the final few minutes, Brentford could see the finish line.
However, an afternoon of high drama would have one more final twist.
Aaron Hickey threw himself in the way of substitute Denis Undav’s shot inside the six-yard box, deflecting the ball over the bar. Initially, Michael Oliver pointed for a corner with Brighton players pleading for a penalty for handball. Eventually, Oliver was called over to the VAR monitor and awarded the penalty which Mac Allister converted coolly.
The spot-kick was scored as the game went into six added minutes.
There was still time for Caicedo to have a shot blocked by Pinnock and for another handball shout against Hickey in the box, this time waved away, before Oliver brought the curtain down on a pulsating clash at the Amex Community Stadium.
Frank: Scoring three goals is fantastic
Thomas Frank believes that Brentford earned a ‘good point’ against Brighton and Hove Albion, despite conceding a late equaliser at the Amex Community Stadium.
Jansson: Brighton draw like a boxing match
Brentford captain Pontus Jansson said he was 'very happy and very proud' to lead the Bees out for the first time in six months.