Callum Wilson’s second-half penalty proved the difference as Brentford’s unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign was ended by Newcastle United at St James’ Park.
The striker converted from 12 yards following a coming together between Mark Flekken and Anthony Gordon for the only goal of the game.
The hosts also had a goal disallowed and another penalty decision overturned by VAR, but the Bees were by no means second best for the 90 minutes.
Thomas Frank’s side had a number of openings, the best of which fell to Aaron Hickey, Vitaly Janelt and Yoane Wissa, but could not make them count.
Pope denies Hickey as Brentford make a bright start at St James’ Park
Frank made one change to the side that drew to Bournemouth at Gtech Community Stadium a fortnight ago: Nathan Collins came in on the right of a back three, with Kevin Schade the man to drop out. Joining Schade on the bench was Neal Maupay, fresh from his arrival on deadline day.
Newcastle made four changes from their last outing: Sven Botman, Elliot Anderson, Sean Longstaff and Wilson replacing Matt Targett, Joelinton, Sandro Tonali and Alexander Isak.
Brentford started the game brightly and created a great opening inside the opening five minutes. Mathias Jensen’s cross was returned back to him on the right. Rather than deliver again, he found the underlapping run of Hickey with a deft pass but Nick Pope made himself big and beat away the full-back’s shot at his near post.
Pope was then alert to beat Bryan Mbeumo to Flekken’s long ball over the top before the Cameroonian striker’s cutback just evaded Janelt and Wissa in the middle.
The Bees’ early dominance was built on a ferocious press which repeatedly ended with a blue shirt getting back in possession inside the Newcastle half. When the Magpies tried to go longer in the early stages, Ethan Pinnock was there to mop everything up.
It took more than a quarter of an hour for the hosts to pose any threat to Flekken’s goal; the danger averted by a fine Collins tackle on Barnes just outside the box.
A deflected Jensen cross dipped just out of reach of an open Wissa at the back post but, as the half went on, Newcastle began to click into gear, finding a way to play through Brentford’s press in midfield.
Flekken somehow kept out Bruno Guimaraes’ close-range header with his legs and then made another vital interception to tip a low cross from the left away from the sliding Wilson.
The Magpies’ striker sent two headed efforts off target, in between which Wissa made a crucial block when Barnes connected sweetly with a long-range volley, as the hosts pushed before the break.
The closing stages of the half took a difficult turn for the Bees as Rico Henry went down awkwardly while competing for a loose ball and had to be replaced.
Mads Roerslev came on in his place, with Hickey switching over to the left.
Wilson converts from the spot to consign the Bees to a first defeat of the season
Brentford used the half-time break to regroup and came out strongly in the opening stages of the second period.
Janelt got onto a loose ball in midfield and played it over the top for Wissa to chase. The striker spun his man and drove to the edge of the box but saw his shot blocked and easily collected by Pope.
The first half hadn’t seen too many clear-cut chances but those created in the second half carried a lot more threat.
Gordon allowed a left-sided cross to skim off his head and wide from eight yards while similar happened at the other end when Janelt failed to make proper contact with Jensen’s teasing centre.
The home side thought they had the breakthrough after an hour when Wilson bundled home from close range, but the referee spotted an earlier infringement as he and Flekken challenged for a dropping ball.
The England forward didn’t have long to wait, however, to get the ball in the net again - and this one stood.
Gordon made the most of minimal contact from Flekken just outside the six-yard box and Craig Pawson eventually pointed to the spot. Wilson took responsibility and found the top-left corner from 12 yards.
Christian Norgaard and Barnes both lashed long-range efforts over the bar before Frank turned to his bench with 20 minutes to play, bringing on Schade, Frank Onyeka and the returning Maupay.
As part of those changes, Mbeumo moved to right wing-back and it looked for a moment like he had given the home side a second penalty as Schar’s knock-down inadvertently bounced off his hand in the area.
However, Craig Pawson was called over to the VAR monitor and, after reviewing his decision, ruled that it wasn’t handball and wiped away the penalty.
That reprieve breathed new life into the Bees’ search for a leveller. Schade had a cross-shot held by Pope, Wissa was unable to force home a low left-footed cross, and Burn made an excellent recovery challenge on Schade in the area as he looked to collect Maupay’s through ball.
Nine minutes of additional time was given, which played on the nerves of the home crowd, if not the players.
Apart from a Jensen free-kick which Wissa flicked wide at the back post, the ball spent almost the entirety of injury-time in Brentford’s right-back position as the Bees were beaten in the league for the first time in eight games, stretching back to early May.
Brentford: Flekken; Collins, Pinnock, Mee (Maupay 72); Hickey (Lewis-Potter 82), Norgaard (Onyeka 72), Jensen, Janelt (Schade 72), Henry (Roerslev 42); Mbeumo, Wissa
Subs not used: Strakosha, Zanka, Ghoddos, Yarmoliuk
Newcastle United: Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman Burn; Bruno, Longstaff, Anderson; Gordon, Barnes (Almiron 83), Wilson
Subs not used: Dubravka, Lascelles, Tonali, Targett, Isak, Hall, Livramento, Murphy
Frank: Henry to be assessed
Thomas Frank issued an update on defender Rico Henry, after he limped off in the Bees' 1-0 defeat to Newcastle.
The left-back, who is a key part of the side's defensive and offensive play, was substituted in the 42nd minute after picking up a knee injury in the first half of the game at St James' Park.
And Frank stated that Henry will be assessed when the squad return to the Robert Rowan Performance Centre next week.
“We know it's a knee injury, but we don't know what the situation exactly is. We will assess him on Monday," said the Bees boss.
“Let's see on Monday before we make too many conclusions.”
Collins proud of performance
Nathan Collins believes that Brentford were unfortunate to come away from St James’ Park empty handed on Saturday.
Collins was presented with more freedom to progress the ball in a back three alongside Ethan Pinnock and Ben Mee. Only one Brentford player (Mathias Jensen, 71) had more touches of the ball than the Republic of Ireland international (59).
“They go full press on goal-kicks so it’s difficult,” he said.
“When it’s in the middle we have to open the game and open the play. We have to get involved and create chances – it’s part of the game. I thought we played nice football.
“On the ball, I have a bit more freedom [in a back three]; I can join in the attack a bit more, play a bit higher and suck in players a bit more.”