A Tariqe Fosu goal was not enough to give Brentford three points in a top-of-the-table clash against Swansea City. Fosu came off the bench to head Brentford in front inside the last 20 minutes but they could not get over the line. The home side, who were down to ten men, scored a disputed equaliser three minutes later and got themselves a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw.
The hosts will be the happier with their point from an entertaining game on a wet night in South Wales. Brentford dominated from almost first minute to last and created all the chances. Swansea were forced on the defensive and eventually their foul play resulted in a red card. Brentford pushed on and got ahead but were then pegged back and had to settle for a point.
The first quarter of the contest was mostly played in the centre of the pitch. Brentford had more of the ball than their hosts and dictated the shape and pace of the game, without creating any openings. The Bees had the better of the midfield battle with Vitaly Janelt seeing a lot of the ball and allowing Mathias Jensen and Josh Dasilva to roam in front of him and join in the attack.
Swansea have conceded the fewest goals in the Championship and their organisation off the ball was evident as The Bees looked to create chances. Swansea’s midfield were being pulled across the pitch as Brentford dominated possession and as the half wore on, the visitors started to find gaps. An outrageous pass from Ethan Pinnock released Rico Henry in behind the home defence on the left, he took a touch and drilled in a shot that fizzed past Freddie Woodman but whistled just past the far post.
Jensen had a shot blocked soon after as The Bees started to create shooting chances and a Sergi Canós effort was deflected for a corner in the same move. When Canós wriggled free in midfield, Jensen released Henry on the left and his cross was headed over from ten yards by Bryan Mbeumo. Brentford were pressing and they then created a good opening when Canós was released on the left. His cross was deep, but Ivan Toney recovered it and played it back in to the middle where Mbeumo and Henrik Dalsgaard rose together to try and score. The header eventually came in from Mbeumo and was weak and easy for Woodman, but the Brentford players may have got in the way of each other.
Jensen blasted a free kick wide from distance and Canós fired over later in the half as Brentford continued to hold the upper hand without taking the lead. The first period was also notable for the number of free kicks given away by the hosts. They collected two cautions but it could have been worse for them as Jamal Lowe got away with late challenges on both David Raya and Pinnock. And Kyle Naughton was only shown a yellow card when he was losing a race with Toney for a long ball down the middle and hauled him down. Referee John Brooks decided that was only worthy of a yellow card despite Toney looking as if he would be in with only Woodman to beat had he not been pulled down, albeit he was just inside the Swansea half.
The home side were forced to try and play on the counter-attack and only got in to the Brentford penalty area from dead ball situations. They had a sight of goal when Connor Roberts got away on the right and cut the ball back to Conor Hourihane, but his shot was blocked. That was as much threat as Swansea posed in the first half as The Bees went in with the initiative, albeit not the lead.
Brentford continued to hold the upper hand after the break. Dalsgaard lashed over the bar after Dasilva had picked up a poor kick from Woodman and Pinnock headed a Jensen free kick back across looking for Toney, only for Naughton to make a vital interception. The resulting corner was played in by Mbeumo to Toney, but the header flew over the bar.
The second half was following the same pattern as the first, but Brentford were further up the pitch, creating better chances and forcing Swansea to defend deep. Janelt, Jensen and Dasilva were dominating the game while Henry and Dalsgaard pushed the home side deeper, ensuring they were defending as a five for long periods. The Bees created a great chance when Jensen exchanged passes with Canós and then found Dasilva inside the penalty area, he turned and fired in a fierce shot, but it was too close to Woodman and the home goalkeeper made a fine save.
The home side were defending well but they were making a lot of challenges and eventually there was one too many for Mr Brooks. Naughton went through Canós as Brentford tried to get an attack underway and the referee decided that was a second bookable offence for Naughton. He was sent off as The Bees would be up against ten men for the final 20 minutes or so.
The Bees were already in an attacking mindset and Swansea sat even deeper to protect what they had. Toney headed a Henry cross over the bar before a Jensen shot was punched away by Woodman. But The Bees recycled the ball. Henry’s cross was heavy, but Dalsgaard recovered it, he delivered the ball back in to the middle and Fosu rose to head it down, past Woodman and in to the net.
Brentford had been knocking at the door all evening and eventually found a way through. But before they could build on that, Swansea hit back. Lowe battled with Mads Bech Sørensen on the Swansea right and won a free kick that could have gone either way. Hourihane delivered it from the touchline, Jake Bidwell put his arm in to the face of Raya to stop him punching clear and the ball sailed in to the far corner. Brentford remonstrated with Mr Brooks, who may have been unsighted, but were waved away as Swansea celebrated their goal.
With something to hold on to again, Swansea retreated in to their penalty area and invited Brentford to break them down. A Dasilva shot deflected in to the arms of Woodman and he then blasted over from the edge of the penalty area. Janelt tested Woodman with a fierce shot and a follow-up from Marcus Forss was blocked. There was time in the dying seconds for Henry to have a shot blocked after Toney had nodded a Dalsgaard cross on but Swansea’s defensive resilience, even a man down, got them a point.
Swansea City: Woodman; Naughton, Cabango, Guehi; Grimes; Roberts, Fulton, Hourihane, Bidwell; Ayew, Lowe (sub Manning 90 mins)
Subs (not used): Hamer, Bennett, Morris, Dhanda, Latibeaudiere, Cooper, Williams, Garrick
Bookings: Hourihane (39 mins), Fulton (51 mins), Roberts (90 mins)
Sent Off: Naughton (69 mins) (second yellow card)
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Pinnock, Sørensen, Henry; Dasilva, Janelt (sub Ghoddos 86 mins), Jensen; Mbeumo (sub Fosu 56 mins), Toney, Canós (sub Forss 77 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Stevens, Roerslev, Gilbert, Haygarth, Žambůrek