Brentford’s four-match unbeaten run was ended by Huddersfield Town as the Yorkshire side won at Griffin Park. A single goal was enough to give the promotion-chasers the points in West London in a game of few chances. The winner was officially credited to Rajiv van La Parra but may go down as an own goal due to the slightly strange way it ended up in the net. Brentford had chances to level but could not do so and that goal proved sufficient for the visitors.
It was three points they probably deserved on the balance of the 90 minutes. It was not a game high on quality in terms of attacking football and chances and Huddersfield had the better of those that were created. They also defended superbly and largely cut Brentford’s attacking players out of the game. The chances that were created by The Bees were not taken and that meant they could not find a way back in to it.
Both teams clearly came in to the game with their minds on attacking. Huddersfield needed the points to close the gap on the top two in the division and had an offensive mindset while The Bees were looking to build on three wins in four matches, scoring ten goals in the process. Brentford could have been ahead inside four minutes when Jota intercepted a poor pass from Philip Billing and let fly from 20 yards but Huddersfield goalkeeper Danny Ward saved well to his left.
Jota had another shot blocked following a short corner soon after before Harlee Dean and Romaine Sawyers combined to free Lasse Vibe in the inside left channel but his shot deflected over the crossbar. The best chance of an even first quarter fell to the visitors. Tommy Smith delivered a cross from the right that Jack Payne got a toe to and Daniel Bentley had to be down smartly to his right to save at full stretch.
Huddersfield’s move for that chance epitomised their start to the game. They looked to overload on the right, using Smith to double up with Elias Kachunga on Rico Henry while Florian Jozefzoon tried to offer support. While there were good chances in the first quarter, the game itself was not of the highest quality. The teams looked evenly matched both in terms of shape and quality and a midfield battle was the result. Both tried to use their wide players, supplemented by their full backs, to create openings but passes went astray as pressure was applied and neither side got in to a good rhythm.
It was Huddersfield who established their pattern of play quickest. They started to press high up the pitch, forcing Brentford to play through, dangerously, or over and looked to win the second balls and then play high up the pitch, using Smith where possible. It was when van La Parra pressed and won himself a free kick on the left that Huddersfield got themselves ahead. The free kick was taken quickly and van La Parra isolated himself on Jota, he cut inside, a bit too easily, and let fly with a shot that flicked off the head of Dean and past Bentley.
The goal was initially credited to van La Parra but may end up as a Dean own goal and was fortuitous for the visitors as Bentley was well-positioned to hold the shot. It was, however, coming as they forced Brentford in to errors and started to take control of the game. They could have been further ahead at half time as Nahki Wells twice went close. The Huddersfield striker turned a cross against the post after Smith had got himself to the by-line on the right. And soon after, when Kachunga had seen a shot blocked after twisting and turning in the box, Wells smashed a shot just over the crossbar.
Brentford also had chances to level before the break, mainly due to the work of Henry on the left. He almost created a goal for Jozefzoon with a superb run and cross but Chris Löwe headed it away inside his six-yard box with the Brentford winger waiting to nod in. Soon after Henry worked his way past Kachunga and let fly from 16 yards with a shot that fizzed inches past the far post. But Huddersfield probably deserved their lead at the break and Brentford needed to change the momentum of the game.
They did not do it immediately at the start of the second half and would have been two down but for a great tackle by Dean. Kachunga got away on the right and cut back for Wells but Dean’s tackle prevented the Huddersfield striker slotting in from four yards. Kachunga then headed the resulting corner wide and Billing missed the target with a header from a set piece soon after.
But Brentford did go up a gear early in the second period and had a couple of great chances to level. Henry led a break on the left and Jozefzoon crossed for Vibe but the striker smashed over from 12 yards with the whole goal to aim at. He came closer soon after when Nico Yennaris robbed Jonathan Hogg but the deflected effort from Vibe hit the crossbar and bounced over. Jota had a shot blocked following a shot corner and then another effort hit a defender soon after while John Egan had the ball in the net but saw it ruled out for an infringement that few people saw.
But that spell did not produce a goal and Huddersfield introduced Aaron Mooy as they tried to change the game back their way. He made a big difference in midfield, preventing Brentford getting on the front foot in that area. With the visitors now sitting a little deeper Brentford had to try and break them down and despite Sergi Canós and Philipp Hofmann coming on, there were few chances for The Bees.
Huddersfield could have sealed it when, after nice interplay on the edge of the box, Wells delivered a cross that hit Dean, hit the post and bounced away to safety. When Wells got away from Dean, by delivering a rather robust shoulder charge deemed fair by the inconsistent referee Oliver Langford, Egan diverted his shot past the post. Wells then headed wide and an Isaiah Brown shot deflected away as Huddersfield looked for the killer goal.
At the other end Brentford continued to press. They threw bodies forward and looked as if they had won a penalty when Canós went down but the appeals were waved away by Mr Langford, increasing the ire around the ground. Konstantin Kerschbaumer had a shot blocked late on as Brentford poured forward but the goal wouldn’t come and Huddersfield took the points.
Brentford: Bentley; Colin, Dean, Egan, Henry; Woods; Jota, Yennaris (sub Hofmann 81 mins), Sawyers (sub Kerschbaumer 73 mins), Jozefzoon (sub Canós 68 mins); Vibe
Subs (not used): Bonham, Barbet, Clarke, Field
Bookings: Dean (38 mins) (11th of season)
Huddersfield Town: Ward; Smith, Schindler, Hefele, Löwe; Hogg, Billing (sub Mooy 57 mins); Kachunga, Payne (sub Brown h/t), van La Parra (sub Cranie 86 mins); Wells
Subs (not used): Coleman, Hudson, Lolley, Quaner
Attendance: 11,278 (1,596 away fans)