Brentford came from behind to earn their first home point of the 2019/20 Sky Bet Championship season against Hull City. The Bees fell behind at the start of the second half but fought back and levelled inside the final 20 minutes. Ollie Watkins scored for the second successive week to earn his team a point, the least they deserved from the game.
It was an entertaining afternoon at Griffin Park with Hull showing ambition to win the game and attacking even when they had the lead. Both teams will feel they could have won the contest and there were chances at either end. Brentford had, perhaps, slightly the better of it but a draw was hard to argue with.
There was an even start to the contest on a warm summer afternoon in West London. Hull had an extra man in midfield and started with their attacking players high up the pitch when not in possession. This meant Brentford were unable to build any attacking momentum in the early stages. There were some openings, one in particular when Watkins and Sergi Canós nearly released Bryan Mbeumo in in the inside left channel could have come to more.
Henrik Dalsgaard had a shot blocked and when he got forward on the right Brentford looked dangerous. One low cross was collected by goalkeeper George Long with Watkins waiting and another ball looked set to put Mbeumo in on goal before a defender intervened. But the high-energy display from the visitors meant they had the better of the first half hour, using their possession in a more efficient and incisive way.
It took a good interception from Pontus Jansson to stop Tom Eaves reaching a Stephen Kingsley cross from the left and Julian Jeanvier then beat George Honeyman to the loose ball. Kamil Grosicki curled a free kick in to the side netting and Jarrod Bowen wasted a good chance when he got on to a ricochet but pulled a shot wide from 20 yards. Jordy de Wijs headed a free kick wide when well placed and a shot from Kevin Stewart was tipped over by David Raya as Hull tried to make the most of their attacking play. Jeanvier then made another good block when Grosicki found space on the edge of the penalty area.
As the half wore on, Brentford found ways to play through midfield and get their attacking players more involved in the final third, especially out wide. Rico Henry and Dalsgaard got forward more often and linked with Mbeumo and Canós. That gave Hull space to exploit going the other way and it was an entertaining contest in the summer sun, albeit Brentford failed to make the most of some of their openings due to a poor touch or final pass.
Long saved a bouncing Canós shot after good work from the increasingly influential Mathias Jensen. Hull then broke and when Bowen got away from Luka Racic, he should probably have done better than shoot straight at Raya. Brentford countered that attack and a clever pass from Jensen put Dalsgaard in to space on the right, he delivered a fine cross that Mbeumo met at the near post but was unable to divert in.
Raya got a hand on a deep cross to prevent Eaves heading in as half time approached and the follow-up shot from Eric Lichaj was blocked. Raya then saved at the feet of Eaves in the dying seconds of a first period that promised goals but failed to deliver any. Hull would probably have been happier at the break, given they had created more, but were forced in to a change as captain Eric Lichaj had to be withdrawn and was replaced at right back by Leonardo da Silva Lopes.
The first touch from the new man should have led to the opening goal. He sliced a clearance and Jeanvier found Dalsgaard with a first-time pass, Watkins dummied the ball inside and then got it back from Mbeumo but pulled a shot wide from 15 yards with most of the goal to aim at and Canós waiting for a cut back. A cross from Canós soon after, following a quickly taken short corner, could have led to a goal for the arriving Dalsgaard but Mbeumo also jumped for it and there was no power on the effort.
And those proved to be crucial moments as Hull went ahead minutes later. A corner was half cleared and fell to Stewart, his shot was bravely blocked by Christina Nørgaard, but Lopes reacted as Brentford regrouped and his pass put Bowen in on goal in the inside right channel and he smashed it past Raya. It was a superb finish from the Hull man as Brentford lost their defensive shape after the corner.
And it could have got worse for The Bees as Hull went for the jugular after the goal. Bowen looked set to add to his tally when he got away from Jansson and weaved in to the box but his shot was blocked by Racic and the follow-up from Stewart hit Nørgaard. Bowen was in the action again soon after with a run through midfield, the shot from Grosicki was blocked by Dalsgaard and a fierce effort from Eaves was kept out by Raya.
It took The Bees a few minutes to regroup – and Bowen had another chance later on when he lashed over from distance – but once they did, they set about finding a way back in to the game. With Hull sensing a second goal may kill the game, and was a real possibility, there were gaps for The Bees and chances came. Mbeumo had a great chance to equalise when Watkins battled for possession in midfield and he had space 18 yards out, but he curled the shot over the bar. Canós then shot wide before getting on the end of a move that involved Jensen, Mbeumo and Watkins and seeing an effort deflect inches wide.
With 20 minutes to go, Brentford changed it up and immediately got their equaliser. Saïd Benrahma and Josh Dasilva were introduced with Canós shifting to right wing back and it was from that position the equaliser came. Jensen played a pass to the right and Canós created the space to cross low, Watkins got there ahead of Long and the ball bounced in off the far post.
That left 18 minutes for either team to find a winner and Brentford went looking for it immediately. Another great cross from the right by Canós was met on the volley by Watkins and Long saved superbly to his right. Jensen had a shot blocked before a great run by Canós enabled him to slip a pass in to Benrahma, the attacker seemed set to score but a combination of Long and his defenders stopped the shot coming in and the ball would not fall for the arriving Marcus Forss.
Forss had a low shot saved soon after and Brentford should have grabbed the winner from the resulting corner. The first ball was half cleared but space was created for Dasilva to deliver and his superb cross was met ten yards out by Jeanvier, but he headed it wide with the goal at his mercy. And that was as close as Brentford came to winning it.
The Bees did have late chances when Watkins had a shot blocked and a cross from the right from Canós cannoned away for a corner with the Brentford players appealing for handball. And The Bees did almost lose it. Grosicki saw a shot deflected in to the arms of Raya and then hit the outside of a post with a curling free kick from 25 yards. Dalsgaard blocked a Jackson Irvine show and Stewart fired well over from the edge of the penalty area as both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Brentford: Raya; Jeanvier, Jansson, Racic (sub Benrahma 70 mins); Dalsgaard, Jensen, Nørgaard (sub Dasilva 70 mins), Henry; Canós, Watkins, Mbeumo (sub Forss 82 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Mokotjo, Thompson, Marcondes
Bookings: Jeanvier (84 mins)
Hull City: Long; Lichaj (sub Lopes h/t), de Wijs, Burke, Kingsley; Honeyman (sub Batty 69 mins), Stewart, Irvine; Bowen, Eaves (sub Magennis 73 mins), Grosicki
Subs (not used): Ingram, Tafazoli, Toral, Bowler
Bookings: Burke (64 mins)
Attendance: 11,000 (995 away fans)