Brentford came from a goal down with 15 minutes remaining to beat Charlton Athletic at Griffin Park. The Bees fell behind as they conceded for the first time in a winning run that now extends to six games. That early goal looked as if it might give Charlton the points but Saïd Benrahma won and then scored a penalty before a goal that has been credited to Ethan Pinnock settled it in Brentford’s favour.
Brentford had to work hard to earn their sixth win on the bounce, and fifth since the resumption of football after the Covid-19 pandemic. Charlton defended superbly in the first half and Brentford had to make changes to open them up. Benrahma levelled with 15 minutes to go before a cross from the brilliant Josh Dasilva was headed home inside the final five minutes to settle the contest 2-1 in Brentford’s favour.
Charlton scored before any real pattern to the game had emerged. But it was a well-conceived and well-executed goal. Jonny Williams started the break on the left and Alfie Doughty arrived on the overlap, his cross was nodded back by Jake Forster-Caskey and Macauley Bonne got his head to the ball in front of David Raya to score.
That goal came inside the first eight minutes. The visitors had started with a relatively deep back five but with their attacking midfield players, and Bonne, high up the pitch. There were gaps for Brentford to play in if they could find a way through and space for Dasilva and Mathias Jensen to run in to in midfield. And soon after falling behind, Brentford started to pick their passes in attacking areas.
Mads Roerslev looked as if he had created a shooting chance for Benrahma but Sam Field got back to make a fine recovery tackle. Dillon Phillips then made a good save to tip a dipping header from Jensen over the crossbar. And when Jensen delivered the resulting corner, EPinnock headed back, and Charlton defenders were forced to clear deep inside their own six-yard box. Christian Nørgaard then drilled a shot just wide from 25 yards as Brentford pushed Charlton back.
The visitors had not offered much since the goal but looked to use space they could find on their left. When they won a corner on that side, Josh Cullen delivered an in-swinger that hit the crossbar. It then dropped loose and the shot from Jason Pearce flicked the crossbar again on its way over. Forster-Caskey also had a shot blocked as Charlton put together some attacking play of their own.
But as the first half wore on, Brentford were able to get Benrahma in to the game more and more. They used Rico Henry and Dasilva to support on the left side and created pockets of space. Benrahma teased a shot just past the far post after Dasilva created space with a run. When the same two players were involved soon after, Benrahma played a one-two with Dasilva and fired just over the bar.
Bryan Mbeumo and Dasilva had shots blocked as half time approached and although Charlton were being pushed back, they were defending their penalty area very well. They dealt with balls in to the penalty area, headed crosses away and blocked shots as they took a lead in to the half time interval without Brentford really looking like getting level before the break. And Charlton had the first chance of the second half as well, when Bonne stooped to meet an Adam Matthews cross and head wide.
But the start of the second half was mostly played in Charlton territory. Brentford upped the pace of the game after the interval, got more players in to space in attacking areas and picked their passes better. And they started to create some good openings.
Dasilva bent a shot narrowly over the bar after space was created by Roerslev and Benrahma then curled an effort in to the arms of Phillips. Jensen shot wide for The Bees before a double change with saw Henrik Dalsgaard and Emiliano Marcondes brought in to the game. Dalsgaard shot wide for Brentford after cutting in off the right and better chances were coming.
Phillips made a fine low save from Dasilva after he had burst from deep and exchanged passes with Ollie Watkins. The goalkeeper also managed to push it away from oncoming attackers. Phillips was a spectator moments later when Henry darted in to the penalty area on the left and picked out Benrahma in the penalty area. The shot fizzed past the goalkeeper but whistled over the crossbar.
Benrahma’s next involvement, turned out to be a vital one. Dalsgaard got free on the right and cut the ball back, Benrahma touched the ball past Cullen and referee John Brooks adjudged that as bodies came together, a foul had been committed. He pointed to the spot, Benrahma stepped up and scored low to Phillips’ right as the goalkeeper dived left.
Raya was immediately forced in to a save from a Deji Oshilaja header as Charlton pushed on, but Brentford had the momentum. They introduced Halil Dervişoğlu, shifted Benrahma in to a central area and gave Charlton a new set of problems. The slippery Dervişoğlu was an immediate threat, linking well with Watkins and Benrahma and pushing Charlton back.
Benrahma let fly with a shot from 35 yards that Phillips saved uncomfortably low down and when a Dalsgaard cross dropped to Dasilva, he smashed a shot against the post from 20 yards. Phillips was stationary that time and looked beaten moments later when a Benrahma shot took a vicious deflection, but he managed to make a superb save to his left. It was, however, third time lucky for The Bees. The corner was played short, Dasilva whipped in a cross and the ball flicked a head, bounced past Phillips and in to the net.
The winning goal was officially credited to Pinnock but exactly who got the final touch was unclear. The ball from Dasilva was begging to be headed in, Pinnock rose and may have got the touch but there were defenders around and it may eventually go down as an own goal. Not that Brentford were overly worried as it proved to be the winner.
Charlton, having spent most of the evening defending, did not have the energy to mount a comeback. They tried to throw balls forward, but Brentford’s defence was in line and held firm. And indeed, Brentford could have got a third as Dasilva drove forward again and saw a shot deflect away. Dasilva deserved a goal for his performance but Brentford did not need it to claim the points.
Brentford: Raya; Roerslev (sub Dalsgaard 61 mins), Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Jensen (sub Marcondes 61 mins), Nørgaard, Dasilva; Mbeumo (sub Dervişoğlu 81 mins), Watkins, Benrahma
Subs (not used): Daniels, Thompson, Jeanvier, Fosu, Žambůrek, Valencia
Bookings: Dervişoğlu (87 mins)
Charlton Athletic: Phillips; Matthews, Lockyear, Pearce, Sarr, Doughty (sub Oshilaja 71 mins); Cullen, Field (sub Pratley 56 mins); Forster-Caskey (sub Morgan 71 mins), Williams (sub Lapslie 56 mins); Bonne (sub Aneke 78 mins)
Subs (not used): Amos, Purrington, McGeady, Davison
Bookings: Cullen (90 mins)