Own goals cancel out Hayes double
Two goals from Paul Hayes – his first in a Brentford shirt – were not enough to give Brentford all three points against Hartlepool United.
The striker scored early on and then put Brentford back in front just before the hour mark but own goals from Harlee Dean and Tony Craig meant the game ended 2-2.
The visitors had a couple of early half chances – Steve Howard and Peter Hartley failing to make headed efforts count – but Brentford had the better of the first 20 minutes.
Hayes volleyed narrowly over early on before Jake Bidwell missed the target with a curling free kick.
Brentford went ahead just past the ten minute mark when Adam Forshaw burst from deep and fed Shaleum Logan, Jonathan Douglas flicked the ball in to the path of Hayes and the striker turned and lashed home.
The Bees started to press Hartlepool back and looked like opening them up every time they went forward.
A Forshaw shot was saved after good work by Clayton Donaldson and Hayes and an acrobatic Dean volley was cleared off the line by Evan Horwood.
Donaldson curled a shot over soon after but just when it seemed Brentford were in complete command, Hartlepool found some fight.
They started to get joy with runners from midfield breaching Brentford’s line and when they levelled after 25 minutes, it had been coming.
Simon Moore had to react quickly to keep out a Ryan Noble shot and Richie Humphreys sliced a shot wide after Antony Sweeney got in behind.
The equaliser came when Sweeney got in again down the left; his cross was heading across the six-yard box but hit Dean, bounced over Moore and rolled in.
Brentford tried to hit straight back – Donaldson had a shot blocked and neither he nor Hayes could profit when Hartlepool goalkeeper Scott Flinders made a mess of a back pass.
Donaldson had a shot deflected wide and Dean missed the target with a header but Hartlepool continued to prove dangerous on the break.
Noble should have done better than head over from a Sweeny cross but moments later it took a fine save from Moore to deny him when a cross was half cleared.
The visitors went close again when Noble burst clear, his pass looked set to find Humphreys before Bidwell intervened.
Brentford ended the half with the initiative – a powerful Douglas shot was blocked, as was an effort from Donaldson soon after.
The Bees came close to regaining the lead just before the break when a Hayes run was cut off but the ball was headed forward by Forshaw, Donaldson beat Flinders to it aerially but his header landed on the roof of the net.
The home side had the ascendency at the start of the second half two – the introduction of Leon Legge to take care of Howard limiting Hartlepool’s ability to retain possession in key areas.
The Bees also appeared to change their shape at the break, bringing Forshaw more central and pushing Donaldson to the right of a three behind Hayes.
Flinders held on to a Forrester free kick and a Forshaw shot was blocked but the game was started to drift as it approached the hour mark.
However, Brentford soon altered that.
The ball was worked to the right hand side where Donaldson sent in a cross and Hayes rose highest to head his second of the afternoon powerfully in to the bottom corner.
Forrester almost added a third, to give Brentford breathing space, with a curling free kick that Flinders tipped over.
But Hartlepool showed they were not out of it when Noble curled in a shot that Moore had to go full stretch to tip away and, from the resulting corner, Simon Walton shot wide.
Brentford went looking for the goal that would seal it – Donaldson shot over and then missed the target with an effort after a run in from the right and a smart one-two with Forshaw.
They came close again when a break involving six players led to a Bidwell cross that was scrambled away.
Hartlepool had a chance from a free kick 20 yards out but Horwood fired it in to the defensive wall and Howard saw a header deflect wide late on.
Just when it seemed Brentford had done enough, a corner came in from the right; it flicked the head of Craig and landed in the far corner.
Brentford: Moore; Logan, Dean (sub Legge h/t), Craig, Bidwell; Forshaw (sub Adeyemi 84 mins), Diagouraga, Douglas, Forrester; Donaldson, Hayes (sub Spencer 82 mins)
Subs (not used): Lee, O’Connor, Barron, Dallas
Bookings: Forshaw (69 mins), Douglas (87 mins) (third of season), Diagouraga (90 mins)
Hartlepool United: Flinders; Austin, Baldwin, Hartley, Horwood; Humphreys (sub Poole 58 mins), Sweeney, Walton, Murray (sub Luscombe 77 mins), Noble; Howard
Subs (not used): McHugh, Collins, Franks, Richards, Holden
Bookings: Murray (64 mins), Noble (90 mins)
Attendance: 5,213 (155 away fans)
By Chris Wickham