Donaldson completes turnaround as Bees win again
Brentford scored two goals in 90 seconds late in the game as they remarkably came from behind to beat Portsmouth at a sodden Griffin Park.
Brentford started the game brightly and dominated early possession and territory.
They pushed the visitors back for long periods and seemed in little danger defensively.
Bradley Wright-Phillips put The Bees ahead and seemed to set them on their way but Portsmouth fought back.
Pompey, who won their biggest battle of all this week when their Supporters’ Trust won the right to take over the club and saved them from possibly going out of existence, had the resolve to equalise and then went ahead in the second half.
But Brentford found a way to win.
Wright-Phillips equalised and then set Clayton Donaldson away to score his 22nd goal of the season, make it 3-2 and give The Bees the points.
It seemed a matter of time until the opening goal as Portsmouth were forced in to last-ditch tackles and blocks and Brentford dominated the early stages.
An early Harlee Dean effort was cleared before a Wright-Phillips shot deflected inches wide.
Brentford had the ball in the net ten minutes in through Sam Saunders but referee Jeremy Simpson had already blown up for a free kick to the home side.
Saunders delivered that dead ball and Portsmouth goalkeeper Simon Eastwood had to be at full stretch to palm it on to the crossbar and away.
A Jonathan Douglas shot was blocked and Eastwood saved from Saunders but Brentford were nearly hit by a sucker punch.
Jed Wallace fired in a shot that dipped and bounced awkwardly in front of Simon Moore; the Brentford goalkeeper could only palm it out and was grateful to see David Connolly smash the loose ball over.
It was a goalkeeping error at the other end that led to the first goal.
Shaleum Logan lifted a high cross in to the middle that Eastwood dropped, under pressure from Donaldson, Wright-Phillips reacted quickest and smashed the loose ball home.
There was almost a second for Brentford when Shaun Cooper headed a Saunders free kick narrowly past his own post.
Brentford seemed to have complete control but Portsmouth levelled out of nothing.
A long ball was flicked on by Patrick Agyemang and Dean failed to deal with it, Connolly latched on to it and curled a shot unerringly in to the far corner to tie it up.
The rest of the first half was more even, with the visitors growing in confidence.
Moore saved from Connolly after a quick break and denied Cooper late in the half while Dean made a vital tackle to prevent Agyemang turning in a Wallace cross.
Brentford had openings of their own before the break – Eastwood saved a Saunders shot and then went full stretch to keep out a Donaldson header – but the teams went in level at half time.
The second half started in much the same way the first had ended; Brentford had sights of goal but were by no means dominant.
Saunders curled a free kick wide and then shot over after good work from Wright-Phillips before an Adam Forshaw shot was blocked.
Portsmouth had not been second best at the start of the second half but it was still a surprise when they went ahead.
Cooper found yards of space to turn 25 yards from goal and fire in a shot that bounced in to the bottom corner past the helpless Moore.
The visitors had got their noses in front and set about trying to hold on to it while Brentford upped the intensity with Jake Reeves and Lee Hodson brought on to add impetus.
Douglas had a volley deflected wide before a Reeves shot was blocked.
Tony Craig strode out of defence and shot narrowly wide before fellow central defender Dean headed a corner wide.
Hodson worked a great chance for Toumani Diagouraga with a run from deep but the midfield man was denied by Eastwood, who saved with his feet.
Marcello Trotta was introduced as Brentford chased the game and they almost equalised when Wright-Phillips got in behind but his touch was heavy and Eastwood saved at his feet.
Wright-Phillips also headed a Jake Bidwell free kick wide but Portsmouth came close to sealing it on the break when Wallace curled in a shot that went narrowly wide of Moore’s post.
Wright-Phillips headed wide before the 90 seconds that shook Griffin Park to its very foundations.
Brentford levelled when Portsmouth failed to deal with a cross, Diagouraga piled in but couldn’t get a shot off, Wright-Phillips picked up the pieces and slotted home.
And within two minutes, Brentford had the lead.
Wright-Phillips played a glorious pass in to the left channel, Donaldson raced clear and lifted the ball over Eastwood and in to the net to send Griffin Park in to raptures.
There was late pressure from the visitors, Moore saved at the feet of Connolly and a deep free kick was scrambled away.
But Brentford had done enough and continued their push for automatic promotion.
Brentford: Moore; Logan, Dean, Craig, Bidwell; Douglas (sub Reeves 63 mins); Forshaw (sub Trotta 75 mins), Saunders (sub Hodson 65 mins), Diagouraga; Donaldson, Wright-Phillips
Subs (not used): Gounet, O’Connor, Dallas, El Alagui
Portsmouth: Eastwood; Moutaoukil, Sodje, Gyepes, Butler; Wallace, Racon, Ertl, Cooper (sub Maloney 88 mins); Agyemang (sub Akinde 74 mins), Connolly
Subs (not used): Smith, Walker, Harris, Webster, Awford
Attendance: 9,149 (1,796 away fans)
By Chris Wickham