Bees win seven-goal thriller on Merseyside
Adam Forshaw smashed home a stoppage time penalty as Brentford picked up their first away win of the 2013/14 Sky Bet League One season on a memorable afternoon against Tranmere Rovers.
Martin Taylor scored within two minutes on his Brentford debut, the first of seven goals on a crazy afternoon on Merseyside.
The central defender, signed on loan from Sheffield Wednesday this week, scored after one minute and 55 seconds at Prenton Park, believed to be the quickest ever goal by a Brentford debutant in a Football League match.
Clayton Donaldson added a second ten minutes later and Brentford had control.
But Tranmere hit back to level at 2-2 and then equalised again to make it 3-3 in the 90th minute after Donaldson had scored again.
However, Forshaw stepped up when referee Scott Duncan awarded a penalty in the dying seconds to blast home and give The Bees the win.
Taylor’s record breaking goal came from Brentford’s first real attack.
A free kick was played in to the box and Donaldson made a nuisance of himself, Harlee Dean fired in a shot that Owain Fon Williams kept out but Taylor reacted quickest to poke home.
James Rowe should probably have equalised immediately but missed his header from an Evan Horwood cross when well-placed and Donaldson shot wide at the other end.
Fon Williams made a good low save from a Will Grigg shot and Shaleum Logan curled an effort against the top of the crossbar after cutting inside.
The Bees did not, however, have to wait long for their second goal.
Toumani Diagouraga almost delivered it with a curling shot that beat Fon Williams but cannoned away off the post but Donaldson, who had exchanged passes with the midfield man, did seconds later.
Tranmere couldn’t get the ball away and when Alan McCormack put the ball back in, Ian Goodison’s clearance was smashed first time by Donaldson in to the roof of the net from ten yards.
The home side were clearly rocked, Brentford were playing fine football, dominating the midfield and looked capable of opening up the hosts when they went on the front foot.
McCormack headed wide and Fon Williams tipped away a curling Grigg shot before a Forshaw effort deflected wide.
But Tranmere made an alteration, in outlook if not in system.
They stopped using the midfield, where Brentford were running riot, and instead fed the wide man with balls in to the channels and allowed their full backs to push on.
It turned the game in to a very good spectacle as the hosts chased the goals needed to get back in to it.
Richard Lee, playing for the first time in 2013 after shoulder surgery, made a low save from right back Danny Holmes and a Goodison shot deflected wide.
James Rowe missed the target from distance and Lee saved from Goodison before denying Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro.
Brentford’s defence was working overtime to deal with the flying full backs and balls in to the danger zone.
Time after time Dean made vital clearing headers to prevent Tranmere turning possession in to chances and Taylor and Tony Craig were equally busy.
The hosts did get a goal their pressure deserved a minute before half time.
It came from a fine move in the inside left channel, Akpa Akpro tuned on the edge of the box and fed the flying Chris Atkinson, he moved on to the pass, drew Lee and slotted home.
Holmes shot wide before half time and Akpa Akpro chipped over the bar as Tranmere continued to press.
They flew out of the blocks at the start of the second half, harrying and pressing and winning more than their fair share of the ball.
Brentford switched a flat midfield four, pushing Forshaw and George Saville in to wide areas to try and hold the white tide back.
But the hosts continued to dominate.
Lee had to palm away a curling free kick and then tipped over a rising Rowe shot.
The equaliser that had been threatening came nine minutes in to the second half.
A quick free kick was worked down the right, Holmes crossed for Joe Thompson, his header was saved miraculously by Lee but Adam Dugdale was there to put it in.
Akpa Akpro had a shot blocked for Tranmere but their dominance was starting to end and Brentford were finding their feet again.
Martin Fillo was brought on to play on the right side and Brentford started to get on the front foot again.
Dean headed wide and Donaldson had a sight of goal when he turned Dugdale but the defender got back and the ball was cleared.
Brentford got their noses back in front with 18 minutes to go.
After a spell of pressure, Logan delivered from the right and Donaldson got ahead of Holmes and nodded powerfully in to the corner of the net, out of the reach of Fon Williams.
Donaldson had a shot blocked soon after, and Grigg couldn’t profit from the loose ball, before a powerful Dean shot deflected wide.
Fon Williams saved a Craig header as Brentford tried to make the game safe but Tranmere still had fight.
Lee had to make a superb save from Atkinson after Akpa Akpro had got away on the Tranmere right and Andy Robison had a shot blocked.
Donaldson could have had a hat-trick when he raced on to a Diagouraga pass from a quick break; with Forshaw in support he pulled his shot wide of the far post.
Donaldson shot over on the turn for Brentford and a weak Diagouraga effort was saved but as the game entered the dying seconds; it seemed as if The Bees had done enough.
However, substitute Abdulai Baggie found space on the right and fed Holmes, hit near post cross was turned home powerfully by substitute Cole Stockton to level it up again.
Even that goal, scored in the last seconds of the 90th minute, was not the end.
Brentford won a throw in and Donaldson propelled it towards Dean and Taylor in the box, as it dropped loose Holmes and Dugdale challenged and the ball hit a Tranmere arm.
Mr Duncan pointed to the spot and Forshaw took the responsibility.
He smashed the ball high in to net to end a seven-goal thriller and give The Bees the win.
Tranmere Rovers: Fon Williams; Holmes, Goodison, Dugdale, Horwood; Thompson (sub Robinson 78 mins), Power, Rowe (sub Baggie 90 mins), Atkinson; Lowe (sub Stockton 78 mins), Akpa Akpro
Subs (not used): Mooney, Taylor, Jones, Sodje
Bookings: Akpa Akpro (80 mins), Robinson (82 mins)
Brentford: Lee; Logan, Dean, Taylor, Craig; McCormack (sub Fillo 60 mins), Diagouraga, Saville (sub Teixeira 90 mins); Forshaw; Grigg (sub Trotta 87 mins), Donaldson
Subs (not used): O’Brien, O’Connor, Reeves, El Alagui
Attendance: 4,454 (354 Bees fans)
By Chris Wickham