Bees win top-of-the-table clash
Alex Pritchard scored one and made two as Brentford bounced back from consecutive defeats with a win over promotion rivals AFC Bournemouth.
The Bees went ahead early on through Jonathan Douglas but were pegged back before a goalkeeping error allowed Pritchard to restore the lead.
Brentford had to weather a storm after half time but counter-attacked to good effect in a fantastic end-to-end second period.
Eventually Pritchard set up Chris Long for his first Brentford goal to seal a 3-1 victory and banish memories of defeats to Watford and Charlton Athletic in their last two games.
Brentford opened the scoring with their first attack of the afternoon.
The Bees probed down the right before Moses Odubajo found Pritchard in space, his cross reached Douglas at the far side and he tricked his way past Simon Francis before firing home.
Bournemouth came in to the game knowing a win would send them to the top of the table and with the division’s most prolific attack.
Their threat going forward was obvious, with the speed and movement of Callum Wilson a particular threat.
David Button made a good early save when Wilson connected with a Francis cross and the Brentford goalkeeper then had to save smartly at the feet of Yann Kermorgant.
Pritchard had a shot blocked and Button kept out a long range effort from Francis at the other end as the game started to flow from end-to-end.
The Bees had more of the ball in the first quarter but the visitors were incisive in attack and moved the ball in to shooting positions a little better.
Tony Craig blocked a Wilson effort and Toumani Diagouraga got in the way of Kermogant’s follow-up before Brentford broke quickly and a fierce Jota shot was well saved by Artur Boruc.
Andre Gray also went close when a Pritchard free kick flew across the box, the striker connected at the far post but the effort deflected wide.
Brentford looked as if they were starting to take the upper hand as the game approached the half hour mark and could have doubled their lead when Diagouraga nodded a half cleared cross back in to the danger area, Pritchard got to it but lifted his effort wide.
And moments later, Bournemouth were level.
Charlie Daniels chipped a ball forward from the left side, Diagouraga’s attempt to control diverted the ball in to the path of Marc Pugh, who got in behind Craig, he got a fortunate ricochet as he attempted to round Button and then prodded home at the second attempt after his first effort hit the post.
But Brentford didn’t let it affect them; they continued to push forward and could have restored their lead within moments.
Pritchard, now running the show, played a ball that released Gray in the inside left channel, he got around Boruc and, from a tight angle, fired towards goal but Steve Cook came sliding in to make a magnificent recovery clearance inches from the line.
Button saved from Ritchie, who perhaps lucky to make it to half time after making at least two challenges that would normally have been deemed cautionable, but The Bees were on top.
A Pritchard shot deflected wide and, from the resulting corner, Alan Judge fired wide when well-placed.
The Bees got the lead they deserved at the break with a goal in first half stoppage time.
It was one for Boruc to forget as he flapped at a free kick from Pritchard that dipped late and could only punch the ball in to his own net.
Bournemouth started the second half well with Wilson at the heart of everything, especially with Ritchie withdrawn presumably to stop him being sent off.
The striker headed over and then forced Button in to a near post save before setting up substitute Ryan Fraser, the first shot hit the post before the second was fired in to the side netting.
Judge skied as effort for The Bees at the other end but Bournemouth were dictating play at the start of the second half.
Button saved a Kermorgant header and then rushed out to save a Fraser shot with his body outside his penalty area after the winger had got in behind.
Fraser blasted wide but then became the second man to go in to the book of referee Mike Dean for simulation, going down in the vicinity of Craig after a free kick had been half cleared and the ball had bobbled around the box.
Wilson had another chance when a poor Button kick came straight back to him but the striker rushed his lob with the Brentford goalkeeper stranded and missed the target.
Brentford were playing on the counter attack, penned in by the visitors.
They did almost grab a third goal when Gray headed over from close range after Douglas had flicked on a Jota corner.
And substitute Long came close to grabbing his first goal in professional football when, after some untidy play on the left, he tried to return a Boruc clearance towards the net but the Bournemouth goalkeeper flew across to save.
Button made a fine save from Andrew Surman after a great run by Francis on the right and Brett Pitman’s follow-up was blocked.
Tommy Elphick headed a cross wide following a short corner and Wilson blasted over when another set piece dropped loose.
Brentford were starting to look as if they had weathered the storm and were posing real problems on the counter attack.
Alan McCormack, returning after injury, set up Jota for a shot that crashed off the crossbar and the Spaniard went even closer moments later after a fast break from Pritchard, as his low shot was well saved by Boruc.
Long saw a shot deflect on to a post after more great work by Pritchard before Jota ran 50 yards and forced Boruc in to another fine save.
A Pittman header deflected wide at the other end and Wilson nodded wide before Boruc again denied Pritchard and Jota smashed a shot inches past the far post.
Brentford eventually made the game safe three minutes in to stoppage time – Jon Toral led a break down the middle and fed the ball to Pritchard, his cross was converted at the far post by Long.
Boruc saved from Pritchard and a Wilson shot was blocked as a pulsating game was brought to a close with Brentford taking the points and closing the gap on the top of the table to seven points.
Brentford: Button; Odubajo, Tarkowski, Craig, Dallas; Douglas, Diagouraga (sub McCormack 74 mins); Jota, Pritchard, Judge (sub Toral 60 mins); Gray (sub Long 69 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, Dean, Saunders, Smith
Bookings: Odubajo (80 mins) (second of season), Dallas (86 mins) (second of season), Craig (88 mins) (sixth of season)
AFC Bournemouth: Boruc; Francis, Cook, Elphick, Daniels (sub Smith 76 mins); Ritchie (sub Fraser h/t), Surman, MacDonald, Pugh; Kermorgant (sub Pitman 62 mins); Wilson
Subs (not used): Camp, Gosling, Stanislas, Ward
Bookings: Kermorgant (15 mins), Ritchie (35 mins), Wilson (45 mins), Fraser (67 mins)
Attendance: 11,459 (1,652 away fans)
By Chris Wickham