Bees lose London derby
Brentford had an afternoon to forget in South London as they were beaten 3-0 by Charlton Athletic.
The Bees produced a performance below the standards they have set this season and were well beaten, despite a second half showing that gave them half a chance of taking something from the game.
They fell behind in the first half when Johann Guðmundsson scored and Igor Vetokele, who set up the first, netted a second after the break.
The Bees pushed Charlton back for long stages of the second period but conceded a third in stoppage time.
Charlton started the game brightly, pressing Brentford when The Bees had the ball in defensive areas and looking to get from front to back quickly.
The hosts were looking to use the physical presence of Tony Watt and the pace of his strike partner Vetokele to worry The Bees and appeared to be banking on their midfield to beat Brentford’s players to the second balls.
The hosts had two good chances in the first 15 minutes.
David Button made a fine save to deny Guðmundsson, and then recovered to pick up the loose ball after a scramble, and an even better one when a Watt shot deflected off Harlee Dean and looked to be heading in.
Brentford took a while to get in to their stride.
They were unable to get their passing game going and could not dominate the ball as they often do.
Andre Gray was involved in a physical battle with the Charlton defence and although he was able to bring others in to the game on occasions in the opening quarter, it was not as often as Brentford would have liked.
The Bees were never able to reach a standard approaching their best in the first half but they started to get a measure of control as the game approached the 25 minute mark.
A Jonathan Douglas shot was blocked after he’d exchanged passes with Gray before, after a good move on the right, a Jota shot deflected over.
Alex Pritchard fired a free kick in to a defensive wall but Charlton cleared the ball long and took the lead.
Vetokele got the better of Dean, who misjudged the bouncing ball, and fed a pass in to the path of Guðmundsson and he placed a shot out of the reach of Button and in to the top corner.
The Bees could have been level within minutes when a Nico Yennaris cross reached Moses Odubajo at the far post, Gray got away a shot that was blocked and Charlton goalkeeper Stephen Henderson dropped on the ball as it bobbled around.
At the other end, Vetokele got on to a Guðmundsson pass and forced Button in to a low save but as half time approached Brentford were having more of the play.
They were not, however, able to create clear cut chances.
When a corner dropped loose a clearance hit Douglas and flew wide and a Toumani Diagouraga shot was blocked soon after.
Brentford looked brighter after the break but were still unable to hit top gear and create clear cut openings.
And ten minutes in to the second half they were two down.
A deep cross was delivered from the left side and Vetokele was able to get the better of Yennaris, he exchanged passes with Watt and slotted past Button.
The Brentford goalkeeper got down well to prevent Watt making it three after good work by Yoni Buyens soon after.
The Bees made three changes – bringing Chris Long, Tommy Smith and Jon Toral in to the game – and despite having a two goal lead, Charlton looked a little nervous.
Douglas headed a cross wide and then had a shot saved after picking up a Pritchard lay-off.
A Jon Toral shot deflected wide and Henderson denied Pritchard as Brentford looked for a lifeline.
Gray and Yennaris had efforts blocked and Henderson tipped a free kick over as Brentford started to play the game exclusively in Charlton territory.
But they couldn’t find a way through.
Pritchard had a shot blocked and then forced Henderson in to a fine low save before, from the resulting corner, Toral wriggled free and blasted over from 15 yards.
Dean missed the target with an ambitious long-range volley as Brentford started to run out of time.
Charlton had offered almost nothing of attacking note since their second goal, content to soak up Brentford pressure and defend their lead.
But they snatched a third in the dying seconds.
A long Henderson kick found Frédéric Bulot in space on the left, he raced away and fired past Button to seal the win.
Smith had a shot blocked in the dying seconds as Brentford tried to take something from the afternoon but it wasn’t to be.
Charlton Athletic: Henderson; Solly, Ben Haim, Johnson, Wiggins (sub Fox 23 mins); Guðmundsson, Cousins, Jackson (sub Buyens 43 mins), Bulot; Watt, Vetokele (sub Wilson 83 mins)
Subs (not used): Dmitrovic, Bikey-Amougou, Harriott, Lepoint
Bookings: Johnson (80 mins)
Brentford: Button; Odubajo, Dean, Craig, Yennaris; Diagouraga (sub Smith 59 mins), Douglas; Jota (sub Toral 59 mins), Pritchard, Dallas; Gray
Subs (not used): Bonham, McCormack, Saunders, Udumaga
Bookings: Diagouraga (48 mins) (fifth of season)
By Chris Wickham