Two late goals give Brighton FA Cup win at Griffin Park
Brighton and Hove Albion scored two late goals to snatch a place in the FA Cup Fourth Round as Brentford were beaten at Griffin Park.
Brentford were on the front foot from the first whistle.
With Moses Odubajo and Jake Bidwell attacking with freedom from the full back positions, linking well with Jota and Tommy Smith ahead of them, The Bees always appeared to have bodies in forward areas.
Toumani Diagouraga, at the base of the midfield, linked the play with Jon Toral and Alan Judge given licence to roam and The Bees looked a potent attacking force.
But they could not score and Lewis Dunk popped up to head in two minutes from time before Chris O’Grady scored again in stoppage time.
It left Brentford feeling hard done by and out of the FA Cup.
The Bees could have been ahead inside two minutes when Odubajo fed Jota in the penalty area, his shot was saved, Andre Gray’s first attempt to put in the rebound was blocked by Gordon Greer and the Brentford striker then poked his next effort across the goal mouth.
That was to be the story of Brentford’s day.
Judge curled a free kick over the bar soon after and Gray headed an Odubajo cross wide.
By the time the game reached the 15 minute mark Brentford were well on top, dominating posession and territory.
It took a wonderful point blank save from David Stockdale to deny Toral after Jota had weaved his way in to the penalty area past three defenders and cut the ball back.
Gray got to a long ball just ahead of Stockdale soon after only for it to run loose and enable Greer to clear and the goalkeeper kept out a Jota free kick moments later.
Toral then had a shot deflected wide after Gray had laid a Judge pass in to his path.
Brighton had offered very little going forward in the first half hour.
Deep lying midfield players Rohan Ince and Danny Holla were chasing shadows and the attacking lines were unable to stop Brentford playing out from the back.
Their sights of goal had been few and far between – a shot from Iñigo Calderón was blocked and a curling effort from Solly March, after nice interplay on the right, hit Sam Baldock and rolled wide.
They should, however, have snatched the lead on the break.
João Teixeira picked up the ball in midfield and released March, the attacker had Craig Mackail-Smith to his left and only Jakes Tarkowski for company but the Brentford defender held him up and then made a finely timed tackle to end the attack.
The visitors had other chances late in the first half – Jack Bonham saved a low Teixeira shot and Baldock volleyed a cross well wide – but Brentford were clearly the better side, just unable to turn their play in to goals.
Judge fired over when a corner was half cleared and when Odubajo crossed from the right Jota arrived but mistimed his header and Stockdale saved.
Jota had a shot blocked and Bonham saved from Baldock just before the break while just after Toral blasted over after being set up by Judge.
Brentford continued to be positive in the second half, looking to take the game to the visitors.
Brighton were slightly more adventurous on the break, exploiting the space The Bees were leaving, and they almost scored early in the second half when Mackail-Smith and Baldock set up March but Bonham saved well and Brentford scrambled the ball away.
The Bees took control of the second half, creating numerous chances.
Judge fired well over when a corner was half cleared and, soon after, Smith set up Bidwell to cross, Stockdale palmed it out and Gray smashed it wide on the turn.
Judge had a shot blocked and Stockdale saved a Toral header before Gray nodded across the face of goal at the far post.
Gray went close again soon after with a header from an Odubajo cross that looped wide but he should have squared to one of three waiting unmarked players rather than shooting wastefully wide when set up by Toral soon after.
Brighton’s chances were coming as a result of Brentford errors, as they tried to press The Bees a little more.
When Odubajo was robbed March found himself with only Bonham to beat but fired against the outside of the post.
And moments later Tarkowski was dispossessed, March set up O’Grady for a shot that Bonham got hands to and just about managed to push past the post.
Brentford kept attacking but were just unable to find the crucial goal.
Odubajo blasted over after cutting inside and a Jota shot was saved by Stockdale before a Gray shot deflected wide after Stuart Dallas and Sam Saunders had combined.
A looping header from Bidwell was saved before Brighton almost snatched the lead when O’Grady cut inside and placed a shot against the post.
As the game entered the final few moments, it seemed one goal would win it.
Tarkowski blocked a March shot but with two minutes to go, Brighton stole the lead.
March delivered the free kick; Dunk got ahead of the defence and flicked a header in to the far corner.
With Brentford chasing the match O’Grady got on to a long ball, cut inside and slotted home to seal the game for the visitors.
Gray had a last-gasp shot blocked as Brentford continued to attack but they couldn’t score and were knocked out of the FA Cup.
Brentford: Bonham; Odubajo, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Diagouraga; Jota, Judge (sub Yennaris 88 mins), Toral (sub Dallas 78 mins), Smith (sub Saunders 62 mins); Gray
Subs (not used): Lee, Craig, Tébar, Proschwitz
Bookings: Tarkowski (54 mins) (sixth of season), Judge (86 mins) (sixth of season)
Brighton and Hove Albion: Stockdale; Calderón, Greer, Dunk, Chicksen; Holla, Ince; March, Teixeira (sub Halford 67 mins), Baldock; Mackail-Smith (sub O’Grady 67 mins)
Subs (not used): Walton, Hughes, McCourt, Rea, Toko
Bookings: Greer (24 mins), Baldock (37 mins), Teixeira (38 mins), Chicksen (64 mins), Halford (83 mins)
Attendance: 8,542 (1,642 away fans)
By Chris Wickham