Your Brentford v Sunderland match report powered by Utilita
Florian Jozefzoon scored one and played the key role in two more as Brentford came from 3-1 down to earn a point in a 3-3 draw with Sunderland. The Bees took an early lead when Nico Yennaris followed up after a Jozefzoon shot hit the post to tap in. But Sunderland roared back and using a strong wind held a 3-1 lead at the break. But Jozefzoon curled in a free kick and then saw a shot deflect in off Neal Maupay to ensure The Bees took a point.
A draw was the least Brentford deserved from their afternoon’s work. With the conditions against them in the first half they struggled defensively at times. Lewis Grabban scored two for the visitors, one from the penalty spot, as they turned the game around, helped by a Daniel Bentley own goal, but they never looked totally convincing. And once Brentford got in to their stride in the second half it always looked as if they would get something from the game.
It was immediately clear that the conditions would play a big part in proceedings. Every time the ball rose high in the air its path was a complete lottery with defenders struggling to cope with the changing flight. Sunderland played with the strong wind in the first period and were often able to benefit by playing balls over the top for their strikers to run on to with the weather enabling them to have more success than they might otherwise.
Brentford tried to get the ball down and play through midfield but the ball was often deep in their territory in the first half as Sunderland were happy to give goal kicks to their hosts and stop them playing out. The visitors worked hard in the centre of midfield to stop Brentford moving the ball quickly through and limited the chances they had to face. There was an early one for Ollie Watkins when he got on to a Romaine Sawyers lay off but Didier Ndong made a fine block.
Brentford probably just about had the upper hand when they took the lead eight minutes in. Sawyers won the ball in midfield and referee Darren England ignored the claims from Lee Cattermole that he had been fouled. Sawyers played Jozefzoon in behind and although his first shot hit the post and he was unable to turn in the loose ball, Yennaris arrived to poke in from close range.
That could have given The Bees the momentum as Sunderland had offered little going forward until that point. When a free kick dropped loose an overhead from Grabban was diverted over by Duncan Watmore before Brentford’s goal but the visitors had little momentum until a defensive error handed them an equaliser. A ball from Bryan Oviedo split the Brentford defence and as John Egan and Andreas Bjelland left the ball to each other, Grabban raced on to it and clear, he finished low past Bentley to draw his team level five minutes after they fell behind.
Brentford almost went straight down the other end to restore the lead when Sawyers set up Yennaris but his shot was blocked. And it soon became clear the Sunderland goal had changed the momentum of the game. The visitors were using the conditions, which were in their favour, better, knocking balls over the top and forcing the Brentford defence to face their own goal often. They condensed the midfield and with Brentford unable to get the ball moving quickly, the visitors had the upper hand in a half of few chances.
A clever Ndong backheel almost enabled Watmore to set up Cattermole but Josh Clarke made a fine tackle and as Brentford broke Watkins saw a shot blocked. Watmore had another shot blocked for the visitors before Lasse Vibe fired in to the side netting and Watkins curled a free kick well over. Yet another effort from the dangerous Watmore was blocked, as was one from Cattermole as neither side could create a clear-cut opening, emphasised as Clarke saw a weak shot saved by Jason Steele and a McGeady effort deflected wide.
When Sunderland got their second goal, Brentford were once again the architects of their own downfall. Oviedo delivered a corner from the right, it curled viciously towards goal in the wind and Bentley could only palm it in to his own net. That came five minutes before the interval and Brentford tried to respond with an Egan header from a corner, but that was weak and easily saved. And instead they found themselves two behind at the break.
Sunderland’s third was once again one that Brentford will feel they should have prevented. The ball was lost in midfield and Watmore raced forward, Woods tried to keep pace but eventually committed a foul just inside the penalty area and Mr England pointed to the spot. Grabban lashed the penalty down the middle to give the visitors a lead at the break that it looked as if Brentford would find it hard to come back from.
Brentford’s hopes of a comeback were given a boost just 90 seconds in to the second half when they cut that lead to one. It came from a free kick when Mr England adjudged that Watkins had been fouled when most Sunderland players thought otherwise. Jozefzoon stepped up to curl the free kick in to the top corner from 20 yards and give The Bees an immediate boost.
That set up a thrilling second half, albeit one that was not full of quality. Brentford did not try to use the wind in the way Sunderland did but had the option to play the ball in to space if they chose. The visitors could not condense the game in the same way and Brentford were moving the ball quicker to open the game up. Sunderland played on the break and tried to counter-attack with numbers when they could which meant it was an end-to-end game.
Yennaris blocked a shot from George Honeyman after good work by Watmore and another effort from McGeady was also blocked. At the other end Egan appeared to well-placed to head in a corner but failed to connect and when the ball came back in Jozefzoon shot wide. A Grabban snap shot was saved by Bentley and when Brentford broke quickly, Oviedo almost turned a Sawyers cross in to his own net. McGeady then fired in to the side netting before a Watkins shot was blocked and Vibe headed a Henrik Dalsgaard cross off target.
Brentford introduced Josh McEachran – and then Maupay and Sergi Canós – as they looked for a third goal and started to dominate possession and territory. McEachran saw a shot blocked after good work by Dalsgaard, Vibe and Watkins and just 12 minutes left, Brentford levelled. Jozefzoon picked up an Egan pass and turned clear, he raced to the edge of the box and let fly with a shot that hit Maupay, wrong-footed Steele and ended up in the back of the net.
After the initial confusion of who the shot hit, Maupay was given the goal and there were 12 minutes left for Brentford to find a winner. Given the way the game had gone, a seventh goal seemed likely and Brentford pressed for it. Steele saved well from Maupay after a fine turn in the box and the goalkeeper then denied McEachran twice. The last chance of the afternoon fell to Maupay when he met a Dalsgaard cross eight yards out but Steele made the save to his left and that ensured the spoils were shared.
Brentford: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Egan, Bjelland, Clarke; Woods; Jozefzoon, Sawyers (sub McEachran 67 mins), Yennaris, Watkins (sub Canós 74 mins); Vibe (sub Maupay 74 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Mepham, Barbet, Mokotjo
Bookings: Dalsgaard (61 mins) (third of season), Maupay (90 mins) (fourth of season)
Sunderland: Steele; Jones, O’Shea, Koné, Oviedo; Watmore (sub McManaman, Cattermole, Ndong, McGeady (sub Gooch 89 mins); Honeyman; Grabban (sub Vaughan 84 mins)
Subs (not used): Ruiter, Rodwell, Matthews, Gibson
Bookings: Oviedo (37 mins), Cattermole (52 mins), Ndong (73 mins), Koné (90 mins)
Attendance: 10,726 (1,648 away fans)