Saïd Benrahma stole the show as Brentford recorded their sixth straight win at Griffin Park with a demolition of Hull City. The Algerian attacker scored a hat-trick as The Bees won 5-1 on another memorable Griffin Park afternoon. Benrahma set up a goal for Kamohelo Mokotjo that levelled the game up after Hull had taken a deserved lead and he then scored three of the next four as The Bees ran riot. Neal Maupay got his customary goal to seal another superb home win.
When Hull went ahead after a quiet opening, it looked as if Brentford’s home run – which has seen them beat Oxford United, Stoke City, Blackburn Rovers, Barnet and Aston Villa in the past seven weeks – might come to an end. But The Bees responded. And how. Once Mokotjo levelled it up there was no stopping the hosts. Benrahma scored two before half time and then sealed the win with the fifth goal as Hull were well beaten.
The visitors had the better of a fairly lacklustre opening. On a warm early spring afternoon at Griffin Park, Hull had a little more rhythm and tempo to their play and while there were few chances in the opening 20 minutes, the visitors had the better of the game and looked more likely to turn possession in to openings. They had control of the midfield area with Jackson Irvine, in particular, finding space to bring his wide players in to the game.
Hull were mainly looking to their left side where Kamil Grosicki was using space in behind Sergi Canós to good effect and left back Stephen Kingsley was often up in support. The first chance of the afternoon came when Kingsley drove to the by-line and delivered a deep cross that Evandro volleyed over on the stretch. Another ball from the left from Grosicki stung the palms of Daniel Bentley and the Brentford goalkeeper did enough to divert it away from arriving Fraizer Campbell.
It was no surprise that the opening goal, which arrived 24 minutes in, came from a Hull attack on the left. Referee Tim Robinson – who did not please everyone with his early decisions – played advantage when Grosicki got away on the left after Ollie Watkins had tried to slow down Irvine and when the cross came in, Campbell headed home. The cross from Grosicki was pin-point and drilled on the head of Campbell but Yoann Barbet slipped as the ball came in and that gave the striker the freedom of the penalty area to head home.
Hull probably deserved their lead at that point. Brentford had struggled to move the ball through the midfield and while there was some space for Watkins in the inside right channel on occasion, The Bees had not really been an attacking force. Watkins had shot wide after a nice turn following a run from Benrahma and David Marshall had saved a low shot from Moses Odubajo at the second attempt. That save had led to a flashpoint as the goalkeeper complained when Maupay tried to get on to the loose ball. After a delay, Maupay was booked and the Brentford man’s temperature rose further when Hull scored soon after.
Unfortunately for Hull, the fire in Maupay drove Brentford on and The Bees turned the game around in the space of nine minutes. The equaliser came just four minutes after Hull’s opener with Mokotjo getting his first goal at Griffin Park. Benrahma was the architect with a fine turn in the centre of the park that enabled him to drive towards goal, Mokotjo appeared on his right and caressed a shot in to the net from 22 yards with Mr Robinson playing advantage as a foul was committed when the pass was played. Marshall was left flat-footed, and perhaps unsighted, as the shot rolled past him and Hull’s lead was wiped out.
And with Maupay’s tail up, Hull’s midfield disintegrating and Benrahma running riot, it got significantly worse for the visitors before the mercy of the half time whistle. Suddenly there was lots of space for Brentford to play. Irvine disappeared out of the game while Markus Henriksen, at the base of the Hull midfield, was swamped as a sea of red and white bore down on him. The final 20 minutes of the first half was a joy for Brentford fans to watch as a deficit became a two-goal lead.
Benrahma got Brentford’s second and third and produced the sort of spell that very few teams would have been able to stop. With Maupay dropping off the front and linking with Romain Sawyers, The Bees drove forward. Odubajo was an outlet on the left with Jarrod Bowen refusing to track back and support Todd Kane and chances were flowing.
Maupay could have ended a move he started and scored within two minutes of the equaliser. The striker turned superbly and fed Benrahma and when the cross came in from Odubajo, he got ahead of Marshall but turned the ball over the bar. Maupay then played a one-two with Benrahma before poking wide. But the second goal was not long in coming.
The Bees once again broke away on the left and Odubajo fed the ball in to Benrahma, he wriggled free when he had no right to do so and created half a yard of space to curl a shot in to the top corner. Marshall stood and watch it fly past him as his defenders, especially Robbie McKenzie, were unable to get a toe to the ball and stop the shot, seemingly mesmerised by the magic of Benrahma. And with Benrahma now with the wind in his sails, The Bees continued to attack.
A quick free kick from Barbet freed Benrahma again and he shot from 25 yards but failed to hit the target. But with two minutes to go until half time, he made no mistake. Canós was the main architect this time as he won the ball on the right and burst forward, Maupay found space in the box and tried to return the pass. Canós could not control but the ball broke to Benrahma and he found the bottom corner from 15 yards. Marshall was again left helpless and Brentford had breathing space.
It could have got even worse for Hull before the break as Maupay was crowded out when he looked to have space in the penalty area. The ball was then recycled and Maupay saw a shot blocked after getting on to a Benrahma pass and an Odubajo effort deflected wide. When the corner was half cleared, Julian Jeanvier fancied getting in on the act with a shot from 25 yards, but it dribbled apologetically wide.
The half time whistle was a relief for Hull and they reappeared after the break with George Long in goal, presumably hoping – either through necessity or choice – for better between the sticks after the break. And the visitors did go straight on the attack. Bentley was forced to tip a fierce shot from Evandro over the bar before a pass from Grosicki looked to have put Bowen in, but Barbet came across to make the tackle ensure danger was averted.
But any hoped Hull had of turning a bright start in to a comeback were snuffed out as Brentford got a fourth goal. And one again it was a superb one for The Bees with Maupay involved in the build-up before applying the finishing touch. Once again Mr Robinson played advantage when Benrahma was fouled and Odubajo found the French striker, he turned well and found Watkins on the right, Long saved the first shot but when the ball was nodded back across, Maupay tapped in. Watkins was alive to the second ball and his header gave Maupay the easy task to score his 22nd goal of the season.
That appeared to kill off Hull. Brentford moved through the gears during the second half, attacking with menace and creating spaces all over the pitch. They should probably have turned their possession and chances in to more goals as Hull desperately tried to stay in the game. Maupay saw a shot blocked before another one from Benrahma also hit a defender. The ball was recycled and worked to Maupay, but he shot wide on the turn.
Benrahma then fired wide after getting on to a Maupay lay off before a quick Watkins free kick put Canós away but he shot off target. Long got down well to save a Jeanvier header from a corner and then made an even better stop when Maupay got on to a Canós cross after good work from Watkins and Benrahma. A follow-up effort from Maupay was then blocked as was one from Canós when he got on to a long pass from Barbet and weaved inside.
Hull were shell-shocked, forced back and unable to muster anything but the odd counter-attack. Grosicki shot wide from distance and then had a go from range with a free kick that Bentley saved comfortably. Grosicki should probably have scored in the dying seconds when Bowen wriggled free, but he shot over from the edge of the penalty area. And by then any thought of a comeback had long gone.
Benrahma could have grabbed his hat-trick when a clever free kick from Josh McEachran put him in to space but he miss-kicked and the chance was gone. He did not, however, have to wait long. Hull thought they had snuffed out an attack, but Watkins won the ball back and found Sawyers, the pass looked to be releasing Odubajo in the box but Benrahma intercepted it, turned and curled home from 22 yards. It was a goal worthy of sealing a hat-trick and Benrahma got a standing ovation when he was substituted a few minutes later.
Benrahma’s departure enabled The Bees to give a debut to Jan Žambůrek and he became the first player born in the 21st century to feature for Brentford. He did not look out of place and while Brentford did not add to their tally, they kept trying. Josh Dasilva saw a shot deflected wide late on as The Bees kept pressing. A sixth might have been too much to answer for but six straight home wins was secured, and in a grand manner.
Brentford: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Jeanvier, Barbet; Canós, Sawyers, Mokotjo (sub McEachran 72 mins), Odubajo; Watkins, Maupay (sub Dasilva 72 mins), Benrahma (sub Žambůrek 84 mins)
Subs (not used): Balcombe, Sørensen, Kirk, Ogbene
Bookings: Maupay (22 mins) (seventh of season)
Hull City: Marshall (sub Long h/t); Kane, Ridgewell, McKenzie, Kingsley; Henriksen; Bowen, Evandro, Irvine (sub Burke 59 mins), Grosicki; Campbell (sub Milinković 73 mins)
Subs (not used): Lichaj, Pugh, Dicko, Martin
Bookings: Kane (58 mins), Henriksen (78 mins), Evandro (90 mins)
Attendance: 9,675 (1,175 away fans)