Brentford came from behind to record a home victory against AFC Bournemouth. The Bees had a tricky start to the game and then fell behind when they looked as if they were starting to have a measure of control. But they roared back. Henrik Dalsgaard headed in an equaliser and Tariqe Fosu came off the substitute’s bench to head home the winner inside the final 15 minutes.
The match pitched two teams that started the day in the top four in the Sky Bet Championship. Bournemouth had not played for 11 days and flew out of the blocks, creating a series of chances before taking the lead just before the half hour. But Brentford responded well, defended when they needed and created the chances to take a 2-1 win that they probably just about deserved.
The visitors started the game very quickly and the Brentford defence was extremely busy in the opening stages. Bournemouth moved the ball quickly through midfield and found pockets of space to progress up the pitch. Philip Billing and Jefferson Lerma were able to play just in front of Brentford’s back four and it was a difficult opening ten minutes for The Bees.
Bournemouth could have scored inside the first minute when Lerma got on to a loose and slipped it through to Dominic Solanke. The striker only had David Raya to beat and bundled a shot past him, but Pontus Jansson was able to clear just in time. Raya’s touch on the ball was enough to give Jansson a chance to get back and he slid in before the whole of the ball had crossed the line to flick it away, diverting it clear of the arriving David Brooks.
Solanke had another sight of goal soon after when a clever pass from Billing appeared to put him clear but Rico Henry got back to block his path to goal. Billing and Solanke linked again soon after and when the former delivered a ball across, it looked perfect for Brooks to put it in. But Henry again got back to make a fine block and keep the game level.
Bournemouth had the better of the first part of the match, but Brentford had tried to fight fire with fire. The visitors wanted to play out from goalkeeper Asmir Begović and were happy to invite Brentford deep in to their penalty area. The game was stretched as both sides were happy to leave the midfield unguarded as they looked to win the ball back in opposition territory.
With Bournemouth committed to attack, that meant Brentford also had chances as they left space at the back. Ivan Toney blasted wide early on and there was a great opening on the right soon after. Vitaly Janelt started it with a pass to the right, a clever turn from Josh Dasilva created space and he put Dalsgaard in behind, the ball was drilled across but neither Toney or Bryan Mbeumo could covert and when the ball was recycled, Mathias Jensen fired over.
Sergi Canós narrowly missed the target with a left foot shot from 20 yards after a long spell of possession ended with Dalsgaard finding him in space. A near post free kick from Jensen was pushed around the post by Begović and the resulting corner was only cleared as far as Canós. Brentford’s Spanish attacker dribbled his was past Brooks and fired in a near post shot that Begović saved again.
By the midway point of the first half, Brentford appeared to have the upper hand. Bournemouth’s tempo had dropped, and the game was being played more in the visitors’ half of the pitch. When they scored just before the half hour, it was probably against the run of play. It was, however, an excellent goal. The visitors ended a series of passes with a ball to the left that gave Lloyd Kelly the space to deliver a cross, Solanke got across Ethan Pinnock to attack the near post and divert the ball past Raya and in to the net.
The visitors deserved the goal given the openings they had created but Brentford will feel they had weathered the early storm and were taking control of the game. The Bees did not allow the setback to affect them and roared back in to the game. Toney had a shot blocked before a cross from Mbeumo, after a great pass from Jensen, just eluded the Brentford striker.
Mbeumo forced a save from Begović low to his right when he let fly from 22 yards after picking up a loose ball, but he could do nothing from the resulting corner. Jensen delivered it to the near post area and Dalsgaard rose to head past Begović and in to the net. Lerma had been left to mark Dalsgaard and could not get near him as he directed Jensen’s ball past Begović to level it up.
That was how it stayed until half time but both teams looked to go forward in to the final moments of the first period. A Brooks shot deflected in to the arms of Raya when a long throw was half cleared while a Jensen shot from 25 yards flew just wide of the post. The half ended with Bournemouth on the attack but with Brentford probably slightly having the initiative. The Bees had got themselves level after falling behind and had spent more of the half on the attack than their visitors.
The game had a really good flow in the first half. It was played at a high pace and referee Jared Gillett had given few free kicks. Some of the times he had chosen not to whistle had surprised the players, but it had helped the pace of the game and the spectacle as a result.
While the first half had been notable for the teams being happy to leave space in the centre of midfield, the second started differently. Jensen and Lerma, on either side, seemed to be looking to play more in the middle of the pitch and the game was a little less open as a result. Bournemouth played a few more long passes and Brentford had more of the ball in the opening stages of the second period, as well as some sights of goal.
The Bees were able to isolate Canós against Adam Smith at the start of the second half and played mostly down the left. Janelt and Jensen combined to free him, and he got a cross away that looked to be perfect for Toney, but Jack Simpson stopped it reaching him and managed to avoid putting it in his own goal. Canós was able to run at the Bournemouth defence soon after and wriggled in to space but lashed over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.
Dasilva also tested Begović with a snap shot when Toney fed a long throw in to his path but as the half wore on, Bournemouth began to take control. They were winning more of the ball and playing in Brentford territory. They were patient in attack with Lerma dictating the play at the base of their midfield. They introduced an extra attacker – Joshua King – as they pressed on.
Solanke had a shot blocked and the ball ricochet fortunately for Brooks but his shot was saved by Raya. Stanislas went for goal with a free kick from 30 yards, but Raya gathered comfortably and the Brentford goalkeeper then held on to a fierce cross-cum-shot from King. Stanislas had another shot blocked as Brentford’s defence stood firm, and when The Bees had their chance at the other end, they took it.
Toney dropped off the front to receive a pass and fed Mbeumo on the right. Mbeumo tricked his way past Kelly and then arced a perfect cross to the far post for Tariqe Fosu to head in. Fosu had only been the pitch for 14 minutes and Smith seemed to forget he was there as he rose behind him to head in and put The Bees in front. And that was how it finished.
The final 15 minutes was more stop-start than the 80 that preceded it. Bournemouth chased the game but were rushed and made mistakes while Brentford held firm, their spine of Jansson, Pinnock and Janelt providing a base Bournemouth could not breach. Lerma blasted over and Stanislas shot wide late on and there were crosses in to the box, but the visitors mostly played in front of Brentford and Raya was largely a spectator.
And it was Brentford that looked likely to get the fourth goal of the evening on the counter-attack. Saman Ghoddos and Toney combined to release Jensen on the edge of the penalty area but Begović kept out the low shot. Toney then set up Ghoddos but Begović saved again to give him team a few final seconds to find a leveller. But that was not to be, and Brentford took the win.
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Dasilva (sub Marcondes 81 mins), Janelt, Jensen; Mbeumo (sub Ghoddos 89 mins), Toney, Canós (sub Fosu 65 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Stevens, Sørensen, Thompson, Gilbert, Forss
AFC Bournemouth: Begović; Smith, S. Cook, Simpson, Kelly; Lerma (sub Gosling 89 mins), L. Cook (sub King 69 mins), Billing; Brooks (sub Surridge 83 mins), Solanke, Stanislas
Subs (not used): Travers, Riquelme, Rico, Ofoborh, Kilkenny, Anthony
Bookings: L. Cook (41 mins)