A Saïd Benrahma hat-trick was the centre piece of Brentford’s 5-1 demolition of Hull City. The Algerian attacker produced a majestic performance as The Bees ran riot on Humberside and bounced back after two Sky Bet Championship games without a win. Ollie Watkins scored the other two – albeit one may go down as an own goal – to take his personal tally to 20 for the season but Benrahma stole the show.
The attacker scored Brentford’s first inside the opening 12 minutes and then set up the second, which will be claimed by Watkins. Hull pulled one back in strange circumstances and had a good start to the second half when they could have levelled it up. But Watkins struck again before Benrahma added two late goals to claim the personal milestone – his second hat-trick against Hull in 12 months – and seal the win after defeat to Nottingham Forest and a draw with Huddersfield Town in the last two games.
There was a muted atmosphere around The KCOM Stadium at kick-off and that seemed to seep in to the home players. Hull had sold two key attackers – Jarred Bowen and Kamil Grosicki – the day before the match and looked low on confidence. It took Brentford a few minutes to take control of the game but once they did, there was no looking back.
Hull had a very high starting position out of possession. With The Bees dominating the ball, this meant a lot of the early stages was played in Brentford’s defensive areas as the visitors probed for an opening. It was not always easy for The Bees to play through the first Hull line but as soon as they started to spot the gaps, they exposed the home defence and started to create chances. The Bees were also able to pressurise the Hull players in to mistakes on the ball and the two goals they scored inside the first 20 minutes were the minutes were the least they deserved.
Once Brentford started getting Benrahma, Watkins and Bryan Mbeumo on the ball in the final third, linking up with Mathias Jensen moving forward from midfield, the chances came. The Bees almost opened the scoring when Mbeumo arrived late on to a deep Benrahma cross but could not convert at the far post. But, moments later, they were ahead.
It took a superb tackle from Reece Burke to prevent Watkins finishing when he got on to a clever Benrahma pass after the ball had been worked through midfield. The resulting corner was played short to Benrahma, he wriggled free and curled a shot from the edge of the penalty area past George Long and in to the net. The Algerian celebrated by removing his shirt to reveal a message for his father, who died last week, and The Bees had the lead. And for the next ten minutes they put Hull to the sword.
There was a great chance just after the goal when passes were exchanged brilliantly inside the penalty area. Watkins and Benrahma were involved and Jensen shot from eight yards, but Stephen Kingsley made a miraculous block inches from his line. The ball bounced loose, but Jensen could not force it in. When Jensen won the ball back by the corner flag moments later, he set up Mbeumo but there was more power than bend on the shot and the ball flew wide. That did, however, set up a spell that ended with a second goal.
Hull tried to play the ball out of defence and Jensen won it back again, Benrahma set up Mbeumo and it took a fine save with his legs from Long to keep the ball out. The resulting corner was played short and Benrahma dribbled in to space, he delivered a cross that Watkins was able to meet at the far post. The header lacked power but bounced up awkwardly, Long fell over and Burke misjudged his jump so he could only help it on its way in to the net. Watkins claimed a goal that Burke certainly did not want and Brentford had two.
Hull appeared to be rocking but responded extremely well. There was no sign that Brentford eased off in any way, but Hull started to get in to attacking positions and had chances. Eric Lichaj lashed well over when a cross found him on the edge of the penalty area and when a corner dropped loose soon after, Burke swivelled and shot wide.
When Hull got their goal just before the half hour, however, it owed little to their own play. Ryan Tafazolli played an aimless ball forward and it ran through towards David Raya. The Brentford goalkeeper failed to deal with the bobbling ball, and it bounced past him, having enough pace to beat the desperate scramble and roll over the line. A goal out of nothing had brought Hull back in to a game they were almost out of and Brentford had to respond.
While Raya was heckled by the home fans, his footwork was immaculate for the rest of the half, and, indeed, the game, and Brentford dominated. The Bees should have restored their two-goal lead within three minutes as they again cut through their hosts. Mbeumo’s run down the right ended with a pass inside, Watkins dummied to allow Jensen and Josh Dasilva to feed it on to Benrahma. The shot eventually came in from Benrahma but was blocked on the line. Hull scrambled it away and when Jensen sent a shot back towards the bottom corner, Long saved superbly low down.
Benrahma saw a shot saved and then hit a free kick in to a defensive wall as Brentford took control again in the later stages of the first half, without adding to their lead. And they almost lost that lead at the start of the second period. Jackson Irvine shot over from the edge of the penalty area when well placed before Raya had to get down well to hold on to a low cross from Keane Lewis-Potter with Josh Magennis lurking.
Kingsley also had a shot blocked as Hull pushed Brentford back just after half time. They got their whole team higher up the pitch, which condensed the space and made it difficult for Brentford to play their way up the pitch after half time. A strong wind that affected the game was also blowing in to Brentford faces in the second period and that increased the difficulty for The Bees.
But Brentford ruthlessly exploited the high Hull line to get their third goal but before the hour mark. Ethan Pinnock played a delicious pass down the left channel and Rico Henry raced in behind Lichaj, leaving him for dead. He played a first time cross that enabled Watkins to drift in between the central defenders and head in from ten yards. The striker moved to 20 for the season and two for the game with a superb header but he acknowledged the work done in the build-up.
And with the two-goal advantage restored, Brentford moved through the gears. They could have got a fourth when a Jensen cross found Mbeumo in space in the penalty area, but the first-time volley flew over the bar. Mbeumo had more time than he realised and could have brought the ball down. The next time Mbeumo was faced with a decision in the final third, he made a brilliant one and Brentford had four.
Mbeumo burst in to space on the right, playing and give and go with Jensen and darting behind Kingsley. Watkins made a run to the near post, but he cut the ball back to Benrahma 14 yards out and the ball was lashed powerfully past Long and in to the net. Benrahma gave the goalkeeper no chance with an unerring finish as Brentford brilliantly cut Hull apart to kill the game off.
Hull tried to respond as George Honeyman got on to a Tom Eaves pass and smashed a shot across the face of goal. Marcus Maddison also fired wide from distance and then hit a free kick well over the bar but with Hull trying to push for goals, there was space for Brentford. The Bees counter-attacked at will in the later stages and the win could have been even more convincing than it was.
Benrahma shot over from another Mbeumo cut back and substitute Emiliano Marcondes went close with a deflected effort which flew just wide after Watkins had fed a cross in to his path. Benrahma saw a shot blocked when Jensen led a counter-attack soon after. The ball then bounced loose and Benrahma crossed, Joel Valencia met it with a stinging volley was that blocked and then got another shot away that Burke somehow diverted away from goal.
Raya tipped a Maddison chip over the bar as the minutes ticked down, but the intensity had gone out of the game and Brentford had it won. The only question was whether they could add to their tally. That was emphatically answered with five minutes left on the clock.
Jensen was at the centre of the fifth goal. He burst from deep and set up Valencia on the right. The first shot was blocked after Valencia cut inside and he let fly again with an effort that Long saved. The ball sat up for Benrahma and he placed it over Long and in to the top corner to claim his hat-trick.
Tom Eaves shot well wide for Hull, but Brentford kept pushing, looking for more goals. Emiliano Marcondes let fly with a dipping, swerving shot that Long did well to push out and the follow-up effort from Christian Nørgaard – who set the tempo throughout at the base of the midfield – just eluded Halil Dervişoğlu, on for his league debut, the 1000th player to represent The Bees in the Football League. Benrahma shot well over at the death before referee Darren Bond brought the game to a close and Brentford had the win.
Hull City: Long; Lichaj, Burke, Tafazolli, Kingsley; Lopes, Irvine (sub Kane 67 mins); Wilks (sub Maddison 59 mins), Honeyman, Lewis-Potter; Magennis (sub Eaves 59 mins)
Subs (not used): Ingram, Batty, McLoughlin, Balogh
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jeanvier, Pinnock, Henry; Jensen, Nørgaard, Dasilva (sub Marcondes 72 mins); Mbeumo (sub Valencia 72 mins), Watkins (sub Dervişoğlu 82 mins), Benrahma
Subs (not used): Daniels, Roerslev, Racic, Yearwood
Bookings: Benrahma (13 mins) (fourth of season)