Swansea City scored an equaliser inside the final 15 minutes as Brentford were held to a draw on a cold November evening. Another Ivan Toney goal had put The Bees in front and while they had to withstand pressure, they held the lead in the final stages of the game. But André Ayew tapped in from close range to level it up and earn his team a point in a 1-1 draw.
It was a point they deserved on the balance of play. Home goalkeeper David Raya was the busier of the two, but Brentford scored a fine goal and had chances to be two up before Swansea levelled. The visitors had a lot of the ball, but The Bees seemed to have seen off the majority of the threat before the late equaliser.
Both teams went on the attack from the first whistle. Swansea played with their wing backs high up the pitch and looked to get attacking midfield player Yan Dhanda close to their strike pair. They were content to defend with a three and back them to deal with anything Brentford could do when they won the ball.
With the visitors having an attacking mindset, they created early openings. The first fell to Ayew, who tried his luck from distance after picking up a loose pass, but he failed to trouble Raya. A clever pass from Connor Roberts almost created an opening when Dhanda got clear in the inside right channel but his pass was hooked away by Charlie Goode before it reached Jamal Lowe. There was another chance for Lowe when he broke through Brentford’s defensive line, but he fired across the face of goal. And Raya saved well high to his left from a drilled Kyle Naughton effort soon after.
Brentford were probably a little more patient in the opening exchanges. They were content to keep the ball in their own half at times with Mathias Jensen and Josh Dasilva looking to find space in the centre of the field and move The Bees up the pitch. Swansea moved the ball a little quicker than The Bees, spread the play from side to side when they could, generally aiming to free Roberts ion the right, and would have been the happier with the first quarter of the match.
The visitors were able to find Lowe and Ayew in space in attacking areas and were the closest to the first goal in the opening 30 minutes. Ayes almost got it when he got on to a Jake Bidwell ball down the line and fired in a snap shot from the left side of the penalty area that Raya saved well high to his right. A quick throw from Roberts soon after again found Ayew inside the penalty area but Raya saved his header.
Bryan Mbeumo had an early shot blocked for The Bees and hit a defensive wall with a free kick soon after. The resulting corner was delivered by Mbeumo and met by Goode at the near post, but the header flew wide. Toney looked like he may have found space in the penalty area and got himself on to a pass from Jensen, but Ryan Bennett made the tackle as he prepared to shoot. Brentford’s best chance in the opening exchanges came on the break. After a quick counter, Saman Ghoddos and Jensen released Henrik Dalsgaard in the penalty area, but he dragged a shot wide after cutting inside.
There was a good flow and pace to the game and Brentford upped their tempo as the half wore on, moving the ball more quickly more often. There were few free kicks to halt the back and forth, but Brentford did have cause to hope for a whistle when Emiliano Marcondes exchanged passes with Toney and looked to be bursting in to the box before a pull on his arm from Jay Fulton. Referee Stephen Martin deemed the contact was not enough for a penalty to be awarded and waved play on.
Marcondes got in to the box again soon after to meet a Rico Henry cross with a header that failed to trouble Freddie Woodman. And Henry was in action at the other end when Ayew dribbled in to the penalty area and looked set to shoot before a combination of the Brentford left back and Jensen denied him that chance. The Bees were perhaps slightly on top when they took the lead, but the goal was probably against the balance of play across the contest.
The goal, when it came, however, was a superbly worked one and, again, clinically finished by Toney. Dasilva, who was starting to excel in a role a little deeper than normal, started it off as he found space and played a clever pass to Jensen. The next pass was to Mbeumo and Jensen darted around the outside after playing it to get the return ball. Jensen drilled it across and Toney was there to convert from eight yards. The Bees clinically cut Swansea open and had a half time lead as Toney went to ten for the campaign.
Swansea looked to start the second half as quickly as they started the first. Lowe brought a save out of Raya inside the opening 30 seconds of the half and Toney made a vital headed clearance when Bidwell nodded a corner back in to the danger area. When Bidwell got away on the left again his cross was blocked importantly by Dasilva and Mr Martin waved away appeals he had used his arms.
The visitors made changes as they looked to find a way back in to the game, introducing more attacking options but maintaining the shape that was enabling them to have the upper hand in the second period. Swansea did not have complete control of the game but were having more of the ball and forcing Brentford to play in their own territory. The Bees maintained a solid defensive shape and introduced Vitaly Janelt to give them fresh legs in midfield.
Roberts had a shot deflected wide for Swansea and then another blocked before a Matt Grimes effort cannoned off a defender and he smashed the loose ball over the top. Substitute Sergi Canós had the ball in the net for The Bees when Toney crossed from the left, but Mr Martin decided that Marc Guehi had been fouled as the finish was made. And there was a great opportunity for Brentford soon after when a Mbeumo free kick found Dalsgaard arriving at the far post. The Brentford defender may have had time to control and finish, but he headed over the crossbar from ten yards.
Swansea were putting more men forward as the final stages of the game approached and got their equaliser inside the final 15 minutes. There was an element of controversy as it came from a corner that looked to have been incorrectly awarded. A brilliant pass from Roberts released substitute Viktor Gyökeres in the inside right channel. Faced with only Raya to beat he pulled a shot across the face of goal. It appeared to get no touch, but Mr Martin awarded a corner. The Bees dealt with the first ball, but Grimes got on to it, burst down the line and crossed for Ayew to convert. The Swansea man reacted quickest when the ball came in and brought his team level.
Ayew had come close just before with a chipped effort that Raya clawed away at full stretch and he was at the centre of most of Swansea’s late attacking play, dropping deeper to influence the game. Ayew also thought he had won the game when he headed in with the final touch of the contest but was adjudged to be offside. That was not, however, the only late chance. Gyökeres got on to a cross and headed wide and Ethan Pinnock met a deep Jensen corner at the far post but headed over with Woodman stranded. Both teams could have won it but neither did and the spoils were shared.
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Goode, Pinnock, Henry; Jensen, Marcondes (sub Janelt 69 mins), Dasilva; Mbeumo (sub Forss 84 mins), Toney, Ghoddos (sub Canós 62 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Stevens, Thompson, Fosu, Janelt
Bookings: Marcondes (57 mins), Dalsgaard (76 mins), Forss (88 mins)
Swansea City: Woodman; Naughton, Bennett, Guehi; Roberts, Fulton (sub Grimes 60 mins), Smith, Bidwell; Dhanda (sub Palmer 60 mins); Ayew, Lowe (sub Gyökeres 69 mins)
Subs (not used): Benda, Manning, Routledge, Latibeaudiere