Brentford battle back for a draw with Blackburn - but it should have been more
Brentford 2 Blackburn Rovers 2
Brentford missed the chance to move up to third in the Championship, but staged a thrilling fightback to earn a point.
They found themselves 2-0 down early in the second half but stormed back to drawn level by the 71st minute – Ollie Watkins hammering home his 21st goal of the season and Said Benrahma netting his 10th of the campaign from the spot.
There should have been more goals for the Bees, who peppered the visiting goal with 20 or more attempts throughout - a besieged Rovers defence often massed deep in an effort to repel the hosts.
The Bees also had the game’s outstanding player in Benrahma, who mesmerised the visitors with his deft touches on the ball and on any other day might have had a hat-trick.
The silky-smooth Algerian wasted no time in showing the sort of quality that could yet take the Bees all the way to the hallowed grounds of the Premier League.
He bisected the Rovers defence with a superb ball down the inside right channel which keeper Christian Walton did so well to smother before Bryan Mbeumo could inflict damage.
But it was the visitors who drew first blood in the 11th minute, when a long punt by Walton found Adam Armstrong all alone on the right and he had all the time in the world to steady himself and lob the ball over the advancing David Raya.
Mbeumo headed just wide from an Emiliano Marcondes corner and Bees went close again when Watkins spirited the ball away from full-back Ryan Nyambe before teeing up Benrahma for a shot at the keeper.
The livewire striker tested the stopper again from distance soon after and after another piece of sublime skill, had another opportunity from inside the box that the over-worked Walton – as well as a mass of blue shirts – somehow managed to keep out.
Rovers, though prompted well by the experienced Stewart Downing, offered little threat, even if Raya, playing against his old side, had to make sure he kept his eyes on a free-kick from Armstrong which cleared the wall and flashed towards him.
It was a mystery that the Bees were behind at the break but thy found themselves up against it even more after 54 minutes when Armstrong doubled the lead from the penalty spot.
It was awarded after Raya brought down John Buckley as they went for a loose ball in the area in the aftermath of a save by the keeper to block an initial shot from Armstrong.
But the afternoon soon took a turn for the better. Not long after boss Thomas Frank had rejigged the formation, with Mads Roerslev and Shandon Baptiste on for on Julian Jeanvier and Marcondes, the Bees pulled a goal back on 63 minutes.
A long ball from deep reached Watkins and he needed no second invitation – crashing a perfect shot beyond Walton.
And on 70 minutes it was all square, with Benrahma finally finding the net – coolly rolling the ball into the bottom corner as Walton dived the wrong way. Ref Tim Robinson had no hesitation in giving the kick after Roerslev was upended after a dart into the area.
With their tails now up, it looked odds-on for a home win, but it needed a fine save from Raya in a one v one to deny Armstrong a hat-trick.
Mbeumo’s curler was turned aside as the Bees turned up the heat and Walton had to save again from Benrahma for the umpteenth time before the end. It was as good a summary of the contest as any.
Line up: Raya – Dalsgaard, Jeanvier (Roerslev 54), Pinnock, Henry (Dervisoglu 84) – Marcondes (Baptiste 60), Norgaard, Dasilva - Benrahma, Watkins, Mbeumo. Subs not used: Daniels, Valencia, Fosu, Oksanen