Relentless Brentford storm back to beat Charlton in a thriller
Brentford 2 Charlton 1
Brentford made it six wins in a row – five since the restart - to keep up the relentless pressure on Leeds and West Brom in the race for promotion.
They conceded a first goal since the end of lockdown and trailed at the interval, but they never stopped playing their football and got their reward after applying a suffocating tourniquet on the increasingly tormented visitors.
They are back to within two points of Albion, with four to play. The Midlanders have a game in hand and their match at home to Derby tomorrow will be full of pressure, as the Rams are chasing the play-offs.
The Addicks played their part in a compelling encounter, fighting every inch of the way to get something out of the game they badly wanted points from in their increasingly fraught battle to beat the drop.
But they simply could not hold onto the ball long enough to stem the tide and after Said Benrahma had drawn the home side level, Ethan Pinnock popped up to head in an 85th minute winner.
The Addicks stunned the Bees by taking an eighth minute lead through Macauley Bonne – a close range header after Jake Forster-Caskey had nodded a cross goalwards.
Credit for the goal also goes to Johnny Williams, whose scampering run down the left flank paved the way for Alfie Doughty to lift the telling ball into the danger area.
It was Bonne’s ninth goal of the campaign and first since the Boxing Day win against Bristol City.
Brentford’s response was impressive. Upping the gears, Mat Jensen almost netted with a deft far-post header which Phillips had to tip over, then Christian Norgaard advanced into space before unleashing a venomous drive which flew just wide.
From a corner, Jason Pearce almost doubled Charlton’s lead, his left-foot volley clipping the top of the crossbar, but the hosts continued to pose the greater threat. They are side who always look to have goals in them.
Benrahma was a whisker away from adding to the three goals he hit against Wigan on Saturday, first with a curler from the edge of the box and then with another snap-shot inches over from that favoured position of his on the left edge of the penalty area.
Josh Dasilva tried his luck from the opposite side of the box early in the second half and the effort was again a shade off beam, albeit not by much.
Bryan Mbeumo set up Benrahma for a strike that went straight into the gloves of Dillon Phillips and there was yet another shot flashed just over by the mercurial playmaker as we passed the hour mark.
A lovely little give-and-go with Ollie Watkins created another opening for Dasilva, that Phillips was equal to, but the non-stop attacking had to tell.
Benrahma’s leveller from the spot came with 15 minutes to go, the result of a foul he drew himself from Josh Cullen. It was the Algerian’s 15th goal of the season.
There was only going to be one winner after that. Dasilva smacked a post with seven to go and it hardly seemed to matter, given the unceasing nature of the home attacks and in the very next moment, sub Emiliano Marcondes swung in a cross that Pinnock got a head to at the far post to make it 2-1.
It was a great time to bag only his second goal of the campaign and it was richly deserved.
Brentford: David Raya – Henry, Pinnock, Jansson, Roerslev (Dalsgaard 61) – Dasilva, Norgaard. Jensen (Marcondes 61) – Benrahma, Watkins, Mbeumo (Dervisoglu 81). Subs not used: Thompson, Valencia, Jeanvier, Fosu, Daniels, Zamburek
Charlton: Phillips – Lockyer, Pearce, Sarr – Matthews, Cullen, Field (Pratley 56), Forster-Caskey (Morgan 72), Doughty (Oshilaja 72) – Bonne (Aneke 77), Williams (Lapslie 56). Subs not used: Purrington, Amos, McGeady, Davison