Bees forced to settle for stalemate after late Blackburn strike
Brentford 2 Blackburn Rovers 2
A shock, late leveller from Blackburn’s Jacob Davenport was enough to dampen Brentford’s momentum in an entertaining draw at the Brentford Community Stadium.
Ivan Toney’s 14th goal of the season and a blistering strike from Sergi Canos looked like presenting Bees fans with maximum points after a committed display against their fellow promotion hopefuls.
Brentford recovered from going behind early on to a goal from Joe Rothwell, and when Toney netted from the penalty spot it seemed that they would go on to claim a win, especially when Blackburn defender Darragh Lenihan was dismissed in the first half for a second bookable offence.
There will surely be tangible layers of irritation from Bees' chief Thomas Frank when Brentford looked good value for victory for long spells. This was a missed opportunity for the now sixth-placed west Londoners and no mistake.
Both sides were in fine form going into this, the first-ever fixture where supporters, in limited numbers, were allowed access due to ongoing Covid-19 protocols.
Yet the first goal to be scored in front of the lucky 2,000 fans was almost converted by the visitors from Lancashire. Rothwell – a subsequent menace - fired a low shot which just skimmed narrowly clear for a corner.
The hosts were strangely disjointed in the opening stages – until Canós finally got the Bees moving with a right footed effort from outside the box which flew over. Marcus Forss, meanwhile, didn’t do either himself any favours when he was correctly booked for simulation in the box. It was a rather symptomatic moment to summarise much of Brentford’s first half.
There was bad news for Blackburn, however, when Scott Wharton was stretchered off in the 15th minute. The defender went down in the centre circle and was replaced by Daniel Ayala.
And with Tony Mowbray’s men confident, driving forward at pace, it was no surprise to see them take the lead in 17 minutes. Rothwell was somehow allowed to gallop forward as at least three lacklustre Bees opponents failed to challenge, before impressively clipping the ball past home keeper David Raya from around 18 yards.
Brentford responded diffidently but almost levelled with a neat training ground-style move in 25 minutes when Forss drilled low, inches past the post from a corner by Mathias Jensen.
Gradually, the Bees began to assert – and they got a timely reward, plus added fortune with a spot kick equaliser in the 37th minute. Toney, picking up a neat back heeled assist from Jensen, was hauled down by Lenihan. The Rovers defender, who had been booked earlier, was shown a second yellow card by referee Oliver Langford. Toney, the Championship’s form hit man, took control from 12 yards to slot home.
Unsurprisingly the spirits of the vocal home support were raised at this point as Frank’s outfit appeared more focused and energised going forward, but could not find an advantage before the interval.
A few words of encouragement from Frank – who sent on Emiliano Marcondes for Vitaly Janelt - saw Brentford start the second half in positive fashion; the challenge to make capital against ten-men was surely appealing. And the Marcondes tried his luck with a decent shot which went narrowly wide, as Rovers were settled into an enforced, pragmatic approach.
It was then time for the kind of high quality goal which Bees fans hope will light up the Brentford Community Stadium on a regular basis.
On the hour mark, Canos took centre stage. The extravagant Spanish winger cut inside from the left, evading attention, before unleashing a piledriver with his right foot, which sailed high into the net past Blackburn keeper Thomas Kaminski. Given the hosts’ territorial dominance, it was a suitably fitting moment.
Bryan Mbuemo came on for Forss in the 70th minute for, theoretically, added zest for the Bees as they looked to make matter safe. Josh Dasilva tried his luck with a bending left footed shot
With their single goal and extra man, Brentford never lost control – until three minutes from the end. Rovers substitute Davenport was first to the ball around eight yards out before Ethan Pinnock, to stab the ball past an exposed Raya. Against the run of play by a considerable margin, this was ultimately a punishment for earlier profligacy from the Bees.
A disappointing afternoon, undoubtedly, for Brentford, after all their aggression in the second half - but at least they still remain unbeaten in their last nine outings. Frank will hope for better fortune when Derby County arrive in west London on Wednesday night.
Brentford: Raya, Henry (Thompson 80), Pinnock, Jansson, Dalsgaard, Dasilva (Ghoddos 80), Jensen, Janelt (Marcondes 45), Canos (Fosu 75), Toney, Forss (Mbuemo 70)