WBA 1 BRENTFORD 1

Stewart Purvis was in the away end at the Hawthorns to see something special happen there at 90 minutes.

 

Yes it was “daylight robbery’, a ‘steal’ and a ‘smash and grab raid’ after a ‘one sided match’, but just for once it was our daylight robbery, our steal that got away with a point after a match when we definitely weren’t the side that was in charge.

And it could, just could, give Brentford the momentum to fight their way out of a terrible run of form.

Three players -Henry, Macondes and Watkins- were back in the starting line up after injuries. None would finish the game, but they all made important contributions.

From the start it was clear Rico Henry couldn’t wait to get back into action. The problem was that most of the action was on the other side of the pitch where Harvey Barnes, on loan to WBA from Leicester, was able to get round Henrik Dalsgaard time and again and get a cross over. The best chance came in the first five minutes when Rodriguez couldn’t put one away under pressure from Henry.

By comparison Brentford’s first decent shot, from Watkins, didn’t come until the game was a quarter of an hour old.

Then came a half hour siege of the Bees goal, cross after cross, chance after chance. We’d seen it at Derby, at Preston, and at QPR but this time it was also miss after miss by the home side. Bentley deserved credit for a more confident performance, maybe it was because Bees weren’t playing out from the back. Mepham and Konsa showed no sign of the youthful panic they’ve been accused of in recent games, Macondes was having one of his best games and Alan Judge even managed to play the ball with his pelvis while laying on the ground with the ball between his legs.

The net effect was that much to everyone’s surprise half-time was reached with West Brom not managing to score a single goal of the six or seven that seemed likely. They may have the words of Psalm 23 ’The Lord is  my Shepherd’ printed in giant letters on one stand but somebody definitely wasn’t listening for them  this night.

In the away end Bees fans stayed warm with a chorus of ‘Sweet Caroline’ sung in unison with the Baggies fans in the other haif of the Smethwick End, drunk cups of Bovril and a very few brave souls ate West Brom-branded pork scratchings.

Suitably revived they found their team had come out for the second half also with renewed spirit to face an attack reinforced by the arrival of Dwight Gayle in place of Hal Robson-Kanu. 

Nothing seemed to be lost when Odubajo replaced Henry after a worrying looking injury, in fact Moses set up Macondes for the best Bees chance so far. The singing of ‘Red and White Army’ was heard for the first time since the first 15 minutes. 

But then Harvey Barnes, who’d gone rather quiet, grabbed a goal after Gayle pushed Konsa. Baggies had got the lead they deserved overall, the result now almost seemed a formality.

But something strange was brewing inside a Brentford eleven where Benrahma replaced Watkins and MacLeod came on for McEachran. Call it resilience, call it determination, whatever it was and wherever it came from, the Bees went for it without leaving themselves too exposed at the back. Dalsgaard made some good runs, MacLeod went close and then, right on 90 minutes Macondes made a lot of space for himself on the right. He had the time and the accuracy to put his cross right in the space where MacLeod could run on to it and head it straight into the goal right in front of the away end.

Cue mayhem among eleven players and 665 fans alike.

Connoisseurs of Brentford away disappointments will know that nothing should be taken for granted in five minutes of added time. Macondes being carried off on a stretcher reducing Brentford to ten men didn’t help the mood. But with Head Coach Thomas Frank running up and down the side of  the pitch, clapping and shouting, Bees made it to the end.

It was only one point after all, but we’d seen the first  successful fight back since Frank took over. During the post match celebrations Rico Henry came over to show that the cost in wounded maybe wasn’t as bad as first feared, and a very relieved Thomas Frank applauded the fans as he survived to fight another day, at Griffin Park on Saturday against Swansea.

 

WBA: Johnstone, Adarabioyo, Hegazi, Dawson, Gibbs, Phillips, Morrison,Livermore,,Robson-Kanu (sub Gayle), Rodriguez, Barnes.

Brentford:Bentley, Dalsgaard, Konsa, Mepham, Henry (Odubajo), McEachran (Macleod), Watkins (Benrahma), Marcondes,  Sawyers, Judge, Maupay.