BRENTFORD 5 HULL CITY 1

Bill Hagerty marvels as Benrahma puts a tiger in Bees’ tank to sink a downcast Hull at Griffin Park

 

Bang the drums, wave the flags, to celebrate the birth of a superstar. Said Benrahma, the Algerian-born winger who has indelibly stamped his presence on the shifting sands of Brentford’s season, on Saturday burst to fully-fledged celebrity with a sparkling hat-trick that destroyed the recently-impressive Yorkshire side.

 

Okay, someone in the crowd was way ahead in the flag department, producing an Algerian one to acknowledge Benrahma’s first goal and then producing it twice more as an unlikely story became reality. What a movie it would make.

Club historians know full well that this is not the first time the Tigers have been tumbled here. Why, it is only forty years since the Bees walloped them 7-2 at home, so it’s in danger of becoming a habit.

But back to when Saturday came, just a week after Brentford’s own five-goal catastrophe – only a refereeing blunder reduced Swansea’s second-half FA Cup destruction of the Bees to 4-1– when another stranger-than-fiction scenario left the visitors to Wales with not just egg but the entire full-English breakfast on their faces.

Would such a setback diminish the appetite of a team that hasn’t been beaten at Griffin Park since early last December? The first 28 minutes against Hull certainly suggested so. The visitors dominated while at times Brentford behaved like patient immigrants waiting for a visa to travel beyond the halfway line.

Then along came Benrahma, delivering the pass that saw Kamohelo Mokotjo slide the ball home to equalise the powerful header from Fraizer Campbell that had put Hull in front and left the home crowd fearful of further calamity.

The extraordinary transformation of a team struggling to remember which foot to put in front of the other into a razor-sharp demolition squad will long stay in the memory. Benrahma’s first goal was a work of art, with Mokotjo supplying the pass that enabled Said to shimmy his way through the heart of the visiting defence before curling the ball beyond keeper David Marshall and into the corner.

Minutes before the interval it was Sergi Canos who provided the ammunition for Benrahma’s second. The Algerian flag fluttered once more, the sun was shining and the only cloud in an unblemished sky was the fans’ worry that come summer half-a-dozen clubs with big money will be queuing at Brentford’s door.

With George Long replacing the incapacitated Marshall in goal, Hull worked hard for no gain in the second half. After ten minutes the Old Firm of Watkins and Maupay combined for a fourth goal, with Ollie retrieving the ball when Long could only parry his shot and delivering it for Maupay to snaffle his twenty-second of the season.

And the fairytale reached its perfect happy-ending conclusion when Romaine Sawyers – outstanding throughout – supplied the pass for Benrahma to send a beautifully-flighted shot beyond Long. The flag appeared once more, with the waver now quite likely wondering whether it was worth bothering put it back in his pocket.

Done and dusted, although it is worth mentioning that just minutes before the final whistle the hero of the day was honourably replaced by a young chap unlisted in the match programme and unknown to all but the most ardent paying customers. Even in this brief appearance, Jan Zamburek, from the B-squad, looks the real deal. Anyone got a Czech Republic flag? 

Most satisfactory to forget Swansea and tame the Tigers, I observed to my mate Charlie.

‘Pussycats, more like,’ he said. He can be a bit spiteful, can Charlie.

 

Brentford: Bentley, Dalsgaard, Jeanvier, Barbet, Canos, Mokotjo (sub McEachran), Sawyers, Odubajo, Watkins, Maupay (Dasilva), Benrahma (Zamburek).

Hull City: Marshall (sub Long), Kane, McKenzie, Ridgewell, Kingsley,  Henriksen, Bowen, Evandro, Irvine (Burke), Grosicki, Campbell (Milinkovic).