Bryan Mbeumo’s last-gasp penalty gives Brentford fightback win over Watford

Thomas Frank could have been forgiven for thinking his luck had run out. But after a testing few weeks that have seen his side struggle for the fluency that came so easily earlier in the season, インクルード ブレントフォード manager watched on in delight as Pontus Jansson’s equaliser and then Bryan Mbeumo’s penalty in the fifth minute of injury time secured an unlikely comeback victory.

Leading through a seventh goal of the season from Emmanuel Dennis in the first half, a first clean sheet in the league this season was in touching distance for Watford and their manager, Claudio Ranieri, until defender Jansson struck with six minutes to play. Mbeumo’s winner from the spot after William Troost-Ekong inexplicably hacked down substitute Saman Ghoddos must have felt like a dagger to the veteran Italian’s heart.

“Things were not the way we wanted throughout but we never gave up,” Frank said. “The game against Leeds last week was brutal but we accepted conceding a goal in the last minute and this week we have scored in the last minute. It’s a fantastic feeling.”

The first ever top-fight meeting between these clubs was always likely to be a tense affair given the stakes. While Brentford came into the game having only managed one league win since early October, Watford had just ended a run of fixtures against Arsenal, マンチェスターユナイテッド, レスター, Chelsea and Manchester City in succession.

For Brentford – who had confirmed earlier in the day that the club’s co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen is set to leave – the absence of top scorer Ivan Toney for the second match in a row due to Covid meant Frank turned to Mbeumo to lead the line. The forward has the dubious record of having struck the woodwork seven times already this season – more than any other player – but has now found the net three times in the league since Brentford’s promotion.

The instinctive shot from Shandon Baptiste in the third minute that Daniel Bachmann did well to tip over the bar gave an early indication that the hosts meant business on a chilly night in west London. The Austria international produced an even better save to deny Mbeumo’s curler from just outside the box before Watford took the lead against the run of play.

Joshua King’s shot took a deflection before striking the post and being cleared. The subsequent corner was taken by Tom Cleverley and headed home by an unmarked Dennis.

Brentford attempted to respond but – also missing defender Ethan Pinnock due to Covid and the suspended wing-back Sergi Canós – lacked the creativity to pierce a stubborn Watford defence and only looked truly dangerous on the break. Their victory here last season as both sides ended up securing promotion was their first over these opponents since they did the double against them in the 1976/77 Division Four campaign.

At the start of the second half the hosts struggled to raise their intensity to the required level and it wasn’t until the introduction of both Ghoddos and Marcus Forss off the bench that Brentford finally seemed to click into gear. Bachmann’s save to deny Vitaly Janelt turned out to be a warning of what was to come but only after a breakaway then saw King presented with a golden chance to seal the victory after being set up by Dennis. His shot was disappointing, albeit from a tight angle.

That was to prove crucial as Jansson’s late header from Janelt’s cross, after Watford had failed to clear a corner, gave Brentford their equaliser before Mbeumo did the rest from the spot. The win takes Frank’s side to the 20-point mark already, having played less than half of the season.

“We had a very good chance to score the second goal but ended up conceding twice,” Ranieri said. “But that is football – you have to concentrate until the end. We will learn our lesson.”