Bees Punish Slack Seagulls
A brace from Scott Hogan secured Brentford all three points at The Amex as the visitors leapfrogged Albion to march up the table.
An even opening lacked any clear-cut chances, with Brentford’s Ryan Woods stepping in with a succession of excellent defensive blocks to prevent Albion having a clear sight of Bentley’s goal.
A neat spin allowed Anthony Knockaert to turn Woods in the box, but the midfielder recovered well to put his body between the Frenchman and the ball, drawing the foul to howls of disbelief from the stands.
Scott Hogan looked a constant danger for the Bees upfront, but his frustration at the absence of service was poorly disguised, the striker angrily shouting and gesturing to the delight of the Albion faithful.
Knockaert’s precise first touch and shot called Bentley into action after a long ball caught the Brentford defence unawares, the summer signing coming to their rescue with a fine tip over the crossbar.
Knockaert and Kayal combined to slice through the black and white Brentford shirts, but they were a victim of their own creativity; needlessly overcomplicating and allowing the defence to regroup and recover.
Hogan showed them exactly how to do it moments later, latching onto a floated ball and firing past Stockdale to give Brentford a lead against the run of play.
Albion were quick to regain their momentum, Knockaert again making Bentley work, whilst Glenn Murray blasted wildly over when well positioned.
Hogan again ran clean through on goal after a clipped pass evaded Bruno, but this time Stockdale got down well to block the powerfully struck effort.
The half ended in absolute anarchy, Hemed having a header scrambled off the line after a Murray knockdown, the number 10 lucky not to be sent off for his reaction in the subsequent melee.
The second half upped the intensity, the wet pitch inviting slick passes and misjudged tackles. A devilish Josh Clarke cross ignited panic in the Albion box, whilst a Knockaert header was comfortably held by the commanding Bentley at the other end.
Hogan again had the beating of Bruno, but he opted to shoot early with defenders covering and Stockdale smothered the drilled effort. Clarke was proving irresistible on the right wing, and he ensured the Bees looked a threat on the counter as Albion threw bodies forward in search of the equaliser.
Manu was booked moments after coming on for what the referee alleged was a dive in the penalty area; unsurprisingly the home fans didn’t concur.
Hogan should have had his second after turning Dunk inside out with a stunning turn, but he could only fire straight at Stockdale.
The striker finally secured his brace in style, dribbling past Dunk and slamming his shot into high into the roof of the net.
Albion failed to muster the necessary response, and Chris Hughton will be left with plenty of questions before Tuesday night’s encounter with table topping Huddersfield.
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Glenn Houlihan at The Amex
Photo: BHAFC/Paul Hazlewood