With confidence high after a three-goal thrashing of Fulham last weekend, Brentford would look to continue their positive start to the season with another win against London-based opposition on Sunday. Having managed a slender win against Sheffield United on the opening day of the season, the Eagles were defeated at Selhurst Park on Monday by Arsenal.
BRE: Flekken; Henry, Pinnock, Collins, Hickey; Janelt, Nørgaard, Jensen; Schade, Wissa, Mbuemo
CRY: Johnstone; Mitchell, Guéhi, Andersen, Ward; Doucouré, Lerma; Schlupp, Eze, Ayew; Édouard
These two sides have met four times previously in the Premier League, with all four encounters ending in draws. Keen to end that streak, an early counterattack from the visitors looked bound to bear fruit as Eze danced through the defence – but Édouard was ultimately dispossessed to bring a disappointing end to the move.
With their first real chance of the game, it was Brentford that took the lead in West London. Nørgaard’s cross-field pass was received beautifully by Schade, with the German jinking infield to unleash a thunderous curling strike past Johnstone.
The Eagles were keen to bring themselves back into contention immediately though, with a flurry of chances seeing Ayew’s header bobble wide of the post before Henry was able to block Eze’s effort from the edge of the box.
The hosts could – and perhaps should – have doubled their lead with just minutes remaining before the break, as Schade flicked a corner towards Wissa at the back post. Unfortunately for the Bees, the striker nodded his effort over the woodwork.
Thomas Frank’s side would benefit from a further chance before the referee blew to indicate the interval, but Mbuemo’s strike was ultimately cleared by Mitchell. The Bees found themselves under pressure from the visitors at the commencement of the second half, with Ayew dancing into the box – but surrounded by the Brentford defence, his effort was sent behind for a corner by Henry.
Yet a quiet spell seemed to follow, broken only by a handful of chances for Palace with twenty minutes left to play. Mitchell’s cross seemed to grant Eze with opportunity to shoot, but for a vital interception from Collins to snatch the ball away from the playmaker – and Édouard’s strike was pushed over the crossbar by Flekken moments later.
An equaliser seemed almost inevitable at this point, with Lerma also having a headed effort cleared off the line by Flekken. The goalkeeper recovered well to palm Ayew’s close-range effort away for a corner, but he could do nothing in the 76th minute when the Eagles finally found the back of the net. A one-two with Ayew allowed Andersen to dart in behind the Brentford back line, squeezing a shot under Flekken and cueing euphoric scenes in the away end.
A flurry of opportunities within the final ten minutes provided action at both ends of the pitch, with Onyeka’s cross sent behind for a goal-kick following a speculative acrobatic effort from Janelt. A dramatic near own-goal looked to cost Brentford though in the dying minutes, as Lerma’s cross struck Nørgaard – but his attempted clearance flew just wide of his own goal!
Despite a handful of further chances in stoppage time, neither side were able to find the breakthrough they craved so dearly – and were forced to settle for a point apiece. They’ll both compete in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, with Brentford travelling to Newport County while Palace travel to Plymouth Argyle.