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Beesotted’s Jim Levack looks back at a memorable evening under the Gtech lights against Manchester United… and a reminder to those who left when they scored not to give up on this Bees team.

As Brentford’s new fans yet to taste real adversity scuttled down the gangways and away into the night, it felt like history repeating itself.

It was akin to the stunned silence when Huddersfield won on penalties at Griffin Park almost 30 years earlier. Mundee and Bates were the spot-kick culprits that night but there were no villains here.

Even though this Man Utd sucker punch didn’t have that season ending feel to it, it felt close. A devastating low blow in an injury-ravaged campaign from which the squad might struggle to get up off the canvas.

Injustice heaped upon bad luck heaped upon fine margins always narrowly going the wrong way, this was worse because the performance had been so incredible.

But those who left early to get the first bus simply didn’t know or believe that this Bees side would fight to the end in what will be a pivotal moment in the season.

Thomas Frank’s side were 180 seconds away from grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons despite being a statistician’s dream on the night.

Four woodwork hits, 85 touches in the opposition box, countless shots, crosses and corners… but nothing to show for it. Bad luck, last-ditch defending and ‘will they, won’t they?’ VAR calls not for the first time confounding us.

But there was no feeling sorry for themselves here, Instead, every man in red and white shook themselves down, responded to the resilience of the 99% of fans who’d stayed and scored the goal which will should mark a turning point.

This was a night when youngsters became men and men became leaders.

Yegor Yarmolyuk and Keane Lewis-Potter were outstanding, oozing positivity as they repeatedly took the game to the £1.4 billion United squad.

The young Ukrainian, eased into the side judiciously by Frank, epitomised Brentford’s energy and will earn himself a host of new admirers if he maintains this kind of form.

Lewis-Potter revelled in the left wing-back role – the vast expanse of pitch ahead of him – repeatedly driving into the final third where the unquestionable trickery we’ve seen too little of, came to the fore. He’s a confidence player and this display should give him plenty.

The men who became leaders were Vitaly Janelt, combative, powerful and strong across the middle, while Nathan Collins and Kristoffer Ajer looked like an understanding is growing alongside the experience of Zanka.

The trio barely gave United’s strikers a sniff all night, decisive in the tackle and powerful in the air. Again confidence breeds confidence.

Their never-say-die spirit was infectious too. Saman Ghoddos’ late tackle was as good as a goal and underlined the character now coursing through the side.

The return of Bryan Mbeumo was – just as at Burnley – like lighting the blue touchpaper, his first touch an exquisite ball into the path of the irrepressible Toney whose bootlace was adjudged to have been interfering with play.

Wissa ran and ran, jumping in for challenges he had no right to win… and winning them. Roerslev cementing a growing reputation as a fast-improving right back fully justifying his Danish call-up. Flekken is now fully up to speed and Jensen getting back there following his adductor issue.

The equaliser was one of those golden moments we all live for, indelibly etched in our memories. It turned a confidence-sapping defeat into what felt like a memorable win.

But the key will be to hit those same levels again on Wednesday night in a game no less critical to our hopes of picking up vital points in these last eight cup finals.

That means the same energy, passion, desire and increased confidence that comes with having our first-choice front line back and firing.

There can be no ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ on the back of this exhilarating masterclass in which Brentford played arguably their best football of the season so far.

And while that goes for whatever personnel Thomas picks on the night, it also needs every one of us to step up… and stay to the end.

Because this Brentford squad never rolls over. So why would we?

Jim Levack