Brentford almost pulled off a classic smash-n-grab at Villa Park on Wednesday night, and if it weren’t for Jonathan Kodjia’s last gasp equalizer, the Bees would have snatched all three points.
Dean Smith picked an unchanged eleven once again, despite one or two starting to tire in Sunday’s win over Sheffield Wednesday, and the visitors were on the back foot for much of the first period as Villa refused to allow the Bees to settle and pressed hard themselves.
It was clear that Steve Bruce and his players were in no mood to sit back and allow Brentford to dictate play, and Villa were very impressive and powerful as they mounted wave after wave of attacks, so it was against the run of play that the bees took the lead.
Sergi Canos delivered a great cross to the far post, where Ollie Watkins cushioned a header into the path of Neil Maupay who smashed the ball home emphatically – there was a long way to go however – and the first step was to get to half time ahead. That didn’t’ happen.
Kodjia, who looked back to his best on the night, turned Ezri Konsa brilliantly inside the area and smashed home past an exposed Daniel Bentley – talk at half time was if we could hang on or would get swept away in the second period, as well as the alleged stamp by Neil Maupay on Villa’s John McGinn, that could see the Bees players retrospectively banned for three games. Substitutions were also needed.
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Villa kept up the pressure for the first 20 minutes after the break, but once Yennaris and Makotjo and come on for MacLoeod and McEachran, and the disappointing Sergi Canos had made way for Benrahma, the Bees were back in the contest.
Maupay was played through and just missed getting a decisive touch, as Villa started to tire – then came the moment that seemed so unlikely earlier in the evening – Watkins’ shot was parried into the path of Maupay who toe-poked it over the line to send the Bees section potty.
Unfortunately, as we saw in the first period, Villa fought back to equalize, and it was the Villa fans who would have gone home relieved that in Jonathan Kodjia they have one of the finest rescue buttons in the division.
Obviously it was galling to have come so close to have won the match, but if we are being honest, a draw was a superb result – Brentford were far from their best, and until the final phases looked a team about to get beaten.
Dean Smith will have to shuffle the pack slightly as we take on Blackburn at Ewood Park on Saturday – but to remain unbeaten after a backs to the wall trip to Villa is a great outcome and bodes well for the weeks ahead.
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