Brentford 1, Everton 1

Above: photograph; Brentford FC

Second season: close call

There is a dressing room superstition, it is rumoured, that the Brentford starting line-up will not set foot on the pitch until skipper Pontus Jansson has trotted out ahead of them. Fanciful? Maybe so, but if true the absence of Pontus may have explained the home team’s inability to convert a hatful of chances when Everton came to call at at the Gtech Stadium.

The Bees should not have lacked confidence, having claimed a point at Leicester and then, with myriad changes made before and during the Carabao Cup second-round 2-0 victory at Colchester, seen off the League Two side without incident.

But Everton, of sterner stuff of course, were sparky enough to go ahead through talented winger Anthony Gordon after 24 minutes, during which Brentford had offered only a soft shot by Bryan Mbeumo that drifted wide of a post.

The second half saw Everton continue to offer pretty football, but David Raya was rarely troubled. At the other end, keeper Jordan Pickford was a safe pair of hands, but remonstrated with his defence whenever Brentford looked as though they might penetrate even his skills.

Mbeumo squandered two chances and a trio of excellent efforts, from stand-in captain Christian Norgaard, Matthias Jensen and Ivan Toney all hitting various areas of post and crossbar. The rebound after Toney’s effort fell to an onrushing Yoane Willa, who most uncharacteristically ignored a gaping goal and despatched the ball high into a stand.

Full-back Aaron Hickey played in exemplary fashion once again, while visiting striker Alex Iwobi survived a penalty appeal for handball. Oh yes, and Vitaly Janelt had a header saved.

It was a substitute duo who unlocked the Everton cupboard. Hickey clipped a pass that found Wissa, once again uncharacteristically, unmarked in front of goal. His careful header beat Pickford easily, and Brentford chased off in celebration while the goalkeeper gave his defence some more stick.

Other than some bad-tempered pushing and shoving there was little more drama in the five minutes plus add-on remaining, leaving Thomas Frank to tell BBC Sport, ‘It’s a game we should win nine out of ten times. We created seven big chances and hit the woodwork three times.’

‘Fair enough,’ I told my my constant companion.

‘I counted eight big chances,’ said Charlie.

Brentford: Raya; Hickey, M Jorgensen (substitute Baptiste 68), Mee, Henry; Dasilva (Bech Sørensen 90+2), Nørgaard (Janelt 69), Jensen; Mbeumo (Damsgaard 78), Toney, Wissa (Lewis-Potter 68).

Everton: Pickford; Holgate (sub Keane 68), Coady, Tarkowski; Patterson, Onana (Davies 78), Iwobi, Gordon; Mikolenko (Vinagre 86); McNeil (Rondón 86), Gray.


Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor of the Bees United supporters’ group. Photographs by Liz Vercoe.

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