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Match Reports

Report: Brentford 2-2 Rovers

Rovers pick up a point on the road at Griffin Park against the promotion-chasing Bees

22 February 2020

Adam Armstrong scored twice, but it wasn't enough as Rovers and Brentford earned a share of the spoils in a pulsating final encounter at Griffin Park.

Armstrong's superbly controlled volley saw him lift the ball over ex-Rover David Raya and in early on to hand the visitors the advantage at the break.

A spot kick from the same player doubled the tally from the spot after the interval, before Brentford wrestled the game from Rovers' grip with two goals in eight minutes.

Ollie Watkins smashed home from long range for his 21st Championship goal of the season, before a very, very soft penalty was awarded that allowed star man Said Benrahma to level things up.

Having to withstand heavy pressure from the Bees, Rovers remained strong defensively to take a point back to East Lancashire with them.

The boss named an unchanged starting XI on the day he celebrated his third year in charge of Rovers. The only alteration to the squad saw Sam Gallagher return to the bench from injury in place of Harry Chapman.

For Brentford, Thomas Frank made two changes, with Mathias Jensen and Shandon Baptiste dropping out to allow Josh DaSilva and Bryan Mbeumo to come in.

Despite some heavy home pressure, it was Rovers who took the lead with their first attack on the Brentford goal.

In form Armstrong got on the end of a pinpoint punt upfield from Christian Walton to delicately lift the ball over former Rovers team-mate Raya and in.

A minute later and the Bees nearly forced an instant equaliser, but Mbeumo could only nod Emiliano Marcondes' corner wide of the target.

Walton was in the right place at the right time to save Benrahma's effort that fortunately was comfortable to hold after Ryan Nyambe was robbed by Watkins.

The Algerian schemer went close again a moment or two later, but Walton positioned himself perfectly to catch the strike from 25 yards.

Walton was on a one-man mission to deny Benrahma, and it was only the giant 'keeper's stomach denying the playmaker just after the half hour mark.

A superb block from Nyambe stopped Benrahma again after a perfect pick out from the advanced Henrik Dalsgaard as Rovers continued to stand firm despite wave after wave of Brentford attacks.

In a rare foray forward, Bradley Johnson dragged wide of Raya's left-hand post as half time approached with Rovers' lead still intact.

Soon after and Armstrong's free kick tested Raya, but the Spaniard was able to hold onto the in form frontman's curling effort from 20 yards out.

Mowbray's men just about managed to get into the interval with the most slender of margins that was given the chance to be doubled eight minutes after the break.

After a threaded pass through was deflected into the path of Armstrong, Raya was out quickly to deny the striker, but bundled into John Buckley on the follow up and Tim Robinson awarded a penalty to the visitors.

Armstrong was the man to step up to the plate, to send Raya the wrong way and confidently slot into the bottom right-hand corner and double Rovers' advantage in west London.

The Bees found a way back into the contest just after the hour mark when Watkins sent a thumping half-volley flying past the despairing dive of Walton and into the top corner from just inside the box.

In search of the equaliser, Ethan Pinnock swung a left foot at Josh DaSilva's outswinging corner, only to see the ball fly just past Walton's right-hand post.

Typically, Mr Robinson went out to even things up on the penalty stakes and did just that when substitute Mads Roerslev theatrically fell over in the box, with the referee buying the tumble and pointing to the spot.

Up stepped Benrahma, who calmly stepped up to send Walton the wrong way and level things up with 20 minutes remaining.

The game opened up, with Raya staying big to block Armstrong's shot before Walton managed to beat away Mbeumo's curling attempt that swirled in the wind before reching his fists.

There was only 90 seconds of the game remaining when Walton produced a brilliant save with his feet to stop a late winner from that man Benrahma.

That was to be the last action of a barnstorming game that ended fair and square in the capital.

Brentford: Raya, Henry (Dervisoglu, 84), Pinnock, Norgaard, Benrahma, Watkins, DaSilva, Marcondes (Baptiste, 60), Mbeumo, Dalsgaard (c), Jeanvier (Roerslev, 54).

Substitutes: Daniels, Valencia, Fosu, Oksanen.

Goals: Watkins, 62, Benrahma pen, 70.

Booked: Mbeumo, 81

Rovers: Walton, Nyambe, Lenihan (c), Adarabioyo, Bell, Travis, Johnson, Downing, Buckley (Gallagher, 65), Samuel (Bennett, 73), Armstrong.

Substitutes: Leutwiler, Carter, Brereton, Davenport, Graham.

Goal: Armstrong, 11, pen 53.

Referee: Tim Robinson.


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