Brentford's six match unbeaten run ended at the hands of AFC Bournemouth as the Cherries won 2-0 at Griffin Park. Two first half goals separated the sides as the visitors racked up their third away win of the season.
Brentford made three changes from the team which drew 0-0 at Blackpool last week, with Darren Pratley missing through suspension and Sam Tillen and Paul Brooker dropping to the substitute's bench. Eddie Hutchinson came in for his first league start for seven weeks, Sam Sodje returned from injury to partner Michael Turner in the centre of defence and Dudley Campbell partnered Lloyd Owusu up front, meaning Isaiah Rankin shifted to the right wing.
Bournemouth's pre-match plans were ripped up after just 30 seconds when Joshua Gowling injured his knee in a collision with Campbell, he was replaced by James Keene. Brentford had a lot of possession in the early stages and worked hard to harry Bournemouth, without creating a clear cut chance and at the other Turner had to be alert to deny James Hayter at the other end after he latched onto a long free kick from James O'Connor.
The home side began to take a grip on proceedings and Owusu just failed to reach a teasing cross from Jay Tabb, Campbell then created a shooting opportunity with a nice turn 30 yards from goal but was unable to test Gareth Stewart. A deep Rankin free kick created a chance for Sodje but his header was off target and after Owusu had powered his way through the home midfield Campbell's shot was tipped round the post by Stewart.
Brentford continued to press, Turner turned a Rankin corner wide and Hutchinson had a shot from distance which didn't trouble Stewart, but then Bournemouth hit with a sucker punch. Keene picked the ball up as it dropped into the area, with a couple of nice touches he beat Andrew Frampton and drilled it past Stuart Nelson from close range to give the visitors a 26th minute lead.
The goal galvanised Bournemouth and they could have gone further ahead when a delightful cross from Stephen Foley found Hayter unmarked inside the box, but he headed over. Brian Stock fired a free kick high and wide, Turner blocked a shot from Hayter after Keene had skipped down the right and as the visitors continued to press a second goal seemed destined to come, James O'Connor could have provided it but he shot over.
The second goal did come in the 41st minute when Stock let fly from 30 yards and Nelson could only palm away his dipping, swerving shot. Hayter was waiting, and pounced to put the Cherries two up. Brentford tried to respond and when Stewart dropped an Owusu header Brentford could have snatched a goal but the visitors' keeper redeemed himself by turning Owusu's rebound around the post. Rankin then curled in a corner which Sodje met but James O'Connor was in the right place to clear the flicked header off the goal line.
Martin Allen made two changes at the break with Ricky Newman, coming on for his Bees league debut, replacing Hutchinson, and Tillen replacing Tabb. But it was Bournemouth who continued to create chances. Kevin O'Connor produced a goal saving tackle to deny Foley after Andrew Surman had split the Bees defence, Surman then fired a cross across the face of goal and Hayter wasted an even better chance in the 55th minute when Surman created space for Marcus Browning, his cross-cum-shot was met by Hayter, who put it wide with the goal gaping.
Brentford kept fighting and Owusu and Campbell created a crossing opportunity on the left, O'Connor knocked it back but Junior Lewis fired over the bar. Sodje then opened up the home defence with a through ball but Owusu's cross went high and wide. Brentford's best chance came in the 77th minute when Tillen created space on the left, his cross was perfect for Owusu but his header cleared the crossbar.
Owusu could have pulled one back in the 89th minute when he latched onto a Sodje pass but Stewart did well and smothered at his feet, and it was Bournemouth who could have extended their lead when Hayter lofted the ball over Nelson from 25 yards, but the ball dropped wide.
Brentford: Nelson; O'Connor, Turner, Sodje, Frampton; Rankin, Lewis (sub Brooker 70 mins), Hutchinson (sub Newman h/t), Tabb (sub Tillen h/t); Owusu, Campbell
Subs (not used): Bankole, Gayle
Written by Chris Wickham