Brentford were unable to turn a fine first half performance in to a fifth straight win as they were beaten by Hull City. The Humberside outfit left Griffin Park with three points and a 2-0 win thanks to a pair of second half goals. The visitors deserved the win on the basis of their second half performance but they were made to work for it.
Brentford pushed Hull back for long stages of the first half and had the chances to go in at the break in front. But Hull held firm in defence and then went through the gears in the second half. The visitors got stronger as the game wore on and goals from Andrew Robertson and Sam Clucas in the final quarter gave them the win.
The game was open from the start and both teams could have been ahead inside the first five minutes. Brentford’s chance fell to Marco Djuricin, who brought a good save out of Allan McGregor with a firm shot after exchanging passes with Lasse Vibe. At the other end, David Button easily saved a header from Clucas inside the first 20 seconds but the visitors had a better chance soon after. Clucas got away on the left after picking up a long ball and drilled in a low cross that was just too far ahead of Abel Hernández.
Both teams came in to the game full of confidence. Hull were unbeaten in ten in all competitions and Brentford had won four on the bounce. The visitors fielded two strikers and were happy to play with a man less in the centre of midfield. This allowed The Bees to have control of this area but Hull used their width to good effect. They looked to get Clucas and Ahmed Elmohamady on the ball with Robertson and Moses Odubajo providing support from full back.
Hull’s midfield were working hard to prevent Brentford making the most of their extra man in the centre of the park, but when The Bees had possession in that area, they created chances. John Swift set up Djuricin for a shot that McGregor saved well with his legs and Ryan Woods fired wide after a fine move through the right channel from back to front. McGregor also saved a dipping Swift free kick from 25 yards and Vibe fired a snap shot over the bar.
Hull were happy to let Brentford have the ball at the back but pressed when it was moved forward and The Bees had to be patient at times. The home side were dominating possession but Hull were incisive when they had the ball, looking to get forward quickly but with sharp, passing football rather than long balls. Their openings in the first half were half chances at best, however, as Brentford were defending well.
Chuba Akpom saw a shot blocked for the visitors and a fierce shot from David Meyler was deflected wide. Hernández had a chance with a free kick 20 yards from goal but dragged it wide of Button’s left hand post. The striker also fired over after cutting inside from the left. McGregor was the busier goalkeeper and he saved well from Vibe low down as half time approached but neither team could find a breakthrough in the first period.
There were signs that a goal was coming at the end of the first period and Djuricin almost created it at the start of the second as he wriggled free but the Austrian striker shot wide from 12 yards. Hull started the second half brighter. They seemed slightly quicker to the ball and moved it sharply, particularly on the right side. Brentford had to work hard defensively in the early minutes of the second half to keep their clean sheet intact.
Jake Livermore saw a shot well blocked and Robertson fired over from 12 yards after a cross had fallen to him. James Tarkowski made a fine block from a Meyler shot and then denied Hernández with a tackle after Clucas and Robertson had combined on the left. Meyler had a golden chance but could only divert a wicked Robertson cross over the bar from eight yards before Button made a low save from an Odubajo shot.
The goal the visitors had been threatening since the start of the second period came midway through the half. Clucas picked up the ball on the left and threaded a pass for Robertson to run on to and smash past Button from eight yards. The Brentford goalkeeper was left helpless by the quality of the finish and the home defence had been carved open by the left back’s run forward.
Brentford tried to hit back quickly and could have been level within five minutes. The imperious Tarkowski strode out from the back and weaved his way forward, leaving defenders in his wake, he slipped the ball off to Konstantin Kerschbaumer and the shot bent away to hit the post with McGregor beaten. Woods then fired the loose ball wide. A Tarkowski shot was blocked after a free kick was awarded for a back pass and Sergi Canós saw a volley blocked when he met a Jake Bidwell cross.
But Hull were still moving through the gears. They weathered Brentford’s storm, introduced Mohamed Diamé to play up front and looked to make the game safe. Diamé set up Livermore, who saw a shot blocked and then fired well over after cutting inside. Diamé then set up Tom Huddlestone after a fine run but his shot was blocked and Button saved a fierce shot from Livermore from the resulting corner.
Button denied Livermore again soon after but Hull got their second goal with four minutes remaining. Brentford failed to clear a corner and Harry Maguire got off a shot that Button saved well but he could only watch as Clucas picked up the loose ball and slotted home. Djuricin shot wide for The Bees and Bidwell forced McGregor in to a save but the home side’s race was run.
Hull were attacking at will on the break as Brentford pushed and they could have sealed a more emphatic win in the closing stages. A Diamé shot was blocked and Button saved well from Meyler after he weaved his way through. Button then saved from Diamé again and another shot was deflected wide.
The final moments were end to end as Brentford pushed for a goal and Hull counter-attacked. But neither team could find a way through and the visitors left with the points.
Brentford: Button; Yennaris (sub Canós 72 mins), Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Diagouraga (sub Hofmann 80 mins), McCormack; Woods, Vibe (sub Kerschbaumer 57 mins), Swift; Djuricin
Subs (not used): Bonham, O’Connell, Saunders, Gogia
Hull City: McGregor; Odubajo, Bruce (sub Maguire 20 mins), Dawson, Robertson; Elmohamady; Meyler, Livermore, Clucas; Hernández (sub Huddlestone 81 mins), Akpom (sub Diamé 73 mins)
Subs (not used): Jakupović, Taylor, Maloney, Hayden
Bookings: Akpom (66 mins), Robertson (75 mins)
Attendance: 9,221 (943 away fans)