A brace from Charlton Athletic winger Callum Harriott was enough to give his side three points against Brentford at Griffin Park. The speedy wide man scored the game’s opening goal after just 19 seconds and then hit the winner in the second half. Yoann Barbet had headed Brentford level just past the midway point of the first half but sights of goal came and went for The Bees. And when Harriott had a chance to win it for the visitors, he took it emphatically.
The game could not have started in a worse fashion for The Bees as they fell behind without having a meaningful touch of the ball. Charlton worked the ball down the left after winning a second ball and Morgan Fox burst forward to deliver a cross, Yaya Sanogo challenged and when the ball dropped, Harriott steered it in to the corner from 12 yards. The goal shocked Griffin Park and it took The Bees a few moments to get in to their stride. It also enabled the visitors to sit deeper and they set up with two banks of four and Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson in behind Sanogo.
Once Brentford recovered from the concession of the early goal they pushed forward. Charlton’s system left space for Sergi Canós, Alan Judge and John Swift between the lines and once Ryan Woods and Josh McEachran were able to find them with regularity, Brentford had forward momentum. The Bees were not, however, looking completely solid at the back and Charlton had chances to double their lead. There was some desperate defending of set pieces and from a Guðmundsson corner, Sanogo flicked on and Jorge Teixeira missed the target with an acrobatic effort when he should have done better.
Brentford were starting to gain the initiative and Swift had a shot deflected wide before he missed the target with a header from 12 yards after being picked out by Judge. Charlton goalkeeper Nick Pope then saved at the feet of Swift after he had weaved in to the box following a half cleared free kick. Judge fired across the face of goal and then almost created an equaliser out of nothing when he picked up a Barbet pass, darted inside Marco Motta and curled in a shot that Pope saved at full stretch and somehow pushed away from the oncoming Marco Djuricin and Canós.
The 24th minute of the match was marked by a minute of applause from Brentford fans for supporter Deano Langford, who died last week at the age of 24. It should also have been marked by an equaliser. Canós turned free in midfield and released Djuricin, the striker only had Pope to beat but could not do so and the goalkeeper turned the effort away. From the resulting corner, however, Brentford were level. As the applause from Bees fans was dying down, Judge delivered to the far post and Barbet rose to head home his first Brentford goal.
The visitors tried to respond and Sanogo headed a Harriott cross just wide at the far post. From a long thrown soon after, Teixeira headed straight at Button before Sanogo had a shot blocked. Brentford had the momentum and were dominating territory, albeit they were unable to create too many chances as Charlton were defending resolutely. Woods fired over from distance but The Bees went in to the break level despite dominating most of the first half.
The Bees continued to hold the initiative early in the second half. They should have taken the lead minutes after the break when McEachran’s pass released Canós in behind the defence, the Spanish attacker had only Pope to beat but he dragged his shot wide of the far post. Swift then saw a shot saved after he weaved infield following a short corner but the game was not as open after the break. Charlton sat deeper, inviting Brentford on but confident their weight of numbers could prevent chances. The game was also more stop-start. The first half had been littered with free kicks but referee Brendan Malone issues only two cautions in the opening 45 minutes so the visitors were happy to use foul means as well as fair to slow the game down.
And when they got the chance to counter-attack, Charlton punished Brentford for their failure to convert their chances. Guðmundsson got away on the left and delivered a cross, Button rose with Sanogo and the ball dropped loose, Harriott picked it up, stepped away from the goalkeeper trying to recover and smashed it home. Teixeira also had a looping header saved but the goal did not change the pattern of the game. Brentford were on the front foot but faced by a wall of purple and a team looking to hold on for dear life.
Harlee Dean headed a Judge corner wide before Lasse Vibe had a shot blocked. Judge saw a curling shot saved and then a deflected effort was held by Pope. Another Vibe shot was blocked before Simon Makienok went close to sealing it at the other end with a powerful shot that cannoned away off the crossbar.
Brentford continued to chase the game in to the dying seconds. Judge had a sight of goal but his shot was blocked and when it dropped loose he volleyed over the bar. That was Brentford’s last chance and Mr Malone brought the game to a close seconds later to give Charlton the win.
Brentford: Button; Yennaris, Dean, Barbet, Bidwell; Woods, McEachran (sub Hofmann 82 mins); Canós (sub Saunders 71 mins), Judge, Swift; Djuricin (sub Vibe 61 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, O’Connell, McCormack, Kerschbaumer
Bookings: Canós (53 mins) (third of season), Judge (90 mins) (third of season), Hofmann (90 mins) (second of season)
Charlton Athletic: Pope; Motta, Fanni, Teixeira, Fox; Harriott (sub Makienok 86 mins), Cousins, Diarra (sub Poyet 34 mins), Yun; Guðmundsson (sub Ghoochannejhad 90 mins); Sanogo
Subs (not used): Mitov, Bergdich, Johnson, Lookman
Bookings: Sanogo (13 mins), Poyet (45 mins), Motta (56 mins), Pope (87 mins)
Attendance: 10,108 (1,175 away fans)