A stirring second half comeback from Brentford ended the Brewers six game unbeaten run, Dean Smith's side overcoming a 3-1 half time deficit to run out 5-3 winners at the Pirelli after a brace from Marvin Sordell and Cauley Woodrow's fourth Brewers goal looked to have Albion in control.
Having put the visitors in front on ten minutes, Sergi Canos started the Bees recovery five minutes into the second half before a brace from Lasse Vibe and a well taken finish from Jota killed off any hopes that the Brewers had of extending their unbeaten run to the international break.
Although Canos' clinical finish on ten minutes had given the visitors the lead it was Albion who hit back to capitalise on three set pieces and surge into the lead, Sordell scoring twice in as many minutes midway to capitalise on poor Brentford defending from corners before Woodrow smashed in a free kick for the second game in a row to seemingly have Albion in control. Never was the phrase a game of two halves more apt. Brentford came out second half and buoyed by a game changing goal five minutes after the break from Vibe began to dominate proceedings.
Nigel Clough stuck with the same eighteen as against Nottingham Forest but made one change to the starting line-up with winger Michael Kightly making a welcome return to the side after a niggling hamstring injury. He replaced Lloyd Dyer who found himself on the substitutes bench.
Albion were almost ahead inside two minutes as Cauley Woodrow looked to continue his scoring run at the Pirelli. A pass through the middle initially looked to have gone astray until the striker picked it up, turned and lashed in a low drive from thirty yards out, Daniel Bentley in the Brentford goal diving full length to his right but seeing the ball go just outside the upright.
Jackson Irvine also had a shooting chance from distance early on. A very nice chest trap allowed him to turn away from Ryan Woods but his effort on the turn was straight into the midriff of Bentley.
Just over a minute later and Brentford were ahead with their first real attack. Albion were briefly down to ten with Kyle McFadzean lying prostrate from a blow to the face. Whilst referee Andy Madley played on with the visitors on the attack there was a real sense of danger. Romaine Sawyers advanced down the right and swung in a cross that eventually came through for CANOS to calmly fire in on the half volley just under the crossbar. There was a real sense that had McFadzean been in position then he would have cleared but Albion's protests about not stopping the game for a head injury fell on deaf ears.
Brentford almost had a second before the quarter of an hour mark. Canos was upended by McFadzean, going rather theatrically to ground and Yoann Barbet was able to whip the ball left footed over the defensive wall but straight at McLaughlin.
Twenty minutes in and Albion were level. Patient build up by Christensen and Brayford won a corner on the right and from there the Brewers equalised. Christensen teased the ball into the near post and when Woodrow's flick on came back out off the bar SORDELL had the simple task of nodding home.
Three minutes later and the striker was at it again with his second of the game. Another Christensen corner was flicked on at the near post, Woodrow this time more centrally getting a toe on it to help it to the back post where SORDELL was waiting to gleefully slam the ball home from close range.
Twice Canos set himself for curling efforts from range as the Bees, clearly stung by Albion's quick double salvo, looked to get back on terms. Both times though he found a piece of the Burton yellow wall in front of him to block his shots. Having already seen what the young Spaniard could do from range Albion needed to stop those chances falling to him.
Whilst Brentford looked fluid and lively in attack, Albion were also looking threatening in advanced positions too. More excellent work on the right gave Brayford chance to sent in a curling cross and Woodrow was inches away from getting his head on it to turn it home. As the ball went loose Sordell saw a chance to bag his hat-trick but a Brentford block denied him his chance.
When Luke Murphy was bundled over just outside the D with four minutes of the first half remaining Albion sensed an opportunity to really grab the game by the scruff of the neck. Just as he did last week, WOODROW took charge of the set piece and as he did against Forest beat the defensive wall to send the ball into the corner of the net with Bentley grabbing at thin air.
Always a good time to score, just before half time and Nigel Clough could give his team plenty of encouragement for the second half with a two goal lead established.
Half time: Burton Albion 3-1 Brentford
Brentford were quickly on the front foot at the start of the second period and they took just five minutes to halve the deficit. Neat, precise passing on the edge of the box quickly unpicked a way through the Burton defence and VIBE was able to slot home.
Captain Harlee Dean sent in a low speculative effort from the edge of the box as the pressure began to increase on the Burton defence but McLaughlin was always behind it.
Burton briefly managed to get back on the front foot but were pegged back just after the hour mark. More intricate play on the edge of the box slid CANOS in down the left channel of the Burton box. Although Brayford seemed to track his run the Spaniard somehow managed to turn and from a tight angle slide the ball in despite the best efforts of Ben Turner to clear his lines.
Substitute Florian Jozefzoon almost marked his arrival with a goal as Brentford swept forward once more in search of a fourth. Jota and Vibe were heavily involved as the Bees swarmed forwards and when it came out to the right the substitute lashed a shot towards the far post where Brayford executed an outstanding piece of defending to clear his lines.
Kightly and Woodrow between them missed an outstanding chance to put Albion back in front on 75 minutes as both defences continued to creak. The on loan Burnley winger did superbly to outmuscle Dean just outside the box but one on one with Bentley the former Southend stopper did superbly well to save the first shot and then watched with relief as Woodrow's first touch let him down firing the rebound wide.
Brentford could quite easily have been in front themselves moments later, Jota firing a shot against the upright and from the rebound substitute Nico Yennaris twice denied by firstly McLaughlin and secondly a vital block from Turner.
The second half momentum had certainly been with Dean Smith's side and having gone close they finally went back in front with just five minutes left. Patient build up was again the order of the day rather than lumping the ball into the Burton box and when Jozefzoon looked to have drilled his cross a little too hard not many expected VIBE to show excellent skill to not only connect with the ball but guide it into the net at the back post.
Before Albion heads could clear the game had gone. A minute later and it was Brentford with the security of a two goal cushion. Vibe this time turning provider playing the ball in towards the near post from the right, JOTA steering the ball inside McLaughlin's near post.
There was little time for the Brewers to react as a shell shocked Pirelli Stadium crowd were left to reflect on what might have been.