Scott Hogan's brace of goals condemned Albion to another defeat on the road as Brentford put their five game losing run behind them in a fesity encounter at Griffin Park.
Hogan was the main difference between the sides with his goals sandwiching a fine finish from Jamie Ward whose shot proved too hot for Bees keeper Daniel Bentley to hold onto midway through the first half. Hogan though had already rifled the home side ahead after 11 minutes and his second was a predatory finish rounding the keeper to slot home early in the second period. It was another case of soft goals conceded and leaving the Brewers with an uphill task and they were unable to prey sufficiently on the nerves and poor recent form of the home side who had lost their three previous games on home turf.
On a damp, murky afternoon in West London Albion struggled to impose themselves on the game but never gave up and were right in it to the end but were made to pay for a couple of moments of slack defending. To add to their woes defender Ben Turner picked up a late yellow card for his part in a tempestuous end as he reacted to a poor challenge from Nico Yennaris. The big defender has had more than his share of injury problems in recent years and clearly didnt like the challenge from the Brentford midfielder with the melee that ensure resulting in four yellow cards.
Damien McCrory returned to the starting line up at the expense of Tom Naylor as Burton reverted to the flat back four they employed last time out on their travels at Preston a fortnight ago. With Jamie Ward back in attack against Rotherham last week it meant that Jackson Irvine was able to drop into his more accustomed midfield role for the trip to Griffin Park. For skipper John Mousinho it was a trip back to where it all started, the Albion captain beginning his professioanal career with a three year stint with the Bees between 2005 and 2008.
The skipper was called upon early on as the dangerous Hogan found space in the box to knock the ball beyond Jon McLaughlin only for the Mousinho to clear the ball away from danger at the near post.
Mousinho almost cost his side the opening goal with a loose clearance out on the right that Hogan intercepted before racing into the box, denied only by the outstretched leg of McLaughlin. Barely a minute later and the former Rochdale man had his goal, latching onto a through ball from former Walsall man Romaine Sawyers to slot home unerringly into the bottom corner.
It took Albion until just over half way through to mount a serious threat on the goal of the West Londoners and then Ward flashed his shot wide of the post. Like Hogan before him he only had to wait a minute longer for his goal. Lucas Akins did superbly well to turn Andreas Bjelland on the right attempting to latch on to John Brayford's ball up the line. Catching the ball before it went out, Akins swept the ball back to the edge of the box for WARD to drill a low shot through a crowd of bodies. Although keeper Daniel Bentley got hands to the ball it squirmed through him and rolled over the line. A nice piece of luck for the Albion striker.
Brentford quickly sought to re-establish their lead with John Egan left with his head in his hands as McLaughlin did superbly to claw away his close range header from a Sawyers cross and Hogan was frustrated by the woodwork, lobbing the ball over the Albion keeper and seeing it come back out off the post and into the waiting arms of the Burton keeper.
Bentley showed bravery to come for Palmer's free kick only to collide heavily with Ben Turner. The Albion man seemed to come off worse as both received treatment from the respective medical teams and after momentarily leaving the field the big defender returned sporting a thinck white bandage to the head for his efforts.
Albion had struggled to put their passes together in the first period whilst Brentford had been dictating play through flame haired midfielder Ryan Woods. The former Shrewsbury man was afforded plenty of time and space in the middle of the park to spray passes around, often searching out Yoann Barbet on the right, the Frenchman often showing an assured first touch to put dangerous balls into the Burton box.
Half time: Brentford 1-1 Burton Albion
Hogan flashed a header over as the second half began amidst teeming rain in West London before Albion began to enjoy a spell of pressure in and around the home side's penalty area. Ward twice saw shots blocked inside the penalty area as the Brewers looked to make the most of their pressure but they were soon back in arrears as the predator in chief, Hogan bagged his second. A through ball looked routine but hit Turner and while shouts went up for handball, the striker was on it in a flash to round McLaughlin and coolly slot home his thirteenth of the season eight minutes into the second half.
Hogan thought he had completed his hat trick shortly afterwards, sensing a chance to get in behind the Burton defence he chased after a long ball forward but was quickly adjudged to have given Mousinho a shove in the back to help him to the ground before slotting in the net. Half of Griffin Park thought it was 3-1 but referee David Coote had long since blown his whistle.
Brentford continued to look the more likely to extend their lead with Hogan constantly a menace on the shoulder of the last defender as both sides made changes for the final stages of the game. Albion sent on Will Miller, Marcus Harness and Naylor in an attempt to find a second equaliser and Miller forced Bentley into a save from the edge of the box following a sharp turn that opened up room to go for goal.
However as Albion pushed forwards it was leaving space at the back and Sawyers was keen to play on that with searching balls over the top for the willing runs of Hogan although Mousinho was enjoying a busy but effective half at the heart of the Burton defence.
With the game deep in stoppage time, substitute Lasse Vibe tried to put a gloss on the result for the Bees but lashed his effort well wide of the target. Fellow substitute Tom Field went even closer with a far post header cleared off the line by a well placed Brayford to keep Albion in with a sniff at the end just moments later as the home side kept the pressure on the Burton back line.
Tempers flared towards the end as Bjelland hauled Brayford to the ground and a naughty late challenge by Nico Yennaris on the half way line incensed the Burton defender and sparked ugly scenes. The Burton defender had to be pulled away by his own players as pushing and barging ensued giving referee Coote a busy end to proceedings. Yennaris and Sawyers saw yellow for their part with McLaughlin also seeing a card before Turner was picked out and shown his tenth card of the season earning him a two match ban keeping him out of the forthcoming home games against both Huddersfield and Newcastle.
A disappointing and frustrating end to the game although Albion can welcome back Kyle McFadzean from his own ban for the next game.