The Wokingham Paper

REPORT: Brentford 2-2 Reading FC – Dramatic equaliser denies Royals

Griffin park

YOANN BARBET struck a stoppage time equaliser to deny Reading a brilliant victory over 10-man Brentford in a hot-tempered affair at Griffin Park.

The Royals fell behind early on through a Neal Maupay goal, but they equalised before the break when Jon Dadi Bodvarsson followed in John Swift’s parried effort to prod home.

And the comeback was completed after the restart when Brentford goalkeeper Daniel Bentley fumbled a Swift free-kick into his own net with Bodvarsson again closing in.

Reading looked to have done enough to shut down the win, especially after a red card for Bees winger Said Benrahma, only for Barbet to pop up to make it 2-2 in the second of 10 additional minutes.

Buoyed by the equaliser, promotion-chasing Brentford pushed hard for a winner but the Royals held on to extend their unbeaten away run to four matches.

Paul Clement made four changes from the side which beat Hull City last time out. John O’Shea (suspended) and Sam Baldock (injured) were both unavailable while Liam Kelly and Josh Sims dropped to the bench with Chris Gunter, John Swift, Mo Barrow and Yakou Meite all recalled.

Brentford, who came into the game with a perfect home record this season, started brightly and came within inches of grabbing an early lead when a cross from Benrahma just evaded Romaine Sawyers in the centre.

But Reading also looked dangerous, particularly at set pieces with a Leandro Bacuna free-kick headed on by Saeid Ezatolahi, but his effort was deflected over the bar.

And from the resulting corner Bacuna found Bodvarsson, whose header was cleared away allowing the Bees to break, before Bacuna got back to block a Sawyer shot.

However, the hosts were in front on 11 minutes when star man Maupay found space in the centre to latch onto a Benrahma cross and tuck in.

Clement’s men responded well and Bodvarsson ghosted into space midway through the half, but he got his header all wrong.

At the other end, Watkins prodded just wide before the scores were levelled after an error from Brentford goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.

Swift lined up a strike from 25 yards against his old club, but Bentley could only tip it back towards his own goal, before fumbling it against the advancing Bodvarsson who forced the ball just over the line.

The hosts looked to retake the lead before the break with Sam Walker alert to thwart a low Barbet cross before Liam Moore made a vital block to deny Benrahma from close range.

The second half began in scrappy fashion, with both sets of players coming to blows early on, resulting in yellow cards for both Bacuna and Josh McEachran. Benrahma continued to look dangerous, curling a free-kick just wide.

And the Algerian winger was soon in the thick of the action again, this time at the other end as he fouled Bodvarsson just over 20 yards from goal.

Up stepped Swift, swerving an effort on target which Bentley fumbled and he could not keep it out with Bodvarsson again sniffing for a rebound to send the sell-out 1,600 away fans into raptures behind the goal.

Having taken the lead, focus switched to trying to protect the advantage. Maupay hit the post for the Bees, but frustrations began to grow for home players and fans alike as Reading defended doggedly.

Maupay and substitute Sergi Canos both fired off target before tempers flared again with five minutes to play when Benrahma was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence by bringing down Sims.

However, with 10 minutes added on due to the earlier scuffles, there was time for another late twist as defender Barbet rose to head home at the back post to earn a share of the spoils.

READING: Walker; Gunter, Ilori, Moore (c), Yiadom; Ezatolahi; Meite (Aluko 82), Bacuna, Swift (Kelly 90); Barrow (Sims 71); Bodvarsson.
Subs not used: Jaakkola, Blackett, Rinomhota, McNulty.
Goals: Bodvarsson (25), Swift (64)
Yellow card: Bacuna (52)

BRENTFORD: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Mepham, Konsa (c), Barbet; MacLeod, McEachran (Mokotjo 71), Sawyers (Judge 80); Benrahma, Watkins (Canos 69), Maupay.
Subs not used: Daniels, Odubajo, Jeanvier, Yennaris.
Goals: Maupay (11), Barbet (90+2)
Yellow cards: McEachran (52), Watkins (55), Benrahma x2 (63,86), Maupay (78), Judge (90+6)
Red card: Benrahma (86)

Referee: Geoff Eltringham
Attendance: 10,045

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