Huddersfield Town held Brentford to a 1-1 draw at the John Smith’s Stadium, further denting the Bees’ hopes of automatic promotion.
Lewis O’Brien opened the scoring for the Terriers early on but Mads Sorensen responded for Thomas Frank’s side shortly after half-time
Brentford would push for a winner late on, testing the resilience of their Yorkshire hosts. However, the points were shared, leaving the Bees’ place in the automatic promotion hunt hanging by a thread.
— AGB (@BurnsAlfie) April 3, 2021
Carlos Corberan will have been delighted with how Huddersfield pressed in the opening exchanges, forcing Brentford’s makeshift full-backs and goalkeeper, David Raya, into a number of errors.
It was Raya’s positioning that was punished on seven minutes, too, with Huddersfield hunting in packs for a turnover and getting one on the edge of the Brentford penalty area. O’Brien’s finish was scuffed and weak, but had enough on it to beat the retreating goalkeeper from distance.
Alex Vallejo had been key to applying pressure for that goal, with the Spaniard starting well in the midfield. However, an early collision with Christian Norgaard had left him dazed and he couldn’t continue beyond the 23rd minute; a sensible decision as focus on concussion continues.
A reshuffle saw Huddersfield lose shape for a period after, with Sergi Canos drifting into space and feeding Vitaly Janelt, whose shot was blocked by the onrushing Ryan Schofield.
Naby Sarr was then fortunate officials missed the ball striking his arm in the penalty area as Ivan Toney applied pressure; Brentford, though, suddenly had a foothold.
Shortly after the half-hour, Norgaard and Bryan Mbeumo were off-target with lazy efforts, but momentum was with Frank’s side after a poor start, with more aggression in their pressing and passing.
Mbeumo had been the liveliest of Brentford’s front-three, drifting into clever positions between centre-back and full-back. On two occasions in stoppage time at the end of the first-half he did so, but failed to find a clean connection at the key moment.
Using that late pressure as a platform for the second-half, Brentford found parity five minutes after the break from an unlikely source.
A series of set-pieces from the right had built pressure and a second phase of play from the opposite side saw Janelt find Sorensen, who stabbed a finish into the bottom corner of Schofield’s goal.
Toney had been struggling for anything clear cut in terms of chances in the first-half, but he was already having more of an influence on the game, breaking beyond the Huddersfield defence and rattling Schofield’s woodwork with a left-footed shot.
Huddersfield had been stung by the Bees and were struggling to build into the final third. Even when they managed to do so, Juninho Bacuna and Duane Holmes were wasteful with good free-kick positions on the left.
Corberan searched for a response by calling for Aaron Rowe and Richard Stearman from the bench, reverting back to a 3-5-2 system that had, undeniably, made Huddersfield harder to break down the other side of the international break.
That change in system gave O’Brien the freedom to come inside more looking for the ball, or attack the left channel as he likes to do. He saw penalty appeals turned down shortly after the hour and had Mbeumo booked after a driving run on 66 minutes.
Mbeumo and Demeaco Duhaney traded chances in the 73rd minute, with the latter forcing Raya to produce a strong save to keep Brentford level. Then, it was the turn of Tariqe Fosu to test Schofield down at his near post.
Mathias Jensen’s teasing delivery caused problems later in the day, whilst Norgaard shot wide from the edge of the penalty area. Schofield, though, was largely untested as his defence scrambled well to protect him.
Brentford’s late domination came to nothing, just like their push for the Championship’s top-two looks like coming to for the second successive season.
FT: Huddersfield Town 1-1 Brentford.