Brentford 1-1 Leicester: Harvey Barnes’ second-half equaliser cancels out Mathias Jensen’s opener
It is nearly seventy years to the day since Brentford last beat Leicester and Brendan Rodgers will be thankful that run continued this/yesterday afternoon.
Both sides were far from their best here but Harvey Barnes’ equaliser seven minutes into the second-half, after Mathias Jensen’s opener for Brentford, at least stopped the rot for the Northern Irishman’s side.
‘It breaks the cycle of results that we were on and I think we thoroughly deserved it,’ Rodgers said.
‘In the second-half we looked like the team who could go on and win it. I was really pleased with the spirit, fight and resilience from the team.’
This result will go down as a disappointing one for Brentford, highlighting just how different the paths both of these clubs find themselves on are.
Harvey Barnes secured a vital point for Leicester with his second-half equaliser at Brentford
After a well-worked corner routine, Mathias Jensen found himself with space to shoot on the edge of the box
A deflection from Ricardo left Foxes ‘keeper Daniel Iversen stranded as ball crossed the line
They did, though, maintain their remarkable record of suffering only one defeat at home this season – which came back in September against league leaders Arsenal.
The draw should by no means end any dreams of a first foray into Europe. Brentford, a club who were playing in the Championship two seasons ago, are still only five points off a Europa League spot.
BRENTFORD VS LEICESTER MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS
BRENTFORD (4-3-3): Raya 6; Hickey 6, Pinnock 6, Mee 7, Henry 7.5; Jensen 6.5 (Baptiste 75), Norgaard 6.5, Damsgaard 6.5 (Dasilva 61, 5.5); Mbeumo 7 (Jansson 90+4), Toney 6, Wissa 6 (Schade 61, 5.5).
Booked: Norgaard 40, Baptiste 89.
Sent off: Baptiste 90+3.
Goal: Jensen 32.
Subs (not used): Strakosha, Zanka, Ghoddos, Onyeka, Jansson, Stevens.
LEICESTER (4-2-3-1): Iversen 5; Ricardo 5.5, Amartey 5, Souttar 6, Castagne 5.5; Ndidi 5 (Soumare 75), Dewsbury-Hall 6; Tete 5.5 (Praet 66, 5.5), Maddison 6 (Iheanacho 90), Barnes 6; Daka 6 (Vardy 66, 5.5).
Booked: Maddison 22, Soumare 84.
Goal: Barnes 52.
Subs (not used): Ward, Mendy, Thomas, Brunt, Marcal-Madivadua.
Referee: Darren Bond 6.5
‘I think it was a fair result for both sides,’ said Bees boss Thomas Frank. ‘I felt we came out with energy, put pressure on Leicester, created a lot of good opportunities and [took] a well-deserved lead. Second half we couldn’t keep it up.’
The threat of relegation is still very real for Leicester with the Foxes only separated from the relegation zone by one point and two places.
This was a huge game for Rodgers who has faced criticism for much of this lacklustre season from supporters.
Perhaps the clearest sign the pressure was beginning to take its toll was his decision to drop goalkeeper Danny Ward, who had started all 26 Premier League games so far this season, and hand a Premier League debut to Daniel Iversen.
Only Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth have conceded more goals so far this season but it seemed a big call to change a goalkeeper ahead of one of the club’s most important run of games in recent memory.
To their credit, they showed little evidence of feeling that pressure. After withstanding an early Brentford storm, they created the clearest opportunities in the opening stages.
Harvey Barnes played a neat one-two with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall before his strike drifted just past David Raya’s left post before Patson Daka headed wide from Ricardo Pereira’s cross.
But it was a scrappy goal which led to Leicester’s undoing. Bryan Mbeumo’s initial cross was blocked by Dewsbury-Hall but Bees skipper Mathias Jensen reacted first to fire past Iversen via two deflections off Leicester bodies.
That opener left Leicester needing to do something no side has achieved in 23 attempts against Brentford in the Premier League – come from behind to win. They weren’t able to quite do that here but were the better side in the second-half.
The architect of Leicester’s equaliser was James Maddison. He played a cute through-ball to Harvey Barnes, who surged towards goal before producing a neat chip over Raya.
Patson Daka struggled to find the target as Leicester failed to register a shot on target in the first half
The visitors came out strongly after the interval and equalised a goal from Barnes
The jubilant star raced to celebrate with substitute Kelechi Iheanacho after levelling the game
Bees stopper David Raya managed to skillfully avoid being dispossessed whilst out of position
Substitute Shandon Baptiste was sent off for the hosts after two bookable offences
There was almost a horrible moment for Raya, who came racing out of his goal to clear a long ball forward by substitute Jamie Vardy that was intended for Barnes. Raya twisted and turned.
And then he dillied and dallied some more before eventually launching the ball long. Brentford fans were able to breathe a deep sigh of relief.
But their frustration was only compounded by the late sending off of substitute Shandon Baptiste, who received two yellows in the space of four minutes.
So a point for Rodgers – and a big one at that. It still failed to appease some sections of the away support, who booed their manager and presented him with a ‘Rodgers Out’ banner at full-time.
‘I always like to show my appreciation to them,’ said Rodgers. ‘It was a hard-fought point for us and hopefully they can feel proud of their team. People are entitled to their opinion. I’ve always been respectful and I’ll always show respect.
‘Whatever the reaction, it’s okay… it’s been like that for a lot of the season. But my focus can only be on making sure we keep the club in the Premier League.’