David Brooks’ first Premier League goal since his recovery from cancer wasn’t enough to secure Bournemouth their first win of the Andoni Iraola era.
Brooks, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma two years ago and had last scored in the top flight in July 2020, made Brentford pay for a flurry of missed chances when he tapped home late in the second half after Rico Henry’s mis-hit backpass.
In doing so, he completed a remarkable personal comeback — and looked like he had sealed one for his team. Dominic Solanke had earlier equalised for the visitors after Mathias Jensen’s unlikely opener from a free-kick.
Iraola seemed set for his first win as Cherries boss since his arrival from Rayo Vallecano this summer, but Bryan Mbeumo’s leveller in the third minute of stoppage time meant he had to settle for a point on an entertaining and emotional afternoon in west London.
It was the least Mbeumo could do after he missed an easy chance to put Brentford ahead early in the second half, while Keane Lewis-Potter also hit the post just before Brooks’ goal. Kevin Schade and Yoane Wissa both hit the woodwork too on an afternoon that proved that the Bees still miss the clinical finishing of their suspended front man, Ivan Toney.
Bryan Mbuemo’s stoppage time equaliser secured a dramatic point for unbeaten Brentford
David Brooks scored his first Premier League goal since his recovery from cancer
Brooks tapped home Bournemouth’s second in the 77th minute after a howler from Rico Henry
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‘What a game,’ said Brentford boss Thomas Frank. ‘We were fantastic in the second half, we created chance after chance. I’m very proud of the team.’
Iraola was also proud — particularly when it came to Brooks, who could struggled to walk at the height of his illness and had to undergo six months of chemotherapy while sidelined.
‘I’m really happy for him,’ Iraola said. ‘Not only because of his situation, but also because he’s been very good since the day I arrived.’
Jensen gave Brentford the lead in the seventh minute with a free-kick from a tight angle.
It was a moment to forget for Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto, who had needlessly given away the set-piece in the first place and should have dealt with the shot.
Bournemouth responded well and equalised on the half-hour mark when Solanke darted in behind the Brentford back line and slotted beyond Mark Flekken.
But it was the hosts who were on top after half-time. Mbeumo looked certain to score after being found well in space by Henry but somehow shot wide of the post. It was the sort of chance the suspended Toney would have buried.
To hammer that point home, minutes later Yoane Wissa hit the post after some fleet footwork in the box. He had done well to fashion the chance himself, but will have been disappointed not to convert it.
Brentford took an early lead through Mathias Jensen’s free kick in the seventh minute
Neto was caught out by Jansen’s free kick and could only stop the ball from behind his line
Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke levelled before the break after a swift counter attack
Brentford (4-3-3): Flekken 5.5; Hickey 7 (Olakigbe 82min), Pinnock 6.5, Mee 6.5 (Collins 81), Henry 5.5; Janelt 6 (Onyeka 71, 6), Norgaard 7.5, Jensen 7.5 (Ajer 81); Mbeumo 7, Wissa 6, Schade 6.5 (Lewis-Potter 71, 5.5).
Scorers: Jensen 7, Mbeumo 90+3.
Manager: Thomas Frank 6.5.
Bournemouth (4-2-3-1): Neto 5.5; Aarons 6.5, Zabarnyi 7, Senesi 6, Kerkez 7; Cook 6, Billing 7.5; Semenyo 7 (Brooks 60, 7.5), CHRISTIE 8 (Mepham 87), Kluivert 6.5 (Tavernier 71, 7); Solanke 7.5.
Scorers: Solanke 30, Brooks 77.
Booked: Aarons, Neto.
Manager: Andoni Iraola 6.5.
Referee: Bobby Madley 6.
Lewis-Potter will have been more than disappointed when he conspired to miss a wide open goal from a yard or two out, especially when Bournemouth went up the other end and scored.
Substitute Marcus Tavernier pounced on a weak Henry backpass and set up Brooks to tap in what looked the winner.
There was a late twist when Mbeumo took a long ball by Nathan Collins in his stride with a sublime spin, left the Bournemouth backline behind him and passed the ball beyond Neto.
It was a deserved equaliser, but the day still belonged to Brooks. Even opposing manager Frank came over for a chat at full time. ‘I said it was lovely to see him back on the pitch,’ the Dane revealed, ‘very, very nice.’