Dasilva 84 Mbeumo 88 Watkins 90+4
Bradshaw 45+4 Wallace 55 pen
BY JAKE SANDERS AT GRIFFIN PARK
Even by Millwall’s standards, this was something else. When Ollie Watkins scuffed wide from close-range with 20 minutes remaining and then Said Benrahma fired an effort out of the stadium 10 minutes later, Brentford looked beaten.
The Bees were out of ideas – dead and buried. Surely this was going to be the Lions’ first Championship victory on the road this season? Adam Barrett’s men looked home and hosed, the caretaker manager about to maintain his 100 per cent record. But that’s never the case with Millwall.
Their two-goal advantage suddenly vanished before their very eyes and they were staring down the barrel at another game where they had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
The three points here means that Millwall have dropped 32 points from winning positions since that late collapse against Middlesbrough on the opening day of last season.
Watkins’ 94th-minute winner was the 20th goal the Lions have conceded in the last 10 minutes of matches too.
It was also the first time for over six years that the South London outfit have lost a league encounter when leading 2-0 since they lost 5-2 at Bournemouth back in October 2013.
Despite a relatively lacklustre performance, in which they never looked in total control, not even the most optimistic person inside Griffin Park could have predicted what would happen in a frenzied finish.
But from the moment Jay Dasilva tucked home from the edge of the area with six minutes remaining, it always looked a possibility.
You could sense the nerves in the visiting players and supporters, whilst the Bees had the bit between their teeth and were about to produce an almighty sting in the tail.
Before Millwall knew it, they found themselves level and then inexplicably behind in the fourth and final minute of added-on time at the end of the second period.
Whether or not Barrett wants the managerial job on a full-time basis is difficult to tell, but those final six minutes wouldn’t have done his chances any good.
It seemed like a long time ago once Watkins stroked home, but just like against Leeds United, everything was going to plan for Barrett.
However, had it not been for some early Bartosz Bialkowski heroics, Tom Bradshaw’s fifth goal of the season on the stroke of half-time would have been nothing more than a consolation.
The Polish international could only watch Nikos Karelis’ drilled effort strike the upright in the fourth minute, but that moment came soon after Bialkowski had wonderfully denied Mathias Jensen from point-blank range, using all of his six-foot four-inch tall frame to keep his clean sheet intact.
Bialkowski’s goal was living a charmed life, but the summer signing from Ipswich Town was in no mood to be beaten. The most impressive of his seven saves came midway through the first-half after Shaun Hutchinson had inexplicably tugged the shirt of Bees captain Pontus Jansson, and the hosts were handed the opportunity to break the deadlock from the penalty spot.
But after some dispute over who was to take the spot kick, Watkins’ hammered effort was wonderfully kept out by a huge right-hand from Bialkowski.
It was celebrated like a goal by the travelling fans. And those celebrations went up a notch in the final moments of the first half as Bradshaw stooped to score his third goal in as many games – tapping home from close-range after Jayson Molumby’s effort was saved by David Raya.
And somehow, despite Brentford once again making a sharp start to the second half, Millwall delivered another sucker punch.
Hutchinson was this time the one manhandled – and Jed Wallace showed Watkins how it was done from 12 yards, blasting low into the bottom left-hand corner to put the Lions 2-0 up in an away match for the first time this season.
But that would be as good as it got from a Lions perspective.
Dasilva’s neat finish got the ball rolling for Brentford, before Bryan Mbeumo’s long-range strike took a cruel deflection off Murray Wallace and looped up and over a helpless Bialkowski.
It looked like the points would be shared in Millwall’s final Championship visit to Griffin Park, but Watkins had other ideas – sliding home Benrahma’s centre to leave the Lions licking their wounds on another afternoon of what might have been.
Millwall (4-4-1-1): Bialkowski 8, Romeo 6, Hutchinson 6, Cooper 6, M Wallace 6, J Wallace 7, Molumby 7 (Bodvarsson 74), Williams 6, Ferguson 6, Thompson 6, Bradshaw 7.
Not used: Steele, McCarthy, Pearce, Mahoney, O’Brien, Smith.
PICTURES BY BRIAN TONKS