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David Brooks’ long-awaited Premier League goal since his recovery from cancer couldn’t secure Bournemouth their first win under the guidance of Andoni Iraola.
Brooks, who bravely battled Hodgkin lymphoma two years ago and last found the net in the top flight in July 2020, capitalized on Brentford’s missed opportunities late in the second half. He tapped in after Rico Henry’s misplayed backpass, completing a remarkable personal journey and seemingly sealing the win for his team. Dominic Solanke had previously equalized for Bournemouth after Mathias Jensen’s surprising opener from a free-kick.
Andoni Iraola appeared poised for his first victory as Cherries boss after joining from Rayo Vallecano this summer. However, Bryan Mbeumo’s stoppage-time equalizer denied him all three points.
Mbeumo’s heroics atoned for his earlier missed opportunity to give Brentford the lead in the second half, as did Keane Lewis-Potter’s effort that hit the post. Kevin Schade and Yoane Wissa also struck the woodwork on an afternoon where the Bees sorely missed the clinical finishing of the banned Ivan Toney.
Brentford boss Thomas Frank praised his team, saying, “What a game. We were fantastic in the second half, we created chance after chance. I’m very proud of the team.”
Iraola, too, expressed pride, especially regarding Brooks, who had faced severe health challenges but shone since Iraola’s arrival. “I’m really happy for him,” Iraola said. “Not only because of his situation, but also because he’s been very good since I arrived.”
Jensen opened the scoring for Brentford in the seventh minute with a free-kick from a tight angle. Bournemouth’s goalkeeper Neto, who had given away the set-piece needlessly, should have dealt with the shot.
Bournemouth responded effectively and leveled the score in the 30th minute when Solanke raced behind Brentford’s defense and slotted the ball beyond Mark Flekken.
However, the second half belonged to the hosts. Mbeumo missed a glaring opportunity to score, and Yoane Wissa struck the post after a nimble display in the box. Lewis-Potter squandered an open goal from close range, and Bournemouth capitalized with Brooks’ late strike.
Despite Mbeumo’s late equalizer, the day’s standout was undoubtedly Brooks, with opposing manager Frank even taking the time for a post-match chat. “I said it was lovely to see him back on the pitch,” Frank revealed.
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.