Smith pays penalty as Kelly eyes late point
BRENTFORD’S search for their first Championship win of the season continued as Reading came from behind to nick a point.
Josh Clarke broke the deadlock for the Bees after
16 minutes, exchanging passes with Neal Maupay on the edge of the box before smashing a rising drive into the roof of the net.
But Liam Kelly levelled from the spot midway through the second half after a controversial penalty.
Former Brentford loanee Liam Moore went to ground in the box, with Rico Henry picking up a yellow card for the challenge.
Brentford had all the possession and looked the side more likely to take maximum points with Romaine Sawyers and Ryan Woods pulling the strings, but they lacked any cutting edge in the box.
And once again Dean Smith’s side were left to rue a series of missed chances either side of the break to record their first league win since April.
Smith said: “I can’t fault our attitude or quality, apart from
15 minutes after half-time. We are creating chances and working hard but the luck just isn’t with us.
“I’ve even asked the lads if any of them have smashed a mirror over the summer.”
After Clarke’s opener, Kamohelo Mokotjo almost doubled their lead after 21 minutes when Ollie Watkins’ backheel played him in but Vito Mannone was equal to his dipping 20-yard drive.
Reading started brightly after the break and substitute Roy Beerens forced a superb save from Dan Bentley.
Bees centre-back Andreas Bjelland then thought he had put the hosts ahead but instead he saw three efforts blocked on the line by the legs of Reading defenders.
Reading boss Jaap Stam admitted his side were fortunate to leave west London with a point.
“We are very pleased because we had a hard time in the first half and didn’t play to our usual standards,” he said. “Our choices on the ball were not good enough and we gave the ball away too quickly.”
ELTON JOHN was in town to watch this battle for the summit.
Well, the ex-Watford owner must have felt like playing his old song I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues on his way home last night.
That was the pop king’s big hit of 1982 – the same year that his beloved Hornets led the English top flight for the only time in their history.
Well, having seen them fail to repeat that trick yesterday, it sure seemed like an appropriate track to be on the decks.
For, instead of Watford, it is the blue flag of Manchester City currently flying high and mighty at the top of the table.
Pep Guardiola’s men are unstoppable right now. With Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus plundering goals wherever they go, they are way too hot to handle.
Guardiola said: “We played really good because it’s always complicated after a Champions League away game.
“It’s not easy to score 15 goals in a week. Sometimes you have to wait weeks for that to happen. The amount of goals is not so important now – but it’s good to score them because maybe that will decide things in the end.”
But the ex-Bayern and Barcelona chief was quick to play down his part in the way City are ripping the opposition to shreds.
He added: “I’m a spectator. Managers have good ideas but, without these players, it is very difficult. But we look more stable this season and we have a good team spirit and balance.”
Aguero grabbed a hat-trick to take his tally for the season to seven, while Brazilian partner in crime Jesus made it 11 in 15 Premier League starts.
With Nicolas Otamendi and Raheem Sterling also on the scoresheet, City steamrollered Watford for a third successive away victory – and hit pole
TAP-IN: Aguero doubles City’s lead to finish a great move ■
GIFT OF THE GAB: Jesus makes it 3-0 just before half-time ■
THREESY DOES IT: Aguero weaves his way through the Watford defence for his hat-trick
EQUALISER: Liam Kelly