REPORT | Brentford 4 v 2 Rotherham
JOTA's hat-trick denied Rotherham United just their second away point of the season as they came from behind twice after Brentford claimed victory late on.
The Spaniard put the home side ahead at the interval before Aimen Belaid levelled matters with a brave header. The Bees' regained the lead when Nico Yennaris pounced before sub Anthony Forde levelled matters with a long range strike.
However, Millers' hearts were broken when firstly Jota struck from the penalty spot after Semi Ajayi handled in the box before he grabbed his hat-trick with virtually the last kick of the game.
Following their last outing in South Wales, the Millers made five changes to their starting line-up for the visit to West London.
Tunisian international Aimen Belaid returned at the heart of the Rotherham rearguard alongside Semi Ajayi, who was ineligible to face his former club, Cardiff, last weekend.
Cardiff loanee Tom Adeyemi was named in the Millers’ engine room following the clash with his parent club while Paul Warne’s men were handed a pre-match boost as top-scorer Danny Ward shrugged off injury to take his place upfront as Dexter Blackstock was named amongst the substitutes.
The Millers suffered a blow prior to kick-off when Richard O’Donnell was named in the original line-up but suffered an injury in the warm-up so Lewis Price returned between the sticks.
The home side were quick out of the blocks and Nico Yennaris had the first sight of goal with a well-executed volley from the edge of the box but his effort was deflected wide by a retreating defender before Konstantin Kerschbaumer had a snap shot blocked en-route to goal in the Bees next attack.
The Millers were indebted to Belaid for a superb last-ditch tackle to prevent Jota racing clear on goal following Yennaris' clever reverse pass before Will Vaulks picked out Ward in Rotherham's first foray of note but Rico Henry was well-stationed at the far post to snuff out his clipped centre.
Moments later, Brentford failed to deal with Vaulks' exocet throw into the box and after Ajayi was inches away from making a connection, Jon Taylor was the quickest to react to the loose ball but Henry blocked his cross-cum-shot.
However, Rotherham failed to make their brief spell of pressure count as Brentford took the lead after 13 minutes when the ball was threaded to Florian Jozefzoon, who cleverly evaded the attentions of Stephen Kelly, to pull the ball back into the path of Jota, who drilled a low, left-footed effort which arrowed into the far corner of the net giving Price no chance.
The Millers' frustration was compounded when Taylor became the first to see yellow for pulling back Yennaris before Vaulks was fortunate to not join him in the book for clipping Henry's heels soon after.
The visitors regained their composure when Ryan Woods' misplaced pass saw Vaulks clip a lovely ball over the top which enabled Adeyemi to gallop away and following the central-midfielder's slide-rule pass, John Egan had to be on his toes to deny Ward from shooting goalwards before Vaulks tried his luck from distance, in the Millers' next attack, but his long-range effort found the home faithful behind the goal.
Egan was in the thick of the action and after he nodded down Jota's inviting free-kick at the other end, Kerschbaumer looked to thread a shot through a ruck of bodies in the box but his effort was deflected wide, by one of his own players.
Just before the half-hour, the Millers had a stroke of luck when good work from Kerschbaumer and Jota paved the way for Jozefzoon, to work a yard of space on his marker to fire a dangerous centre which Belaid almost turned into his own net, as it cannoned against the post before Egan rose highest from Jota's corner, moments later, to power a downward header which forced Price into a smart save but any goal would have been chalked off for an infringement.
Minutes later, the classy Jota skipped to the by line to hang a cross which Yennaris volleyed into the ground which took the pace out of it as Price saved comfortably before Yennaris became the latest to see yellow for hauling over Adeyemi on halfway.
Moments later, Richie Smallwood released Taylor, who fizzed a first-time cross which saw Ward tussle with Egan in an attempt to meet the centre and the ball struck the Brentford centre-half as it flashed narrowly wide before Henry left Taylor in his wake to present Romaine Sawyers with a glimpse of goal, at the other end, but the ex-Walsall striker was crowded out as he looked to shoot.
The Millers had a half-chance just shy of the interval when Brentford failed to handle another Vaulks' long throw and Ward's knockdown saw Ajayi try his luck with an instinctive half-volley from a tight angle but it failed to trouble Daniel Bentley in the home goal.
Half-time- Brentford 1 Rotherham United 0
The Millers had the first opportunity of the second half when Ajayi's ball over the top saw Ward in a footrace with Bentley, with the home 'keeper hacking the ball clear, before Taylor whipped in a cross which looked inviting for Adeyemi, at the far post, but the Millers' midfielder was unable to make a telling connection despite towering above his marker.
Moments later, Ben Purrington's weak clearance was pounced upon by Jota, who took aim towards goal but Kelly bravely threw his body infront of the Spaniard's shot before Kerschbaumer stung the palms of Price with a rising effort from distance, in the Bees' next foray forward.
Just past the hour mark, the Millers came close to levelling matters when Ajayi's superb ball from the back bisected the Brentford rearguard and Ward got on the wrong side of Andreas Bjelland to bare down on goal but Bentley was quick off his line to narrow down the angle as he stood up tall to block the Millers' frontman's goalbound shot.
However, the home side failed to heed the warning as Rotherham equalised in their next attack when a half clearance from the home side saw sub Anthony Forde pounce on the loose ball to deliver a hanging centre which saw Belaid in an aerial duel with Bentley and the former Levski Sofia defender nipped in front of the home 'keeper to nod the ball into the corner of the net.
The Millers were buoyed by the equaliser and they came within a whisker of turning the game on its head when Forde's corner was inch-perfect for the near post run of Ward, whose deft flick towards goal was deflected narrowly wide before Belaid drilled a low shot through a sea of home bodies in the box but Bentley was well-positioned to gather the ball on his own goal line.
The visitors were sensing an opportunity and they squandered a chance to take the lead when Vaulks' fizzed centre from the touchline saw Bentley slip as he attempted to claim the catch and the ball fell kindly for the onrushing Taylor at the back post, but the ex-Peterborough winger headed the ball into the ground and it bizarrely cleared the crossbar, despite being just yards away from the goal.
The Millers were punished for the miss, in the Bees' next attack, when Woods delivered a tantalising centre from the right flank and Yennaris nipped in front of his marker to divert the ball into the roof of the visitors net from close range giving Price no chance.
Rotherham responded superbly to the setback by equalising soon after when Brentford failed to clear decisively and Forde picked up the loose ball before trying his luck with a fierce effort from 25 yards which gathered pace as it skimmed off the Griffin Park surface to whistle past the attentions of Bentley to find the far corner of the home net.
However, the Millers were dealt a cruel blow in stoppage time when Brentford scored twice in a matter of minutes.
Following a ball into the box, Justin Shaibu looked to bring the ball under his spell and Ajayi, in attempting to clear, raised his arm and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Jota punished the Millers with the resultant spot-kick by firing high into the roof of the Rotherham goal.
The goal took the wind out of Rotherham sails and after throwing bodies forward near the end, Brentford added gloss to the scoreline with a fourth when Sergi Canos raced clear before stinging the palms of Price, who failed to hold the ball and Jota tapped home from close range to claim the matchball.
Full-time- Brentford 4 Rotherham United 2
Teams:- Brentford- Bentley, Colin, Bjelland, Jozefzoon (Canos 71), Yennaris, Egan, Woods, Kerschbaumer (Shaibu 77), Sawyers, Henry, Jota. Unused- Bonham, Clarke, Bardet, Field, Cole.
Rotherham- Price, Kelly, Vaulks, Ward, Taylor, Ajayi, Newell (Forde 60), Adeyemi, Belaid (Mattock 83), Purrington, Smallwood (Blackstock 86). Unused- Bray, Yates, Warren.
Referee:- A Davies