Match Reports

Hinshelwood heads the winner as Albion come from behind

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18-year-old has a night to remember at the Amex as he seals three points after Pascal Gross had equalised in our 2-1 win over Brentford.

By Bruce Talbot • 06 December 2023

By James Boardman
Jack Hinshelwood's delight at his first Albion goal is there for all to see.

Albion fans have a new hero after 18-year-old Jack Hinshelwood headed a second-half winner in a come-from-behind win at the Amex.

Hinshelwood became the fourth different teenager to score a Premier League goal for Albion in 2023 when he powered in Kaoru Mitoma’s cross seven minutes into the second half.

Bryan Mbeumo had put Brentford ahead midway through the first half with a penalty but skipper Pascal Gross equalised five minutes later with a sumptuous strike from 20 yards for his fourth goal of the season.

Albion managed the game well after going in front and Simon Adingra twice went close to adding a third goal and while Hinshelwood was always going to be man of the match there were impressive performances from Igor and Carlos Beleba too.

By the end both teams, who are beset by injuries, were running on fumes but Albion deservedly ended a run of three successive Premier League draws at the Amex with an important victory.

By James Boardman
A moment to remember: Jack Hinshelwood celebrates after heading Albion in front.

Three changes saw Gross, Kaoru Mitoma and Joao restored to the starting line-up and there was a good tempo to Albion’s early play. Mitoma ran at Mads Roerslev three times in the first ten minutes but failed to produce a final product in terms of a shot or cross.

Albion’s first opportunity came after 20 minutes. Billy Gilmour’s lofted pass took out three opponents and allowed Hinshelwood to surge in from the right and find Gross with his pull-back but his close-range strike took a slight deflection off Mark Flekken as he dived to his left which took it wide.

Brentford hadn’t threatened but against the run of play they went ahead after 26 minutes. Vitaly Janelt made an unchecked run into the centre of the box and when Jan Paul van Hecke stumbled and dragged him down the VAR confirmed referee Peter Bankes’ decision to award a penalty, which Mbeumo confidently rolled into the bottom corner.

By James Boardman
Perfect from Pascal: The skipper celebrates after firing Albion's equaliser.

But Albion were level within five minutes. A move which started on the right with Hinshelwood continued when Joao Pedro swept it out to Mitoma on the left. He waited for Gross to show inside and the German had space on the edge of the box to take a touch and ping a low shot into the far corner, a great finish at the end of a fine move.

Brentford suffered a setback when Mbeumo had to be helped off with what looked like a serious calf injury and after Joao headed straight at Flekken, van Hecke found space to meet Gilmour’s corner but headed wide from a great position.

By James Boardman
Kaoru Mitoma is sent spinning by Yehor Yarmoliuk's challenge.

After the shock of going behind Albion had responded positively and they nearly took the lead three minutes after the interval. Mitoma dribbled to the line and pulled the ball back into Joao’s path but Ethan Pinnock made a brilliant close range block. Hinshelwood cleared Yoane Wissa’s shot off the line in a rare Bees’ raid before Hinshelwood made an even more dramatic intervention at the other end on 53 minutes.

Albion again worked the ball nicely from right to left where Gross in space lofted the ball back across the face of goal. There was still a lot for Hinshelwood to do, but he timed his jump to perfection above Keane Lewis-Potter and guide a header back across Flekken and into the far corner. A wonderful moment for the 18-year-old – and in front of the North Stand too. Teenagers have scored 18 Premier League goals in 2023 for Albion, the most in a single year since Liverpool in 1998 (25).

By James Boardman
Facundo Buonanotte stretches to win the ball.

Hinshelwood departed to a standing ovation with 18 minutes to go and Adingra twice went desperately close to making the points safe in the closing stages, first with a dipping volley which Flakken did well to push out before another volley dropped inches wide of the post with the Brentford keeper motionless.

A great night for Albion but it was extra special for Hinshelwood, who probably enjoyed the post-match lap of honour as much as the game.

Albion: Steele, Gross, van Hecke, Igor, Hinshelwood (Veltman 72), Baleba (Moder 84), Gilmour, Mitoma, Adingra (Baker-Boaitey 84), Buonanotte (Milner 68), Joao Pedro (Ferguson 68).

Subs not used: Verbruggen, Kavanagh, Barrington, O’Mahony.

Referee: Peter Bankes

Attendance: 30,760