Aston Villa 3-3 Brentford: Bees held by late Ollie Watkins striker in six-goal thriller

Watkins struck late at Villa Park (AFP via Getty Images)
Watkins struck late at Villa Park (AFP via Getty Images)

Ollie Watkins denied former club Brentford a first win in nine matches during a six-goal thriller at Aston Villa.The result leaves Villa in fourth with 60 points, three points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur who have two games in hand. Brentford are 16th with 29 points, four points above the drop zone after the draw stretched their winless run to nine games.

Although Villa dominated possession in the first half, having more than 75% of the ball at the half-hour mark, Brentford's stubborn defence kept them at bay until Watkins broke the deadlock in the 39th minute.

Watkins met John McGinn's teasing cross into the box with a strong header and Brentford keeper Mark Flekken only managed to parry the ball onto the post before it crept over the line.

After a sluggish first half, Villa needed just 32 seconds after the restart to score their second when Youri Tielemans found Morgan Rogers and the 21-year-old cleverly evaded two defenders to fire home his first goal for the club.

But Brentford refused to give in and Mathias Jorgensen halved Villa's lead in the 59th minute when he attempted to turn in Mikkel Damsgaard's cross with his right foot but scored a scruffy goal as it went in off his left leg.

Before Villa could recover, Bryan Mbeumo brought Brentford level on his first start after his return from injury with a smart volley from Sergio Reguilon's cross, leaving Villa boss Unai Emery stunned on the touchline.

Brentford thought they had completed the turnaround in the 68th minute when Reguilon grabbed his second assist, finding Yoane Wissa unmarked in the six-yard box for a simple tap-in to leave Villa Park shell-shocked.

But Villa levelled when Watkins rose above the defence to score with his second header of the game, moving up to second in the Premier League's goal scoring charts with 18 goals, behind Erling Haaland on 19.

Neither side could find a late winner but Villa were dealt another blow when Douglas Luiz was booked in the dying minutes of the game.

It was his 10th yellow card of the season, which means he will miss their next game against title contenders Arsenal, formerly managed by Emery.