Brentford manager Thomas Frank was full of praise for Ollie Watkins after the striker’s hat-trick of headers helped his side come from behind to win 3-1 at Barnsley.
The result ended a run of just one victory in seven games for the Bees, who moved up to 14th, and left the Tykes without a win since the opening day of the season.
Cauley Woodrow had put the hosts ahead in the first minute with a brilliant curling shot into the top-left corner of David Raya’s net, but the visitors equalised when Watkins stooped to head in Mathias Jensen’s inch-perfect cross from the right 10 minutes before half-time.
Brentford should have taken the lead four minutes later. Watkins hit a post with a low shot, rattled the bar with his follow-up and then Said Benrahma fired wide from a great position on the rebound.
Watkins did put the visitors ahead in the first minute of the second half, however, nodding in at the far post after home goalkeeper Brad Collins had misjudged a Sergi Canos cross, and the highly rated 23-year-old completed his treble midway through the second half when he headed home a Canos cross, the ball crossing the line despite Collins getting a hand to it.
Frank said: “It was a top performance from Ollie. I think the way he converted himself to a number nine from a number 10 is impressive, not only today but for the season. He’s scored seven goals now.
“Today he was in the right position when we needed him. His hold-up play and continual pressing all the way through the game was impressive.
“We’ve been working very hard with him to arrive in the box in the right positions and he definitely did that three times today.
“I think he has all the qualities needed to play higher. That’s why we’re very pleased that he signed a four-year contract with us a month ago. Very clever!
“I think it was a good game. Barnsley played impressive football and they deserve a lot of credit.
“The first half was a very open game but in the second half I thought we were on top and should have scored more goals.”
Barnsley head coach Daniel Stendel acknowledged his side had been well beaten.
“It’s hard to accept the performance today,” the German said.
“I cannot say that, especially in the first half, we played bad, but Brentford played after 20-25 minutes, so much better.
“We gave them space and we tried to change in the second half but with the first attack they scored to make it 2-1.
“I think Brentford are a better team than their place in the table.
“We work hard for good results but at the moment we get not the right results for us. We have to accept it’s a different league with different quality and we need to be realistic with our
quality and our team.
“It’s hard to accept it but that’s the game today. It’s a big challenge for me and also the team. When we have a day like this, we are not good enough.
“The good thing is that we have a game on Wednesday (against Derby) and a new chance.”