Neal Maupay hit a dramatic late winner as Brentford secured a vital win against Aston Villa in Dean Smith’s first game back at Griffin Park.

The hotshot had to wait until injury time for his 21st goal this season when he curled his shot past a frozen Lovre Kalinic in goal.

The Bees looked as though they were headed for a goalless draw with Villa before Maupay crucially popped up in the 91st minute.

Brentford, who started the game in 18th in the Champioinship, rose above Sheffield Wednesday, Stoke City and Queens Park Rangers into 15th.

Kalinic was forced into action early on when Sergi Canos’ dangerous volley was tipped over the crossbar.

And Maupay was upset with officials after Tommy Elphick escaped a booking as he took out the striker during an attacking move 15 minutes in.

Despite Brentford dominating most of the first half, going close through Moses Odubajo and Said Benrahama, the visitors had its best scoring opportunity.

The Championship’s second leading goalscorer Tammy Abraham released Albert Adomah who drilled his shot wide of the target shortly before the break.

But while Brentford were nearly made to pay for some defensive lapses, the Bees started the second half on the front foot.

Ollie Watkins was denied by goalkeeper Kalinic before the referee dismissed penalty appeals when Romaine Sawyers was brought down by Anwar El Ghazi.

After a seldom-troubled Dan Bentley thwarted Villa’s sweeping counter-attack, Abraham’s clash with Julian Jeavier prompted further penalty shouts – again waived off.

By the 75th minute, the Bees had registered 18 shots compared with Villa’s five and struggled to find the clinical edge in a tight game.

But that would change in injury time when Maupay wrestled the ball off Elphick and beat Tyrone Mings before guiding his shot past Kalinic.