BRENTFORD 4 TOWN 2
A hugely disappointing first half display effectively settled this game at Griffin Park as Brentford notched three goals without reply.
A goal within 31 second half seconds from Joe Lolley gave the 1,004 travelling fans feint hope of a dramatic comeback, but a questionable penalty converted by Alan Judge put paid to that.
The Terriers were the better side in the second half, but it meant nothing after an opening 45 devoid of the qualities that David Wagner’s Town side has become known for in the early stages of the Head Coach’s tenure.
Against a side known for its ability on the ball, the Terriers needed to get their foot on the ball and exert some control on the game as David Wagner’s side has during his tenure. However, it was the Bees who started the game with better quality on the ball and faster to close down without it.
That was aided by a first goal for the home side with the first genuine attack of the game inside five minutes. A ball into Town’s right channel evaded the stretching Hudson and fell for striker Lasse Vibe, who turned back and squared the ball across the face of the penalty area. Brentford smartly worked the ball into the area for Sergi Canos and the attacker neatly side-stepped the final challenge before slotting the ball inside the far post from 15 yards out, despite the fact Jed Steer got a hand to his low effort.
Brentford continued to make all the running after the opener and Steer had to make a smart low save to his left after the lively Vibe latched onto a pass forward from Dean and turned goalwards, but the Bees soon doubled the advantage in any case. A simple chip over the back four found the Danish striker break Town’s lazy offside calls and he raced completely clear before smashing a shot between the goalkeeper and the near post in the 21st minute.
With the passing out from the back laboured, Town’s only route forward was on the break. On a few occasions Martin Cranie – playing in midfield in the absence of Dean Whitehead, Emyr Huws, Philip Billing and now Jonathan Hogg through injury – found Ishmael Miller with quick passes to feet, but former Oldham centre back James Tarkowski got the better of the big striker.
The third goal came just after the half hour after Hudson was booked for handball by the right touchline. Alan Judge – the league’s leading assist maker – stepped up and whipped a free kick into the area that evaded everyone at the near post and went straight past Steer’s left into the net. The delivery was decent, but should have been cut out at the near post by one of several players.
Town only started passing the ball as Wagner’s plan dictates late in the half, with Jamie Paterson having to drop deeper and deeper to get on the ball, but the Terriers still failed to test home goalkeeper David Button at all in the opening 45 minutes as passes went astray in the attacking third.
Wagner rang the changes during the interval, with Nahki Wells replacing Miller and Kyle Dempsey on for Holmes. The latter change saw Dempsey slot in as the number 10, with Paterson dropping back to partner Cranie.
It paid dividends within 31 seconds, when Town got a goal. Lolley drove at the defence in typical fashion and slipped a clever pass to Wells. He skipped one challenge in the area before sending the ball back across goal, where Lolley stepped onto the ball and smashed it into the roof of the net for his sixth Town goal.
Town camped in the Bees half for the next 10 minutes, forcing corners and errors from the home side, but the pressure was relieved in the 54th when referee Philip Gibbs awarded the hosts a penalty. Brentford broke from a Town corner and Judge ran at Chilwell, who was adjudged to barge over the attacker in the box. Up stepped Judge to smash past Steer for his second of the game.
The unlikely figure of Joel Lynch had a great chance to pull another back in the 58th minute after he was picked out by Cranie in the area following a free kick, but he pulled his firm volley just wide from around 15 yards out.
Town continued to do well after the goal, with Wells clipping a post after a superb run that saw him turn past Tarkowski, but Brentford also had chances on the break; right back Collin guilty of a bad miss with the entire goal to aim at 15 yards out. In truth, it came too late after the first half display.
Wells’ second half performance was a real highlight; on two separate occasions he showed excellent feet to skip past challenges into the area, only to roll shots agonisingly wide with his left foot.
The final meaningful action of the game was a positive one too, as Kyle Dempsey - who played well after being introduced at the interval - got his first Town goal, volleying home from close range after Paterson's stinging shot was palmed out by the 'keeper
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Jed Steer; Ben Chilwell, Joel Lynch, Mark Hudson (c), Tommy Smith; Duane Holmes (Kyle Dempsey, 46), Martin Cranie; Mustapha Carayol (Sean Scannell, 61), Jamie Paterson, Joe Lolley; Ishmael Miller (Nahki Wells, 46)
Lloyd Allinson, Jason Davidson, Murray Wallace, Harry Bunn
Mark Hudson (30); Nahki Wells (65)