Ten-man Brentford slipped to defeat against Newcastle United. The Bees played almost the entire contest a man down after Josh Dasilva was sent off 11 minutes in. The visitors scored two goals in the first half and then saw it out in the second half.
The early dismissal of Dasilva gave Newcastle a lift and they never really looked back. Brentford defended their penalty area well for long periods of the first half and it took Newcastle until the half hour mark to find a way through. They scored a second on the counter-attack and that was enough to give them a 2-0 win and the points.
The game was less than ten minutes old when it swung dramatically in favour of the visitors. A corner was cleared to the edge of the penalty area and Dasilva tried to turn away from Matt Targett. Referee Michael Dean decided Targett had committed a foul and gave The Bees a free kick. But Targett required lengthy treatment and Video Assistant Referee Darren England asked Mr Dean to have another look at the challenge. The pair decided that when trying to control the ball, Dasilva had committed an act of serious foul play. Dasilva was sent off and Brentford had to play almost the entire game with ten men.
There had been little action until that point. Brentford had made a positive start without creating any chances, while the visitors probably had a fraction more of the ball. Neither goalkeeper had been busy until the sending off, which gave Newcastle an extra man and the impetus in the contest.
Brentford had started the game with a back four and with Dasilva playing on the right of a front three. After the red card, The Bees kept a narrow front five. Yoane Wissa and Bryan Mbeumo played furthest forward with Kristoffer Ajer and Rico Henry trying to provide width from full back.
But Newcastle had all the ball, and it wasn’t long before they started creating chances. David Raya saved a Jonjo Shelvey free kick before Chris Wood headed off target and then saw an effort deflect wide. Emil Krafth had a shot blocked before Ryan Fraser worked space and crossed for Wood to head down from ten yards, Raya was well-positioned and reacted smartly to save low down.
Most of Newcastle’s play was coming through Fraser and Targett on the left. A cross reached Krafth, who smashed over, before the pair linked and Raya saved smartly from Targett low down. But Newcastle were in control of the contest and Brentford were battling to stay in it.
The visitors got their breakthrough just past the half hour with Fraser the creator. He wriggled free on the left and crossed for Joelinton to arrive late and power a header back past Raya and in to the net. Joelinton was able to meet the ball on the run and Raya had no chance.
Brentford were able to out together the odd spell of attacking possession, but Newcastle had the upper hand, and The Bees were unable to carve out a chance of note in the first half. And they went in at the break two down.
The second goal came on the counter-attack as Brentford pushed forward for a corner. Newcastle cleared the ball and Fabian Schär raced up field, beating Rico Henry to the bouncing ball. He released Joe Willock on the left and the midfield player fired first time over Raya and in to the net.
A two-goal half time lead was the least Newcastle deserved on the balance of play. Raya had to save a low shot from Fraser and then held on to a Wood header before Shelvey lashed over the crossbar. Schär had a header saved at the end of the first half as Brentford battled to stay in the game.
The Bees carried more attacking threat at the start of the second half. Wissa picked up a loose ball and drove towards goal before pulling a shot wide. Christian Nørgaard then headed a Mbeumo free kick off target. Wood and Jacob Murphy missed the target for the visitors, but the game was more even in the minutes just after half time.
Brentford introduced Christian Eriksen for his debut 52 minutes in. The Denmark international had not played in a competition match since suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch playing for his country last summer. Mathias Jensen came on to replace Eriksen that day as the match, against Finland, inexplicably, continued once Eriksen had been revived. The opposite swap took place in West London as Eriksen resumed his career.
The arrival of Eriksen lifted everyone of a Brentford persuasion and the introductions of Ivan Toney and Sergi Canós soon after gave The Bees more attacking threat. They could have scored when Wissa created space for Nørgaard to shoot, but his effort curled over the bar. Toney saw a shot blocked from a deep Eriksen free kick soon after as Brentford continued to look for a way back in to the game.
Newcastle seemed content to hold on to what they had. They defended quite deep and looked to counter-attack, happy for Brentford to have more of the ball. Fraser pulled a shot off target after Wood had won a header before Targett was set up on the left, but Raya was well-position to block the effort.
Mbeumo had a shot blocked for The Bees, but Newcastle weathered the storm and looked for a third. Bruno Guimarães curled an effort wide from distance and Raya saved a Shelvey free kick. He then held a low shot from Miguel Almirón.
Brentford ended the afternoon on the front foot, looking for a goal. A wonderful pass from Eriksen freed Toney to set up Vitaly Janelt, but his shot was tipped over by Martin Dúbravka. The corner was played low, and Toney’s shot was blocked. Brentford continued to press but could not find a goal and Newcastle left with the points.
Brentford: Raya; Ajer (sub Canós 72 mins), Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Jensen (sub Eriksen 52 mins), Nørgaard, Janelt; Dasilva, Mbeumo, Wissa (sub Toney 62 mins)
Subs (not used): Lössl, Roerslev, Zanka, Ghoddos, Baptiste, Onyeka
Bookings: Ajer (45 mins), Mbeumo (84 mins), Janelt (90 mins)
Sent Off: Dasilva (11 mins)
Newcastle United: Dúbravka; Krafth, Schär, Burn, Targett; Joelinton, Shelvey, Willock (sub Lascelles 83 mins); Murphy (sub Bruno Guimarães 64 mins), Wood, Fraser (sub Almirón 90 mins)
Subs (not used): Darlow, Dummett, Fernández, Manquillo, Gayle, Longstaff
Bookings: Dúbravka (69 mins)
Attendance: 17,039 (1,713 away fans)