Brentford have been promoted to the Premier League. The detail of it is, by and large, immaterial. But it is the detail that made the day what it was. First half goals from Ivan Toney and Emiliano Marcondes gave Brentford a 2-0 win over Swansea City. And it was a win they fully deserved.
The Bees dominated almost from start to finish. They were ahead inside ten minutes and two up within 20. And there was no way back for Swansea. A red card for Swansea midfield player Jay Fulton gave the Welsh side no chance of mounting a comeback and it The Bees that make their way to the top flight for the first time since 1947.
Brentford took control almost from the first whistle. They kept the ball, played at the pace they wanted, and pulled Swansea around the pitch. Inside the first six minutes there was a chance for Marcondes to go for goal from distance, which he blasted well wide, and a horrific lunge by Matt Grimes that saw him booked. Referee Chris Kavanagh may have had the option to show a red card but chose yellow. The next time he had a decision to make, he turned a good start from The Bees in to a great one, awarding the penalty.
The spot kick owed much to the vision of Sergi Canós. He weaved in off the left, afforded far too much space by a cautious Swansea defence, and picked a pass between the Welsh side’s back three. Bryan Mbeumo burst in to the space behind the defence, got to the ball before Freddie Woodman, and was brought down by the Swansea goalkeeper. Mr Kavanagh pointed to the spot and Toney stepped up. His shot was low and powerful and out of the reach of Woodman, diving to his right.
The Bees had already taken the upper hand and could have grabbed a second goal when a deep Mathias Jensen free kick was met by Marcondes, but he was unable to turn it back towards goal. Marcondes was proving to be an early danger. He was playing in the space between Swansea’s defence and midfield and getting Brentford on the attack.
Swansea tried to respond, but in committing men to attack, they left the back door open. Jensen robbed André Ayew in his own penalty area and Vitaly Janelt played the ball to Mbeumo on the left. He had most of the pitch to run in to and headed in to the penalty area before waiting for support. Mads Roerslev steamed forward to join in, received the ball, and then patiently assessed his options. Roerslev chipped a ball to the back post for Marcondes to arrive and steer the bouncing cross low past Woodman and in to the net. Brentford turned defence in to attack, ruthlessly cut Swansea open and had a two-goal lead.
Two was almost three seconds later. Toney stepped on to a bouncing ball 22 yards out and smashed a shot that fizzed past Woodman. It smacked in to the underside of the crossbar, bounced just the wrong side of the line, from a Brentford perspective, and flew away from danger. If it had been a few millimetres lower, it would have gone in.
Swansea tried to build in to the game as they looked to respond. They looked to develop possession in their own half and tried to get their wing backs forward. Connor Roberts lashed a ball across the face of goal and a long range shot from Jay Fulton was blocked by Ethan Pinnock. But Swansea mostly played in front of The Bees and David Raya dealt with most of the crosses that came in from set pieces.
A dead ball late in the half from Conor Hourihane almost gave Swansea a way back in to the game. Ayew got to it in front if Raya, but his header went up and landed on the top of the crossbar. That ensured that Brentford had a two-goal lead at the interval, and it may have been more. A cross from Mbeumo deflected off Marc Guéhi and flew just over the bar. The resulting corner was headed away as Toney looked to pounce and Janelt’s powerful shot was blocked by an arm, but Mr Kavanagh had already awarded Swansea a free kick.
Mbeumo could have made it three just before the break when he tried to capitalise on a Guéhi error. The Swansea defender failed to make the desired connection on a header and let Mbeumo in. Ben Cabango managed to get back to stop Mbeumo getting a powerful shot off and Swansea escaped.
Swansea made a slight change of shape at the break, pushing Roberts further forward and playing mostly with a back four. Roberts was up and down the pitch to give Swansea fluidity and flexibility and they went on the attack at the start of the second half. A brilliant cross from Roberts bounced across the Brentford six-yard box, but Ayew dived in and headed wide. Jamal Lowe then lashed over after cutting in off the left.
Jake Bidwell had a shot blocked while Roerslev blasted over at the other end as the half started quickly. Swansea definitely had the initiative and more pace in their play, while The Bees were content to let the Welsh side have most of the ball. Canós got away on the left and crossed for Mbeumo, but he fired over on the turn. A similar move at the other end saw Lowe get on to a Kyle Naughton cross and look to fire in to far post after swivelling in to box, but his shot flew wide.
A Brentford corner caused consternation for Swansea as it flew across the box, just evading Marcondes. Pinnock got on to the loose ball and lashed in a shot that may have been destined for the top corner, but it smashed in to Pontus Jansson. The Brentford captain was left momentarily dazed, and Swansea escaped, and from a corner at the other end, Swansea’s task was made significantly harder.
Brentford dealt with the first ball and Janelt then bravely rushed out to block the shot from Roberts. Jensen stepped away on the right side of the penalty area before Fulton stood on the back of his ankle. It may have been unintentional, but Fulton’s momentum then saw him put both legs off the ground, through Jensen. Fulton may claim he slipped but Mr Kavanagh decided he had been either reckless or careless and showed a red card, giving The Bees a man advantage for the final quarter of the contest.
And that was, basically, that. Swansea tried to find a way through, but Brentford’s defence was too well-organised to let a lead slip. Jansson limped off towards the end but with Winston Reid stepping in and Henrik Dalsgaard taking over the captaincy, The Bees had the wherewithal to get over the line.
The Bees could have made it more comfortable. Marcondes lashed a free kick narrowly over the bar and Saman Ghoddos saw a shot blocked. Jensen set up Toney for an effort that would have flown in the bottom corner but for the intervention of Bidwell. Yan Dhanda fired high over the bar for Swansea and that gave Bretford the ball for the dying seconds. After almost seven minutes of stoppage time, Mr Kavanagh decided enough was enough and Brentford were up.
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson (sub Reid 79 mins), Pinnock; Roerslev, Marcondes (sub Bidstrup 90 mins), Janelt (sub Ghoddos 74 mins), Jensen, Canós (sub Forss 74 mins); Toney, Mbeumo
Subs (not used): Daniels, Stevens, Goode, Nørgaard, Fosu
Bookings: Marcondes (22 mins), Janelt (70 mins)
Swansea City: Woodman; Naughton (sub Cullen 60 mins), Guéhi, Cabango; Roberts, Fulton, Grimes, Hourihane (sub Dhanda 63 mins), Bidwell (sub Manning 82 mins); Ayew, Lowe
Subs (not used): Hamer, Bennett, Smith, Whittaker, Latibeaudiere, Freeman
Bookings: Grimes (6 mins)
Sent Off: Fulton (66 mins)