Two goals in 90 first half seconds set Brentford on their way to a fine 3-0 win over Southampton. Pontus Jansson and Yoane Wissa both found the net in quick succession as The Bees took control of an entertaining contest. When the game settled down, Brentford had the upper hand and Kristoffer Ajer added a third late on.
It was a comprehensive victory for Brentford, who had the better of a helter-skelter first half and then dominated the second. Southampton had their chances, particularly before the interval, but Brentford never looked like losing after their quickfire double. The late third goal gave the score line the gloss it probably deserved.
Brentford forced the visitors back from kick off, winning a throw in deep in Southampton territory within the first 20 seconds. Mads Bech propelled that in to the penalty area and when Wissa nodded it back, Christian Nørgaard was just unable to reach it. That set the tone for the opening exchanges. Brentford pushed bodies forward, forced the visitors to defend and went for the jugular. With Southampton also starting with an attacking mindset, it was an entertaining start to the contest.
Nørgaard was in action at the other end, blocking a shot from Stuart Armstrong, and Romain Perraud cut in off the left before firing in to the side netting as Southampton showed their attacking instinct. Armando Broja also forced David Raya in to a mistake early on, with his kick only reaching Nathan Redmond, deep in Brentford territory. Raya was forced in to a save but the offside flag was up anyway.
Despite that spell from the visitors, Brentford soon took control of the midfield, and then of the game. Nørgaard and Christian Eriksen linked well in midfield and Brentford’s attacking trio of Wissa and Bryan Mbeumo, either side of Ivan Toney, began to get on the ball. Chances came, and goals followed.
A fine move down the left saw Mbeumo release Rico Henry on the overlap. His ball flew across the six-yard box, and no-one could force it home, with Mathias Jensen getting slightly ahead of it at the far post and being unable to adjust his feet. Wissa got on to a Toney flick soon after and cut inside, seeing a weak shot saved, with Mbeumo waiting for a pass. Eriksen fired a snapshot over soon after.
Brentford looked set to score when Nørgaard released Mbeumo in the inside right channel and he tried to square it to Wissa in front of goal. But the pass lacked the required power and Jan Bednarek made an interception. The Bees did not, however, have to wait long. Eriksen delivered the corner and Toney pulled in to space at the far post. He took a touch and drilled in a cross that Jansson poked home from close range. Toney’s ball needed any sort of touch and as the ball flew past Fraser Forster and in to the net.
It only took seconds for one to become two. Brentford won the ball from kick-off and Wissa fed Eriksen. Eriksen burst through the middle only to be felled by a defender. Referee Michael Salisbury played advantage as Wissa picked up the loose ball. He strode to the edge of the box and curled a shot out of the reach of Forster and in to the net. Two goals in a little over 90 seconds had given The Bees control of the game.
Southampton may have been rocked by the double strike but decided attack was the best way for them to respond. They pushed men forward and went looking for a goal. Broja saw a shot blocked before Raya got down well to hold on to a smashed ball from Stuart Armstrong, after he had burst in to the penalty area on the Southampton right. They almost scored when Kyle Walker-Peters got on to a deep ball and nodded it across the six-yard box. No Southampton player could get to it and Ajer prevented Broja getting a vital touch.
With Southampton pushing forward, there was also space for Brentford and Henry won a free kick that almost created a third goal. Eriksen delivered it to the far post and Toney volleyed it back across. It beat Forster and Wissa looked set to convert but was unable to get the right contact under pressure and the ball flew over the crossbar.
Southampton were hunting a goal and spent most of the second half of the first period with the initiative, creating the better chances. Adam Armstrong was unable to convert a cross from the left and when the ball came back to James Ward-Prowse, his curling shot was saved by Raya. Broja headed wide and Walker-Peters did likewise as the game continued to be incredibly open.
Ward-Prowse hit a free kick from 18 yards in to a defensive wall and Brentford immediately went on the counter-attack with Jensen clearing. Eriksen strode forward and found Toney in the inside right channel. He had space to shoot, and the low effort needed saving by Forster low down. It looped up and Mbeumo tried to convert but was unable to control his effort.
Broja headed over the crossbar and then saw a shot saved by Raya and The Bees had a lucky escape just before the interval. Eriksen tried to play a ball forward only to see it blocked and fall in to the path of Adam Armstrong, who only had Raya to beat. The shot whistled past Raya’s right hand and in to the net, but the offside flag was up and Video Assistant Referee Lee Mason confirmed the goal should not stand.
From it almost being 2-1, Brentford could have ended the half with a third goal. Toney volleyed a deep free kick over the crossbar for The Bees and there was another opening just before the break. The Bees turned the ball over in Southampton territory and Eriksen found Mbeumo on the right. His low cross was set to be turned home by Wissa before a defender intervened. Southampton cleared the corner and got to the break only two behind.
The first half had been a frantic, helter-skelter contest that could have produced many more than the two goals it did. The second started a fraction slower but was soon producing chances. Eriksen fired a free kick over the crossbar for The Bees before a lucky ricochet appeared to put Broja through on goal. Broja tried to round Raya, but the ball ran away and Brentford cleared. Southampton appealed that Raja had fouled Broja, but nothing was given.
Nørgaard headed a deep corner back, which Southampton had to scramble away, and Toney was just beaten to a ball forward by Forster soon after. Redmond cut inside and lashed over at the other end, but Brentford appeared to have control. A pass from Toney released Wissa in the left channel and his cross was heading for Jensen unmarked ten yards out before Bednarek intervened.
As the second half continued, Brentford were content to keep the ball. They spent long periods with the ball, pulling Southampton around and waiting for opportunities to spring with pace. Toney turned well in the penalty area when he got on to an Eriksen pass. The shot was blocked, and Wissa could not get on to the loose ball. The resulting corner was nodded wide by Nørgaard.
Raya had to save an effort from Mohamed Elyounoussi and then a curling effort from Stuart Armstrong. Ward-Prowse also hit a free kick in to a defensive wall and watched as it deflected wide. At the other end, a long throw from Bech caused chaos for The Bees. Toney looked set to profit but could not force the ball in. Jansson saw a shot blocked and then Mbeumo did as well. Jensen got on to the loose ball as Southampton cleared and moved to the edge of the penalty area before lashing over.
A few minutes later, with ten remaining, Brentford made it three. It was started on the left as Mbeumo and Eriksen linked. The latter crossed and Southampton were unable to clear. Josh Dasilva saw a shot blocked and Nørgaard picked up the loose ball. A picked out Ajer, who beat Mohammed Salisu with ease and slotted the ball through the legs of Forster. Ajer had his first Premier League goal and Brentford were clear.
There was time for Nathan Young-Coombes to come on for a Brentford debut, the latest player to come through Brentford B to the First Team, and a couple of late chances for Southampton. Alan Armstrong was unable to get to a cross, Jansson blocked, and Raya gathered. Perraud lashed over at the very end as Brentford got a clean sheet to go with their points.
Brentford: Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Bech, Henry; Jensen (sub Young-Coombes 87 mins), Nørgaard, Eriksen; Mbeumo (sub Baptiste 81 mins), Toney, Wissa (sub Dasilva 69 mins)
Subs (not used): Lössl, Jeanvier, Stevens, Roerslev, Fosu, Janelt
Southampton: Forster; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Salisu, Perraud; Ward-Prowse, Diallo (sub Elyounoussi 64 mins); S. Armstrong (sub Romeu 83 mins), Redmond; A. Armstrong, Broja
Subs (not used): McCarthy, Lyanco, Long, Adams, Tella, Valery, Dibling
Bookings: Diallo (17 mins)
Attendance: 17,051 (1,700 away fans)