Brentford endured an evening to forget on the South Coast as they were beaten by Southampton. The Bees fell behind early on and although Vitaly Janelt levelled the match in the first half, the home side were well worth their win. They restored their lead before half time and added two more after the interval to hand Brentford a 4-1 loss, their heaviest of the season.
The hosts were the better side on the night. Their second goal had an element of fortune to it, bouncing in off Álvaro Fernández, but Brentford can have few complaints that they ended up with nothing to show for their efforts. Southampton’s third goal at the start of the second half prevented Brentford building a way back in to the game and the hosts saw the match out.
Southampton started the game strongly and dominated the opening exchanges. They scored early on and had control of most of the first part of the game. The hosts matched up three-on-three in the centre of midfield and won the early battle in that area. Brentford were unable to put together spells of possession in the early stages and were battling to stay in the game.
The first Southampton goal came from their first corner of the evening. James Ward-Prowse delivered it from the left and Jan Bednarek found enough space at the near post to flick a header in. Bednarek put his arms across Ivan Toney to create the room, but the officials decided it was not enough to warrant disallowing the goal and the hosts had the lead.
The home side had shown their early threat when Kristoffer Ajer had to make a tackle to prevent Nathan Redmond going through on goal. Nathan Tella got on to the loose ball and smashed it wildly off target. After the goal Armando Broja got away from Pontus Jansson on the right and rolled the ball across the six-yard box, but no-one was waiting to tap it in. Ward-Prowse also saw a shot deflected wide as Southampton pressed.
But Brentford weathered the storm and managed to get a foothold in the game. Southampton were unable to keep up their intense pressure off the ball and there was room for The Bees to play. The threat from The Bees was growing and they were putting together attacking moves. Toney had a header from a Mads Roerslev cross blocked. Christian Nørgaard played it back in to the area but Toney missed his kick.
From their next attack, Brentford levelled. Shandon Baptiste wriggled free on the left and spread the play. Ajer and Roerslev linked on the right and Bryan Mbeumo was able to step away from Mohammed Salisu and crossed for the arriving Janelt, who shifted his weight and volleyed left footed in to the corner. Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster could only watch the ball fly past him as Janelt’s inch-perfect finish, expertly executed, made it 1-1.
It could have got even better for The Bees soon after when Baptiste won possession in Southampton territory. Janelt had space to shoot, and it dipped awkwardly in front of Foster, but this time the Southampton goalkeeper kept it out. Brentford appeared to have the upper hand at that point, but the hosts came back strongly and regained the initiative.
They should have scored when Brentford failed to deal with a cross from the left, but Oriol Romeu steered a shot over from 12 yards. Jansson blocked another fierce shot from Romeu soon after as Southampton started to press forward, and they scored moments later. The goal was a fortunate one, which will officially be credited as an own goal for Fernández. A corner flew across the penalty area and Ibrahima Diallo let fly with a shot from 20 yards. The ball smashed the post, hit the back of Fernández’s hand, diving across, and bounced over the line. Diallo tried to claim it, but the goal will be given to Fernández.
The Brentford goalkeeper had to make a fine save moments later, pushing out a Romain Perraud header, as Southampton looked to press home their advantage. But Brentford could have grabbed a second equaliser before half time. Toney released Roerslev on the right and his cross was just too high for Mbeumo. Sergi Canós retrieved it at the far post, but his lofted cross-cum-shot arced over the crossbar.
Brentford started the second half on the front foot but were hit on the counter-attack. Southampton won the ball from a Brentford throw and played out of their own half. A Romeu pass put Broja away, running from inside his own half. His pace took him clear and left him with only Fernández to beat. Broja placed a shot to the left of Fernández and the touch of the Brentford goalkeeper only diverted it against the far post and in to the net. Fernández spread himself as wide as he could but was unable to get enough on the ball to keep it out.
That stopped any momentum Brentford were looking to build at the start of the second period. Fernández saved a Diallo shot and Lyanco turned an Ajer cross past his own post at the other end, but there was little attacking play from either side. Brentford tried to build through midfield while Southampton were happy to sit in, allow The Bees to play and try to counter-attack.
Brentford tried to change the shape of the game, introducing first Yoane Wissa and then Mathias Jensen. They played with three up front and pushed Janelt in to a back three to try and alter the flow of the contest, but it was Southampton who got the next goal. Brentford tried to break free but lost the ball and it was hit long, Ché Adams controlled it and lofted it over Fernández as he rushed out. Adams was a fraction onside, and once he brought the ball out of the sky, he was able to lift it past Fernández and in to the net.
Fernández saved a low shot from Adam Armstrong, but Brentford ended strongly as Southampton sat off, probably aware the job was done. The Bees should have pulled one back when Toney released Mbeumo in behind on the right. He raced away and chose to try and find Wissa to his left. Wissa was there to tap in, but Ward-Prowse got across to make a remarkable recovery tackle.
The resulting corner from Jensen may have been going straight in as Forster missed it, but it cannoned off Jansson. The ball looped up and was won by Fin Stevens – making a Premier League debut at just 18. Toney got a shot away, but Forster made the block. There was time for Forster to make another fine block as Mbeumo met a Jensen cross on the volley as Brentford battled to try and reduce the arrears. They were unable to do so, and Southampton saw out the game.
Southampton: Forster; Bednarek, Lyanco, Salisu; Tella (sub S. Armstrong 69 mins), Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Diallo, Perraud; Redmond (sub Adams 64 mins), Broja (sub A. Armstrong 78 mins)
Subs (not used): Caballero, Stephens, Long, Small, Simeu, Chauke
Brentford: Fernández; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock (sub Jensen 68 mins); Roerslev, Baptiste (sub Wissa 56 mins), Nørgaard, Janelt, Canós (sub Stevens 76 mins); Toney, Mbeumo
Subs (not used): Lössl, Bech, Thompson, Ghoddos, Bidstrup, Forss
Bookings: Toney (45 mins)