Brentford completed a Sky Bet Championship double over Nottingham Forest with a win on the banks of the River Trent. Lasse Vibe scored two and made one as The Bees eased to a 3-0 lead midway through the second half at The City Ground. Jota, who set up one of Vibe’s goals, grabbed the third that proved to be the winner as Forest fought back late on. Ben Brereton and Zach Clough both came off the substitute’s bench to score inside the final ten minutes but it was too little too late for the hosts, who lost 1-0 at Griffin Park in August.
The win was probably a little more comfortable than the 3-2 final score suggests and was well deserved. Brentford produced an attacking display to savour. They went forward, particularly on the counter-attack, with a pace and penetration that the hosts could not cope with and three goals was the least they deserved. Vibe got the first two, both from clinical counter-attacks, and then set up Jota for Brentford’s third that ensured the two Forest goals would not affect the result.
The game sprung to life very quickly with both teams setting out to attack from the first whistle. Brentford could have been ahead inside 70 seconds when Romaine Sawyers and Sergi Canós combined to put Vibe in behind the home defence, he shot low and early but Jordan Smith got down well to push the ball away. Smith denied Canós again soon after but the goalkeeper would have been helpless if a shot from the same man had been inside the post rather than inches wide when he let fly from 25 yards.
Those three Brentford chances all came inside the first ten minutes and Forest had one of their own as Jamie Ward let fly with a shot from 20 yards that dipped late but just too late to creep under the crossbar. Daniel Bentley also saved low to his left from Britt Assombalonga as the game continue to flow from end to end at high pace. The game was set up to be an open, attacking one. Brentford continued with Canós and Jota pushed high up on the flanks, close to Vibe, while Forest had two wingers of their own as part of a three-man attacking midfield.
The home side mainly played down the right. They looked to winger Hildeberto Pereira to test Rico Henry and capitalise when Canós did not track back. There was a good battle between Henry and Pereira that the Brentford man won but that is not to say the Forest attacker did not have his moments. It was Pereira that won the corner that eventually led to Brentford opening the scoring.
It could have been a Forest goal first as the ball was half cleared and Eric Lichaj set up Matty Cash but the shot was weak and Bentley saved. And he immediately got Brentford on the attack. The goalkeeper released Jota who ran deep in to Forest territory and fed Vibe, the Danish striker smashed a shot from the inside right channel across Smith and in to the far corner to put Brentford in front. It was superbly executed and clinically finished counter-attack and summed up Brentford’s enterprising start to the evening.
It would have been almost impossible for the game to continue at the breakneck speed it started but the second half of the first period was a little less exciting. It was not helped by regular whistling from referee Tim Robinson. The decisions of the official angered the home fans early on and most in the ground were perplexed by half time with one judgement or another. Forest had more of the ball during the second quarter of the match but largely in unthreatening areas and Brentford had the best chance when a poor Smith clearance fell to Vibe 18 yards out but he smashed in to the side netting.
Assombalonga shot wide for the hosts and Pereira then miss-hit an effort from a deep Ward free kick as half time approached. John Egan miss-hit a shot for The Bees but was in action at the other end as the half came to a close. He made a vital interception to prevent a Ben Osborn cross finding its target in the middle and then blocked a follow-up from Cash. That ensured Brentford went in at half time with the lead but the signs were the game would not be decided by a single goal.
Pereira had drifted out of the game as half time approached and shifted to the left. That allowed Osborn to come to the fore for the hosts and he started the second half with a run and shot that Bentley saved, Ward’s follow-up was also saved. Forest tried to start the second half quickly but as they put men forward that just left space for Brentford to exploit. Jota released Henry on the left and he set up Canós for a shot that may have been headed in before it hit Vibe, in an offside position, and flew wide.
The second goal was not, however, delayed by long. And it was another lightning quick break. Canós won the ball from David Vaughan and then escaped as the Forest midfield player tried to hack him down, he eased his way past Joe Worrall and crossed for Vibe to lift a shot over Smith and in to the net. For the second time Brentford had turned defence in to attack and then in to a goal in seconds and Forest had a mountain to climb.
The hosts tried to climb it and brought on Clough and Brereton to try and change the flow of the match. Ward had a shot saved and Clough almost scored with his first touch when he raced through and Bentley had to be smartly out to save with his feet. They could not, however, stop Brentford on the break and with 22 minutes to play it was 3-0. Vibe and Jota combined in midfield and the former set the latter in behind, he cut back and fired home from 18 yards to give The Bees a lead that could not be recovered.
Vibe had a shot blocked and Ryan Woods fired well wide as Brentford looked for more goals but they also made changes with B Team midfield player Reece Cole introduced for his professional debut. Justin Shaibu and Florian Jozefzoon also came on for a Brentford team that perhaps relaxed a little and handed the initiative to Forest. Ross McCormack fired over from 15 yards before Cash fired in to the side netting. McCormack had a shot blocked and Bentley saved from Cash as Forest pressed.
Brentford had been dominant in defence for the first 75 minutes. Harlee Dean and Egan led the back four superbly while Woods swept up everything in front. But Forest were starting to swarm forward and Lichaj burst in to the box to let fly with a shot that Bentley saved but could only push out to Brereton to poke in. Brereton fired a cross-cum-shot just wide of the far post and 3-1 became 3-2 when Osborn lifted a deep Daniel Pinillos cross back in to the box and Clough headed in. That goal came in the dying seconds so there was no chance of Forest snatching a point and Brentford extended their unbeaten run to four.
Nottingham Forest: Smith; Lichaj, Worrall, Fox, Pinillos; Vaughan, Cash; Pereira (sub Clough 60 mins), Osborn, Ward (sub McCormack 64 mins); Assombalonga (sub Brereton 60 mins)
Subs (not used): Evtimov, Tshibola, Carayol, Lam
Bookings: Ward (38 mins), Cash (66 mins)
Brentford: Bentley; Colin, Dean, Egan, Henry; Woods; Jota (sub Shaibu 76 mins), Sawyers, Yennaris (sub Cole 87 mins), Canós; Vibe (sub Jozefzoon 76 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, Barbet, Clarke, Kerschbaumer
Bookings: Henry (63 mins) (third of season)
Attendance: 16,903 (432 Bees fans)