Your Brentford v Sheffield Wednesday match report powered by Utilita
Brentford made it three wins from three Christmas fixtures with a comfortable win over Sheffield Wednesday at Griffin Park. The Yorkshire side were sent the same way as Norwich City and Aston Villa as The Bees ran out 2-0 winners. Lasse Vibe opened the scoring 20 minutes in after the visitors had perhaps had slightly the better of things. But from then on there was only one winner and Florian Jozefzoon scored in the second half to make it safe.
The victory was fully deserved for a Brentford side that overcame a sticky start to dominate proceedings. They had countless chances and only wasteful finishing and some fine saves from Wednesdays goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith kept the result in doubt until the later stages. At the other end, Daniel Bentley was well protected by his back four – well-marshalled by Chris Mepham and Andreas Bjelland – and what he had to do, he did confidently to ensure The Bees had a clean sheet to go with their win.
The visitors started the game with a very narrow formation. They played a diamond midfield and started high up the pitch. They stopped Brentford playing through midfield and dominated early territory and possession. Although Romaine Sawyers saw an early shot blocked when a cross was half cleared, Wednesday had much the better of the first 15 minutes with The Bees struggling to get the ball wide where there may have been space.
Wednesday’s start could have got them an early lead. Adam Reach blazed wastefully wide after picking up a loose Nico Yennaris pass and Bentley then gathered an Atdhe Nuhiu header when the powerful striker met a deep cross. Jacob Butterfield saw a shot from 20 yards blocked and Jordan Rhodes then met a Ross Wallace free kick but once again the chance was snuffed out by the home defence.
When Brentford the lead 20 minutes in, it probably came slightly against the run of play. It also came from their first real passing movement. It was built on the right when Yennaris exchanged passes with Ryan Woods and burst forward, he found Jozefzoon and the ball was fed inside to Vibe, the Danish striker turned easily away from Daniel Pudil and calmly slotted past Joe Wildsmith. It was a well-worked and clinically finished goal and Vibe’s fourth in three games over the Christmas period.
Although Wednesday tried to respond, and continued to press high up the pitch, Brentford had found the formula. Their central midfield players all dropped slightly deeper when required and the link-up play between Woods, Sawyers and Josh McEachran was creating space for wide men Sergi Canós and Jozefzoon. It could have been two just after Vibe’s goal when, following a period of possession in Wednesday territory, a clever reverse pass from Sawyers put Jozefzoon in on goal but this time Wildsmith was equal to the shot from an increasingly narrow angle.
Wildsmith made another important block from a Woods shot from 18 yards after Vibe had fed a Canós cross in to his path and there was an even better save soon after. Canós cut in off the wing and left Liam Palmer trailing in his wake, he played a clever pass to put Vibe through and the Danish striker delayed before lifting the ball over Wildsmith. It looked as if that delay had worked but the Wednesday goalkeeper got a touch on it to push the ball over the bar. Jozefzoon then blasted over from eight yards after Yoann Barbet had fed a McEachran corner back in to the middle.
Canós had a shot blocked later in the half as Wednesday managed to keep Brentford at bay and go in at the break one down. They never really looked like levelling in that first period and generally played for set pieces. Bentley had to punch one off the head of Nuhiu and Pudil saw a shot deflect wide from a half cleared free kick but Brentford were largely comfortable after they got the lead.
And the game continued in a similar pattern after the break. Wednesday made two changes at the interval but it did not affect the flow of the game and Brentford spent the first 20 minutes of the second period on the front foot. Sawyers had complete control of the game – ably assisted by McEachran and Woods – and The Bees went looking for goals to kill the game off.
Sawyers saw a shot blocked after a nice run by Canós before Vibe turned well on the edge of the box and let fly with a shot that flew in to the arms of Wildsmith. Jozefzoon looked as if he had created Brentford’s second with a superb burst in to the box and pass to Vibe but Palmer made a superb tackle to divert the ball over. The resulting corner dropped to Barbet and he fired across the face of goal from a tight angle.
Canós nearly created something out of nothing when he let a Barbet throw in bounce and then fired it towards goal from 25 yards, it dipped late and had Wildsmith beaten but landed on top of the net. Jozefzoon then wasted another chance when he was fed by Sawyers after a quick break, blasting high and wide from a narrow angle. The next time he got in to a similar position, he made no mistake. This time he was played in by substitute Neal Maupay after Brentford created space in the middle and he steadied himself before firing across Wildsmith and in to the net.
The goal eased any nerves that may have been building as Wednesday found some attacking impetus late in the game. There had been a lull in proceedings after the hour mark with Wednesday starting to probe but Brentford still in control. The first two substitutions had made no impact but the introduction of Jack Hunt did make a difference and the visitors inched back in to the game with Lucas João the most likely provider of a goal.
The powerful striker picked up a Rhodes lay off and let fly with a shot that Bjelland blocked and he then headed a Butterfield corner over. Jozefzoon’s goal soon after made Wednesday’s pressure irrelevant but João met another corner soon after and nodded wide of the far post. At the other end Sawyers set up Ollie Watkins following a quick free kick but his shot was blocked. And there was still time for Barbet to line up a free kick but he curled it over the bar. That proved to be the last kick of 2017 as The Bees ended the year with a third straight win.
Brentford: Bentley; Yennaris, Mepham, Bjelland, Barbet; McEachran (sub Mokotjo 69 mins); Jozefzoon, Woods, Sawyers, Canós (sub Watkins 69 mins); Vibe (sub Maupay 80 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Clarke, Macleod, Judge
Bookings: Sawyers (39 mins) (fifth of season)
Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith; Palmer (sub Hunt 68 mins), Loovens, Pudil, Fox; Butterfield, Hutchinson, Wallace (sub Abdi h/t); Reach; Rhodes, Nuhiu (sub João h/t)
Subs (not used): Dawson, Jones, Matias, Venâncio
Bookings: Wallace (39 mins), Hutchinson (44 mins), Pudil (49 mins)
Attendance: 10,853 (1,645 away fans)