Your Brentford v Bolton Wanderers match report powered by Utilita
Brentford completed a Sky Bet Championship double over Bolton Wanderers as the Lancashire side were beaten 2-0 at Griffin Park. A goal in each half was enough to give Brentford the points and extend their current run to three defeats in 20 Championship fixtures, a sequence that included the 3-0 win at Bolton in September. Florian Jozefzoon put The Bees ahead in a competitive first half and Neal Maupay came off the substitute’s bench to make the game safe in the dying seconds.
It was three points that Brentford fully deserved. While Bolton provided a stern test and had chances, The Bees had the upper hand for the majority of the game. The hosts could have made the game safe sooner, hitting the woodwork in the second half and testing visiting goalkeeper Ben Alnwick, but had to wait until stoppage time to do so. But with their defence again superbly marshalled by the increasingly effective pair of Chris Mepham and Andreas Bjelland, Brentford got the win they merited.
Bolton made their intentions clear from kick-off. They knocked the ball back and then had five attackers chasing a long punt up the pitch. The ball was eventually worked to Gary Madine and his shot from 20 yards was blocked. It was a sign of things to come as Bolton came to West London with some intentions to try and attack and win the match, particularly early on, but were not subtle in their approach.
The visitors looked to play the ball in to Madine as quickly and they could and as often as they could in the opening exchanges. They looked to get wide attackers Sammy Ameobi and Filipe Morais high up the pitch to support and had no intention of sitting back. They were happy to break the game up and waste time but looked to get forward and had both an intent to score goals and a plan of how they wanted to do it.
Brentford had to clear deep inside their six-yard box when David Wheater met a corner and when Ameobi nodded a cross down soon after, Madine had a shot blocked and an effort from Josh Vela was deflected wide. Daniel Bentley also had to save a Madine header during an opening quarter that was very even. Bolton had more of the chances but Brentford had the better ones.
The best chance of that opening spell fell to Ollie Watkins. Romaine Sawyers headed a Nico Yennaris ball in to the path of Watkins but the shot was pulled in to the side netting from 15 yards. Watkins had another good effort earlier when he met a clever low Jozefzoon corner with a fierce shot but that attempt was blocked. Watkins saw another shot blocked soon after before setting up Sawyers to blast narrowly off target from 18 yards on the half hour.
Whilst not being a match for the football purist, the first 30 minutes had produced a decent contest. Bolton were not going to defend for 90 minutes and had given Brentford some problems defensively but The Bees were slowly taking control. Sawyers was starting to dictate the play, dropping a little deeper to find pockets of space. Referee Andy Davies was also showing signs he might clamp down on both the time-wasting and foul play from the visitors with a caution issued to Mark Little for a cynical hack at Jozefzoon moments after the same man had been pulled up for a foul throw, taken from the wrong place.
When Brentford took the lead five minutes before the break, it was after a spell of sustained possession and pressure, albeit a passage that had not seen many chances. Watkins saw a shot blocked after cutting inside and the ball was recycled, Yoann Barbet delivered a cross and Lasse Vibe picked up the loose ball, he was tackled as he tried to shoot but the ball dropped to Jozefzoon and he placed it across Alnwick and in to the top corner. The goal was reward for Brentford’s pressure and persistence and the finish gave Alnwick no chance.
Wheater was soon in the book for a cynical attempt to body check Ryan Woods but Bolton could have been level before the break. Ameobi got away on the right, not for the first time, and delivered a cross, Madine got on to it after a slip from Woods and turned before letting fly with a shot that Barbet blocked. The effort may not have beaten Bentley but Barbet ensured Brentford held a lead at the break that they deserved on the balance of play.
That lead should have been doubled just after the break as Jozefzoon missed a great chance for his second of the afternoon. Watkins robbed Josh Vela in midfield and unselfishly played in Vibe, he was equally unselfish in squaring for Jozefzoon but the Dutchman could only hit his shot straight at Alnwick. Jozefzoon was eight yards out and had most of the goal to aim at and really should have scored.
Brentford had other chances at the start of the second half to give themselves some breathing space but none as good as that one. Alnwick saved low to his right when Vibe met a Sawyers cross and the Danish striker then fired high and wide after an exchange of passes with Yennaris. Mepham fired over the bar after stepping out of defence before a corner was half cleared and Kamohelo Mokotjo set up Yennaris for a shot that deflected and hit the post.
Brentford had complete control after the break and Bolton were playing on the counter attack. Sawyers and Woods were bossing the game with Mokotjo joining in with Vibe further forward and chances were coming. But Bolton did have a threat. They had an early shot from Derik Osede that hit referee Davies and flew wide and Wheater met a corner with a powerful header that was blocked with the visitors claiming it hit an arm.
Bolton were almost handed an equaliser after a series of errors from The Bees. The hosts lost the ball in midfield and Antonee Robinson broke away on the left, his cross ricochet between Bjelland and Barbet and fell to Madine but Bentley rushed out and smothered the shot. Substitute Will Buckley then had a shot blocked after a nice run from Ameobi.
But most of the chances were at the other end. Mokotjo screwed a shot wide after great work on the right by Jozefzoon and Vibe had a shot blocked before the striker got on to a Yennaris throw in, turned well and fired wide. Bentley saved from Adam Le Fondre before Vibe got on to a ball forward and wriggled clear of Little, the shot was delayed and when it eventually came it was deflected past the post. Mark Beevers headed wide for Bolton and Mokotjo saw another chance go begging when failing to make good contact with a Maupay cut back after the striker had robbed Robinson.
As the game entered stoppage time, Brentford got the second goal they deserved to make the game safe. It came from a breakaway as Sergi Canós raced down the middle and then fed Watkins before getting the ball back, the Spaniard’s shot might not have had enough power to beat Alnwick and Maupay back heeled it home to make sure. That gave Brentford the win, their fourth in five Championship games and their first of 2018.
Brentford: Bentley; Yennaris, Mepham, Bjelland, Barbet; Woods; Jozefzoon (sub Canós 77 mins), Sawyers, Mokotjo, Watkins; Vibe (sub Maupay 86 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Macleod, Clarke, McEachran, Emiliano
Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick; Little (sub Wilbraham 84 mins), Wheater, Beevers, Robinson; Osede, Vela; Ameobi, Charsley (sub Buckley 55 mins), Morais (sub Le Fondre 68 mins); Madine
Subs (not used): Howard, Taylor, Karacan, Darby
Bookings: Little (23 mins), Wheater (42 mins), Madine (67 mins), Robinson (83 mins), Ameobi (90 mins)
Attendance: 9,507 (1,008 away fans)