Your Wolverhampton Wanderers v Brentford match report powered by Utilita
Brentford were unable to start 2018 as they ended 2017 as they were beaten by Sky Bet Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers. Two goals in two minutes early in the second half set the home side on the way to the points on a wet night in Wolverhampton. A late third sealed the victory. And it was a win they deserved. Brentford were always competitive against the Premier League bound side but the hosts were far more incisive and their two-goal burst was no surprise. The third just gave the score line an unflattering look from a Brentford perspective.
Brentford came in to the game on the back of three wins out of three over the Christmas period but Wolves were unbeaten in 11 at kick-off and had won nine of those. The Bees were not overawed by the challenge and had chances in the first half to get their noses in front. But Daniel Bentley was the busier of the two goalkeepers and once the Brentford stopper was beaten by two efforts early in the second half there was no way back.
The qualities of the hosts were evident very early on and they could have been ahead inside 90 seconds. Hélder Costa broke away on the right and delivered a low cross that was met at the near post by Léo Bonatini, his touch beat Bentley but the ball cannoned off the inside of the post and flew across the goal and away to safety. That was the best of three sights of goal in the opening three minutes. Sergi Canós saw a shot deflected and saved after good work by Romaine Sawyers and Bentley saved from Rúben Neves at the other end.
Those opening exchanges gave an indication of what was to come in an enthralling first half. The two teams came in to the match in good form and both looked to win from the first whistle. Wolves looked to move the ball forward at pace while Brentford were slightly more considered and looked to play through midfield but both attacked as the first instinct and it led to an entertaining contest.
Wolves probably had the better of the first quarter and came close to opening the scoring on a few occasions. Diogo Jota saw a header from a corner cleared off the line by Nico Yennaris before a great run from Willy Boly enabled him to play a chipped pass that released Matt Doherty with only Bentley to beat but the Brentford goalkeeper kept the shot out. Costa also went through one-on-one soon after but again Bentley denied him.
The incisiveness of the football played by the home side was causing Brentford problems defensively, particularly when they overloaded on the right, But as the half wore on, The Bees started to have their share of possession. Brentford were more measured when they had the ball but used it effectively and started to create chances of their own. Lasse Vibe saw a shot half blocked and saved following one quick break and Yoann Barbet curled a free kick over. Canós then brought a low save out of John Ruddy with a curling left footed effort.
Barry Douglas curled a free kick over for the hosts and Kamohelo Mokotjo saw a shot blocked before Canós bent an effort wide for The Bees. Another shot from Mokotjo deflected away before Ruddy was almost robbed by Vibe and the Wolves goalkeeper was perhaps fortunate to see a free kick awarded his way. Barbet then met an Ollie Watkins free kick with a header that deflected inches wide.
That was as close as Brentford came in a goalless first half. Wolves definitely had the better chances in that opening period and had another good one just before the break. Bonatini fed a cross back to Jota and he let fly from 16 yards but Bentley made a superb save to his left to keep it out. Costa then volleyed over. The Bees ended the half on the front foot as Watkins saw a shot blocked and a Sawyers effort deflected wide but the visitors would have known they were indebted to Bentley for the 0-0 half time score.
And Bentley was in the action early in the second half as well, keeping out a fierce shot from Bonatini after he had wriggled past Chris Mepham and Barbet. The hosts started the second half superbly. They moved the ball quicker, pressed higher and with more vigour and made life very uncomfortable for Brentford. The Bees started to make mistakes in possession and one was punished. Ryan Woods was harassed in to conceding possession to Jota and then fouled him trying to make amends. That gave Neves a chance to let fly with a free kick from 20 yards and he whistled it past Bentley and in to the net.
The pace and dip on the free kick made it almost unstoppable once it got past the wall and Wolves had the lead they deserved. Moments later, it was two. Substitute Ivan Cavaleiro got away on the right and picked out Douglas with a cut back, the ball was sent unerringly past Bentley and in to the top corner from 15 yards. Bentley again had no chance as the left back drilled home and gave Wolves a grip on the game.
And it was a grip they never let go. Brentford tried to respond and the introduction of Florian Jozefzoon posed Wolves some questions but Brentford were unable to get past a well-drilled defence and get back in to the game. Jozefzoon had a shot blocked and Yennaris fired over from distance but Wolves still had the better of the chances.
Bentley made a fine stop to keep out a fierce shot from Cavaleiro after a clever reverse pass from Doherty. Barbet then made a fine block when Jota got on to a long ball and created space for a shot. The third goal came with ten minutes remaining when Doherty fed a deep cross back in to the middle and Jota reacted quickest to get on to the loose ball and drive it home.
That ended Brentford’s resistance and the game meandered to a close with Wolves putting on occasional attacking bursts. After a series of passes, Bright Enobakhare set up Bonatini to shoot from ten yards but the effort was blocked. And in the dying seconds Cavaleiro met a Douglas cross at the far post but headed over. By that point, however, the game was well won.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Boly (sub Hause 83 mins); Doherty, Neves, Saïss, Douglas; Costa (sub Cavaleiro 53 mins), Bonatini, Jota (sub Enobakhare 81 mins)
Subs (not used): Norris, N’Diaye, Gibbs-White, Vinagre
Bookings: Neves (65 mins), Boly (77 mins)
Brentford: Bentley; Yennaris, Mepham, Bjelland, Barbet (sub Clarke 78 mins); Woods; Canós (sub Jozefzoon 64 mins), Mokotjo, Sawyers, Watkins: Vibe (sub Maupay 71 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Emiliano, McEachran, Macleod
Bookings: Watkins (22 mins) (fifth of season), Woods (56 mins) (fourth of season), Barbet (67 mins) (fifth of season)
Attendance: 28,475 (458 Bees fans)