Your Brentford v Leeds United match report powered by Utilita
Brentford made it nine points and eight goals in seven days as Leeds United were beaten at Griffin Park. The Bees added Leeds to the scalps of Preston North End and Birmingham City that they had taken earlier in the week and extended their unbeaten run to nine games in the process. And it was another win that was fully merited, secured by goals from Neal Maupay, Yoann Barbet and Ryan Woods.
The Bees dominated the opening exchanges and deserved the lead they had at half time. It could have been even better as Ollie Watkins lashed a penalty over the bar and that seemed to give Leeds a boost. They equalised early in the second half and had a decent spell when it looked as if they may turn the game around completely. But Brentford responded. Barbet put The Bees back in front with a low free kick before Woods scored his first goal since April 2016 with the final kick to secure a 3-1 win.
Brentford started the game superbly. They were on the front foot from the first whistle, playing with a pace and intensity that Leeds could not cope with. They dominated the midfield area with Woods picking his passes while wingers Florian Jozefzoon and Watkins were tormenting the Leeds defence. The visitors barely had a kick in the first 15 minutes and had to rely on some good goalkeeping to ensure the match was all square at that point.
Watkins came close in the opening 60 seconds when he met a Josh Clarke cross but his header, from a tight angle, bounced across the face of goal and Leeds cleared. Nico Yennaris then screwed a shot wide before Maupay met a cross from Barbet but nodded off target. Barbet had a header blocked soon after and Yennaris fired wide before a wonderful Woods pass released Jozefzoon on the right, he cut away from Gaetano Berardi but lashed well
All those chances came in an opening ten minutes that had Leeds rocking. They were not in the game in midfield, striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga had not had a kick and it appeared to be a matter of when the opening goal would come. Barbet almost provided it with a free kick from 25 yards that flew inches past the post with Leeds goalkeeper Andy Lonergan rooted to the spot. A Watkins flick then released Barbet on the left and he found Maupay, he turned and fired off a shot that was bravely blocked by Pontus Jansson. The ball was then recycled and Watkins let fly from 25 yards and Lonergan had to go away to his left to save superbly.
Unfortunately for Lonergan, his next involvement in the game will be remembered for the wrong reasons. A Barbet cross from the left had the Leeds stopper back peddling frantically and he made a mess of an attempt to catch, dropping the ball for Maupay to head in. It was no surprise that Brentford had the lead and that it came from a move on the left but it came in slightly fortuitous circumstances.
And it actually came just after Leeds had started to build in to the game. They had their first attempts on goal – a shot from Samuel Sáiz that was blocked and a follow-up from Ezgjan Alioski that Daniel Bentley got down well to save – and were starting to force the off mistake from The Bees. They had tried to stop Brentford playing out from defence in the early stages but had been unable to do it effectively. They were, however, starting to have an impact before Lonergan handed Brentford the lead.
The goal could have knocked Leeds and Lonergan went some way to redeeming himself with a brave save at the feet of Maupay soon after. But the visitors maintained their foothold in the game. The Bees still had the upper hand but chances were fewer and further between and Leeds were able to get the ball in and out of midfield to good effect. Their best chance, however, came from a long punt upfield which split the Brentford defence, Lasogga got in between but lifted the ball over the bar from 20 yards.
The visitors had other openings that they failed to make the most of due to poor passes in the final third but their attacking midfield trio – Sáiz, Kalvin Phillips and Alioski – were starting to see the ball and looked as if they could create. At the other end, however, Brentford could have given themselves real breathing space before the break. Woods and Yennaris won the ball in midfield and Watkins sped away, his ball would have found Maupay had Jansson not brought down the Brentford striker. Referee Stuart Attwell pointed to the spot and Watkins stepped up but he blasted the penalty over the bar.
Bentley made a save from Phillips late in the half to enable The Bees to take a lead in to the break that they fully deserved. The hosts would have known, however, that due to the chances created and, especially, the penalty blasted over, it could have been even better for them. It almost got better early in the second period when Watkins set up Yennaris but his low shot was saved.
Both teams made changes at the interval. For Brentford, it was an enforced switch as Andreas Bjelland was unable to return having picked up a head injury in the first period. Leeds brought on two attackers and it seemed to give them an extra impetus. There was more incisive football from the visitors in the early stages of the second half and Alioski headed wide at the far post before another aerial effort – this time from Kemar Roofe – was saved by Bentley.
Brentford would still have considered themselves to have the upper hand and went looking for the second goal that would give them some breathing space. Maupay was just unable to turn in a cross and then Watkins, who delivered that ball, clipped the top of the crossbar with a shot after a clever pass from Yennaris. Barbet headed straight at Lonergan soon after.
As the game reached the hour mark the changes made by Leeds were starting to make a difference. They were quicker in midfield with Ronaldo Vieira starting to dictate play and their new attacking options stretched Brentford. Vieira had a shot blocked before a curling effort soon after forced Bentley to tip over at full stretch.
When the equaliser came, however, it was a moment for Bentley to forget. The Brentford goalkeeper seemed to lose a high ball and it bounced straight through his arms, Alioski reacted quickest and cleverly looped a header over Barbet and Mepham on the line to level the scores. Sáiz could have made it even worse moments later when he fired wide after a run from deep and Bentley then had to save a Roofe header and a low shot from Pablo Hernández.
The Brentford goalkeeper was in the action again soon after, saving a free kick from Hernández that looked as if it may sneak in at the far post and Bentley then saved a shot from Vieira after Mepham had rushed out to half block it. As the game entered its final ten minutes, it looked as if Brentford had weathered the storm. The introduction of Kamohelo Mokotjo gave them extra legs in midfield and Leeds were having to play long balls to get out.
Yennaris saw a shot deflect wide and then smashed an effort against the crossbar from 25 yards as Lonergan was again groping thin air. And Brentford’s pressure turned in to a second goal with five minutes to go. Jozefzoon was fouled on the edge of the penalty area and Barbet whipped a free kick to the far post that bounced through a sea of legs and beat Lonergan. The Leeds goalkeeper claimed he was unsighted but once again may have to deal with the fingers of fault pointing his way.
Leeds tried to respond and should have levelled in stoppage time when Luke Ayling met a Hernández free kick but he nodded wide from eight yards. And that allowed Woods to have the final say. Watkins weaved in to the box but saw a shot blocked and Mokotjo picked up the loose ball, he found Woods 18 yards out and the midfield man passed his shot in to the corner to seal with win and Brentford’s perfect week.
Brentford: Bentley; Clarke, Egan, Bjelland (sub Mepham h/t), Barbet; Woods; Jozefzoon, Sawyers (sub Mokotjo 73 mins), Yennaris, Watkins; Maupay (sub Vibe 80 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Macleod, McEachran, Canós
Bookings: Watkins (45 mins) (third of season), Yennaris (68 mins) (second of season), Barbet (90 mins) (third of season)
Leeds United: Lonergan; Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Berardi; Vieira, O’Kane (sub Hernández h/t); Alioski (sub Grot 80 mins), Phillips, Sáiz; Lasogga (sub Roofe h/t)
Subs (not used): Wiedwald, Dallas, Sacko, Shaughnessy
Bookings: O’Kane (45 mins), Sáiz (90 mins)
Attendance: 11,068 (1,647 away fans)