Your Brentford v Millwall match report powered by Utilita
A goal from Romaine Sawyers in the early stages of the second half was enough for Brentford to take the points in their London Derby clash with Millwall. The midfield man smashed home from the edge of the penalty areas to settled an evenly fought and highly competitive clash at Griffin Park. But Brentford were also indebted to goalkeeper Daniel Bentley, who saved a late Lee Gregory penalty to ensure The Bees took the points.
That the game ended in a 1-0 home win tells only a fraction of the story. The visitors had the chances to have taken an early lead but Brentford could also have gone in ahead at the break given the openings they created. After Sawyers strike the game opened even further and both teams will feel they could have scored in the final 40 minutes. Brentford were made to battle for their first home win of the Sky Bet Championship season but were able to get over the line and take the points.
Millwall probably started slightly the brighter. They came to Griffin Park with two solid banks of four and were well-organised and disciplined. They were happy to get the ball from back to front quickly and look to play for the territorial advantage. Brentford could not quite get in to their flow in the early stages and although The Bees had plenty of the ball, Millwall had the early chances.
Jed Wallace, who tucked in off the right flank to condense the pitch for much of the afternoon, curled a snap shot wide from 20 yards before then missing the target with an effort from an Aiden O’Brien cross. Bentley made a save from Gregory before a Ryan Tunnicliffe shot was blocked. Gregory should have put Millwall in front when he capitalised on an Andreas Bjelland error moments later. He raced away as the Brentford man miss-controlled a long ball and fired low but the tiniest touch from Bentley sent the shot just wide of the far post.
The visitors were looking to capitalise on Brentford mistakes and when The Bees allowed Jake Cooper a free header at the far post from a George Saville corner, Bentley again came to the rescue. But when Brentford did get in to their stride, they looked the team in the ascendency. Ryan Woods knitted the play in midfield and Brentford were able to get Sawyers and Ollie Watkins on the ball in the left channel and utilise the pace of Josh Clarke and the space left by the wandering Wallace.
Nico Yennaris saw a shot blocked and fired wide soon after when a corner dropped to him 15 yards out. As the half hour approached The Bees moved through the gears and Millwall were rocking. Watkins fired narrowly over after cutting inside following a Clarke burst from deep before Jordan Archer superbly tipped a shot from Sawyers from a similar position over the crossbar. When the resulting corner came over, a shot from Henrik Dalsgaard was blocked.
Neal Maupay then wasted a golden chance seconds later. Watkins ran from deep and played a deflected one-two with Yennaris before seeing a shot half blocked, it looped to Maupay ten yards out but he swivelled and volleyed over. The striker almost made amends moments later when he robbed Cooper but his first cross was blocked and when the ball was recycled, Maupay drilled across the face of goal with Watkins unable to get a touch.
Having weathered that storm, Millwall ended the half on the front foot. Bentley had to go away to his right to make a fine save from a curling Wallace free kick and when the resulting corner dropped to the same man, the Brentford goalkeeper saved again. Saville also saw a shot blocked as the visitors went in to half time with a spring in their step. But within 90 seconds of the re-start Brentford had the lead. Having been involved in the build-up, playing two or three incisive passes, Sawyers received a ball from Dalsgaard and drilled it low in to the bottom corner from 18 yards.
The goal was superbly executed as Brentford probed for space and then exploited the gap when it came. Sawyers’ finish was unerring and Archer had no chance as the ball whistled past him. Millwall did not, however, let the goal affect them and they came roaring back. After being allowed to proceed following a physical battle with Bjelland, Gregory burst in to the box, his cut back found Tunnicliffe but John Egan made a superb block and the ball was eventually scrambled away.
Millwall had been pressed back at times but had not come to Griffin Park to defend and falling behind gave them even more incentive to go forward. That meant the second half was stretched and end-to-end at times with good chances for both teams. Millwall looked to use the advantage they had in height and physicality, introducing powerful striker Tom Elliott to play with Gregory, while Brentford counter-attacked with pace.
Sawyers fired wide from a position similar to the one had had scored from after being set up by Maupay before Florian Jozefzoon cut inside and saw a shot blocked. Bentley almost scored an own goal when Conor McLaughlin drilled a shot low and the goalkeeper spilled it on to his own post before gathering. He was far more convincing moments later when he palmed away a fierce shot from Wallace that was arrowing towards the top corner. Elliott also missed the target with a header.
O’Brien shot wide when a cross was half cleared before Watkins saw an effort deflect wide at the other end as the game flowed from end-to end. Jozefzoon turned a cross wide at the near post before a trio of chances came and went for Brentford. Firstly, Jozefzoon was beaten to a Clarke cross and when the ball came back in, Lasse Vibe got a toe to it from ten yards but Archer blocked. Yennaris then set up Vibe again but the shot flew wide of the far post.
Sawyers fired wide for Brentford when well-placed before a free kick from Shane Ferguson at the other end was blocked. When the corner was half-cleared, Ferguson delivered again, Cooper got a touch on it and Bjelland diverted it away for another corner. Vibe had a shot blocked before Bentley saved well from Gregory after the striker had backed in, turned well and fired in a shot from the edge of the box.
Cooper headed off target as Millwall started to go longer and put more balls in the box. And with the temperature rising at Griffin Park, referee Lee Probert became the centre of attention. Millwall overloaded in attack and Elliott fed Wallace and the visiting attacker tumbled over the legs of Dalsgaard at the edge of the penalty area. Mr Probert awarded a penalty while Gregory fired home the loose ball. Millwall protested the goal should have been given but Gregory may have been offside if the game had continued. After a series of protests Gregory took the spot kick and Bentley won the battle, diving to his right to push the shot out.
Cooper had a late shot blocked but that seemed to knock the stuffing out of Millwall and their possession and territorial advantage came to nothing. And indeed, Brentford could have scored a second. Firstly, Vibe robbed Shaun Hutchinson and broke clear before firing inches past the posrt. Watkins then fired just over from 12 yards after good work by Sawyers and Vibe while other breaks came to nothing. The later stages saw lots of hustle and bustle but few chances and that enabled Brentford to take the win.
Brentford: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Egan, Bjelland, Clarke; Woods; Jozefzoon (sub McEachran 75 mins), Sawyers, Yennaris, Watkins (sub Mepham 90 mins); Maupay (sub Vibe 65 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Chatzitheodoridis, Barbet, Archibald
Bookings: Woods (83 mins) (second of season), Mepham (90 mins)
Millwall: Archer, McLaughlin, Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith (sub Elliott 59 mins); Wallace, Tunnicliffe, Saville, Ferguson; O’Brien (sub Onyedinma 75 mins); Gregory
Subs (not used): Martin, Craig, Thompson, Romeo, Twardek
Bookings: Ferguson (53 mins)
Attendance: 9,622 (1,643 away fans)