A first half goal from Saman Ghoddos earned Brentford a win against Luton Town. The attacker scored his first goal for The Bees in the Emirates FA Cup win over Middlesbrough at the start of the month and followed it up with the winner on a wet and wild West London night. He headed home a cross from Ivan Toney inside the first 15 minutes and that was enough to settle the game in the favour of The Bees and enable them to complete a Sky Bet Championship double over Luton.
It was a win Brentford probably just about deserved on the balance of play and chances but one they had to work exceptionally hard for. The Bees, who had not played for ten days and not competed in the Championship since the end of 2020, dominated the opening exchanges and could have been more than one up. But Luton had much the better of the second half and created the chances to have taken a point. But The Bees stood firm and took the win.
Brentford flew out of the blocks, on the front foot from the first whistle and looking like they were refreshed after time without a match. They played the game in Luton territory from kick-off, winning a series of corners and putting long throws in to the penalty area. The Bees dominated the midfield area with Mathias Jensen and Ghoddos finding spaces to get the home side up the pitch.
It took less than 15 minutes for Brentford’s early pressure to tell. Toney played a first time pass down the line for Bryan Mbeumo and then followed it to receive the back heel as a return pass. Toney delivered a cross in to the penalty area for the arriving Ghoddos to head past Simon Sluga and in to the net. The cross from Toney was inch perfect and Ghoddos diverted it back in the direction it came to beat Sluga to his left.
The goal came at the end of a dominant opening from The Bees when they created a series of chances. Jensen had an early shot blocked before Ghoddos robbed Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall on the edge of the penalty area and Sergi Canós let fly with a shot that deflected wide. Rico Henry lashed wide when a long throw was half cleared, and Toney then set up Canós for a shot that Sluga did well to tip over the crossbar.
Canós then darted through the middle of the Luton side and had a shot blocked after the ball ricochet back to him off Toney as Brentford looked for an opening. Canós may have had options for a pass and failed to make the most of the opportunity but it proved not to matter as The Bees went ahead a few moments later. And there was no doubt they deserved it at that stage. Luton had been forced back with Brentford attacking them from all angles.
Sluga denied Canós soon after and Toney lashed wide from the inside right channel as The Bees continued to press and the hosts were committed to attack. They especially used Henry as an extra attacking option on the left with Ghoddos also bursting forward from midfield, mostly in the inside right channel. Mbeumo picked out one of those runs with a clever pass in to the penalty area but Ghoddos’ shot was blocked.
The later stages of the first half were more even. Luton dropped Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu a little deeper to give them reinforcements in midfield and they were able to build attacks. They also forced errors from The Bees in possession and were dangerous when they won the ball back. David Raya held on to a looping header from Luke Berry and Dewsbury-Hall had a shot blocked by Ethan Pinnock after he won the ball from Ghoddos.
Mpanzu blasted a shot over the bar from the edge of the penalty area and Pinnock blocked an effort from James Collins after Mads Bech Sørensen and Vitaly Janelt had played themselves in to trouble in their own half. But The Bees could still have doubled their lead before the interval. After winning the ball in Luton territory, Canós drove on and looked to have set up a shooting chance for Toney but Berry made a recovery tackle to ensure his team went in at half time one down.
The visitors ended the first half on the attack and having a good spell in the game and they started the second half brightly. Luton had the majority of the ball in the early stages of the second period and the game was mostly played in the Brentford half. The visitors also had a couple of sights of goal with Collins almost getting on the end of an Mpanzu pass and Raya having to scramble the ball away. Mpanzu also had a shot from the edge of the penalty area but failed to make the best contact and Collins was offside as he tried to finish it off.
The second half was definitely very different to the first with Brentford being forced to defend for long periods. Luton were more aggressive out of possession, working hard off the ball and preventing The Bees building any momentum. Brentford had a solid defensive shape and defended their penalty area well but were only able to attack on the break.
The hosts could have added a second on one of those counter-attacks. A Canós pass put Toney in on goal but his left foot shot was straight at Sluga and well held by the goalkeeper. Mbeumo then released Toney again but he tried and failed to get past Tom Lockyer, with Canós available for a pass, and the chance had gone. Canós had a shot saved by Sluga soon after as Brentford continued to threaten, but they were being pushed back.
Luton made a series of changes as they chased an equaliser and they made some good chances as the minutes ticked away. Harry Cornick headed a cross straight at Raya from ten yards and Jordan Clark smashed across the face of goal after breaking in to the penalty area. Raya then had to go full stretch to keep out a flicked effort from Ryan Tunnicliffe.
Cornick had another great chance when he met a low cross ten yards out, but he sliced his shot wide and Tunnicliffe had a shot blocked when Luton broke quickly from a corner. Once those chances had come and gone, Brentford had done just about enough. Lots of crosses came in but Brentford defended them well and could have added a second in the later stages.
Jensen curled a free kick over the bar and Marcus Forss had a shot blocked. When Toney got away on the right he tried to find Forss, but a defender was able to intercept. Jensen picked up the ball as Luton struggled to clear, danced through and lifted a shot over Sluga but watched as it bounced wide. Referee Stephen Martin could have penalised Sluga for wiping Jensen out after the shot but instead allowed the game to continue.
The contest had been competitive throughout and ended in a flashpoint. Toney was penalised for an aerial foul on Lockyer that angered the Luton man. As the ball went down the other end the two faced up in the middle of the pitch. Lockyer put his head in to the face of Toney and was sent off by Mr Martin. Toney had been booked earlier in the contest for kicking the ball away and was shown a second yellow card for his part in the fracas, which seemed to amount to kittle more than being in the same area as an angry Lockyer. That ran down a lot of the injury time and Mr Martin drew the game to a close and gave The Bees a win to start their 2021 league fixtures.
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Pinnock, Sørensen, Henry; Jensen, Janelt, Ghoddos (sub Žambůrek 83 mins); Mbeumo (sub Fosu 74 mins), Toney, Canós (sub Forss 74 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Stevens, Roerslev, Goode, Gilbert, Dervişoğlu
Bookings: Mbeumo (32 mins)
Sent Off: Toney (90 mins) (second bookable offence)
Luton Town: Sluga; Bree, Lockyer, Bradley, Potts (sub Naismith 76 mins); Cornick, Berry (sub Tunnicliffe 64 mins), Dewsbury-Hall (sub Hylton 89 mins), Moncur (sub Clark 64 mins); Mpanzu; Collins (sub LuaLua 64 mins)
Subs (not used): Shea, Pearson, Rea, Nombe
Bookings: Bradley (39 mins)
Sent Off: Lockyer (90 mins)