Fireworks night goes with a bang in Nottingham as Brentford record City Ground win
A Bonfire Night rocket from Jon Toral set Brentford on their way to a superb away win as Nottingham Forest were beaten at The City Ground.
The on-loan Arsenal midfield player smashed home 17 minutes in to put Brentford ahead before Andre Gray made the most of a terrible defensive mistake Eric Lichaj to double the lead before half time.
As Forest fizzled out like a poorly ignited firework in the first half Brentford lit up Guy Fawkes Night in Nottingham with a sparkling display.
They added a third just after half time and then defended almost everything Forest could throw at them, leaving with a fully merited three points.
Almost from the first whistle Brentford had the game under a measure of control.
Forest used speedy Michail Antonio as a lone striker in the opening 45 and tried to get him running in behind The Bees.
He fired well wide with one early effort but largely played with his back to goal, which suited Brentford.
The Bees dominated possession in the early stages and Jonathan Douglas saw a fierce shot blocked inside the first five minutes before Gray was just unable to turn in an Alex Pritchard cross.
Brentford seemed to have more time on the ball than their hosts, they rotated it around the central areas at will at times and looked to get their full backs forwards to join in the attack.
Chris Burke shot wide for the hosts but Brentford went ahead just past the quarter hour.
Moses Odubajo darted forward from right back and the home defence backed off as he strode half the length of the pitch, he tried to find Gray and was then hacked down by Jack Hunt as he looked set to shoot but the ball broke to Toral with referee Mark Haywood signalling an advantage and the shot flew in to the top corner from 15 yards.
Forest looked for a quick response and it took a fine block from Harlee Dean to prevent a Henri Lansbury shot arrowing towards goal.
Antonio then shot across the face of goal before a long range effort from Danny Fox was tipped over and the resulting corner was curled along the six-yard box.
Brentford weathered the storm and started to take control of the game, Forest were unable to press the ball and The Bees had them chasing shadows at times.
Toral set up Pritchard for a shot that deflected just wide before Alan Judge let fly from 25 yards with a shot that was narrowly off target.
Brentford looked likely to get a second goal but when it came it was a gift.
The Bees pressed Forest in the home side’s defensive area and a back pass from Lichaj, just on as a substitute for the injured Hunt, to Karl Darlow was weak, Gray nipped in, took the ball past the goalkeeper and slotted home.
Toral could have made it three with a header from a Judge cross that was blocked inside the six-yard box while, at the other end, David Button saved a Jamaal Lascelles header and, from the resulting corner, Tony Craig cleared a Tom Ince effort deep inside his penalty area.
Fox also shot wide late in the half but Brentford had two golden chances to seal the win before the break.
First, after a period of nice interplay, Toral fed the ball infield, Douglas arrived eight yards out but steered his shot past the post with only Darlow to beat.
The Forest goalkeeper made a vital save soon after when Gray robbed Kelvin Wilson and got away in the inside right channel, the striker shot and Darlow turned the ball away when a square ball to Judge would have left a tap-in.
Brentford’s only concern at the break was that they should have been further ahead but they need not have worried as it took them just over three minutes after the restart.
The livewire Gray got away again in the inside right and the hapless Wilson lunged in to bring him down.
Pritchard took the responsibility and drilled the penalty down the middle to make it 3-0.
Forest had looked to change things at the break, ripping up their game plan to bring on Britt Assombalonga for Lascelles and move to two up front.
Assombalonga had the pace and nous to trouble Brentford in behind and he had the ball in the net five minutes in to the second half but the goal was ruled out as he was adjudged to have fouled Button.
Antonio shot well wide soon after but Forest were markedly improved in the second half with a more direct outlook and Fox narrowly missed the target from 25 yards as the game approached the hour mark.
However, Gray almost put The Bees out of sight soon after, he picked the ball up on halfway and turned away from Michael Mancienne, racing towards goal he twisted Wilson inside out but Darlow kept out the low shot.
Forest were just about in the game and they had the upper hand in the second period.
An Antonio ball flew across the danger area before Button got down well to save a Lansbury free kick.
Button then saved again from Antonio and Ince fired wide from the edge of the box as Forest pressed.
Brentford, now with Stuart Dallas at right back as Odubajo was withdrawn limping, were holding firm but Forest pulled one back with eight minute to go when Antonio cut inside and lashed home from 25 yards.
The home side were down to ten by this point as Fox was taken off on a stretcher with all home substitutes used and although they continued to attack, Brentford made the extra man count.
Pritchard had a shot blocked and Judge curled narrowly wide while, at the other end, a Lansbury effort was blocked by captain Craig.
Forest continued to try to attack but Brentford had done enough to ensure it was their firework night, not the home side’s, that went with a bang.
Nottingham Forest: Darlow; Hunt (sub Lichaj 32 mins), Lascelles (sub Assombalonga h/t), Wilson, Fox; Mancienne; Ince, Osborn, Lansbury, Burke (sub Paterson 62 mins); Antonio
Subs (not used): De Vries, Fryatt, Harding, Tesche
Bookings: Lansbury (20 mins)
Brentford: Button; Odubajo (sub Dallas 64 mins), Dean, Craig, Bidwell; Douglas, Diagouraga; Toral (sub Jota 58 mins), Pritchard, Judge; Gray (sub Proschwitz 74 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, Tarkowski, Smith, Saunders
Bookings: Douglas (55 mins) (suspended for one match – Millwall, November 8), Pritchard (69 mins)
By Chris Wickham