Bees pick up vital away win
Goals from Alan Judge and James Tarkowski gave Brentford a Sky Bet Championship double over Reading and kept the dream of promotion to the Premier League alive.
The Bees went ahead early on when Judge volleyed in and Tarkowski nodded home in the second half to make the game safe and add a 2-0 away win to a 3-1 victory over the Berkshire side at
The win leaves The Bees two points behind Derby County, who are sixth, and three behind Ipswich Town in the race for the Sky Bet Championship Play-Offs.
Reading lined up with five midfield players behind lone striker Hal Robson-Kanu.
They made it clear early on they would look to press Brentford high up the pitch with as many of their players in advance positions as possible.
That made it difficult for Brentford to play out in the way they like to in the opening exchanges.
The options for a pass for goalkeeper David Button were reduced and he was forced to go longer more often as a result.
That meant Reading had the better of the first 15 minutes, albeit Brentford had the lead.
The goal came when Andre Gray got the ball on the edge of the penalty area and turned away from Alex Pearce, he played the ball across for Judge to meet it on the volley and put The Bees ahead.
Button had earlier saved a Gareth McCleary shot and Nathaniel Chalobah fired wide when a cross was half cleared.
And after the goal, Robson-Kanu headed a Chris Gunter cross wide when he really should have hit the target.
McCleary and Chalobah, who were linking well on the inside left channel for Reading, both shot over as the home side pressed.
Brentford were starting to find a little bit of space when they could play through the first line of Reading’s defence and Gray came close with a shot that deflected over the bar after he again spun well.
A Tarkowski header, from Jota’s corner, was blocked before another Gray shot that looked destined for the corner was deflected wide.
Jonathan Douglas had a header saved and an Alex Pritchard effort, after he had exchanged passes with Judge, deflected just wide.
Jamie Mackie blasted wide when well-placed for the hosts and then failed to convert a Jordan Obita cross under pressure from Jake Bidwell before Tarkowski blocked a Chalobah shot.
Reading’s hold on the game lessened as the first half wore on and Brentford could have gone in two up when Gray almost got on to a lofted ball from Douglas but home goalkeeper Adam Federici bravely saved at his feet.
The Bees went close again just after the break when Gray got away down the right, leaving Michael Hector in his wake, he drew Federici but the goalkeeper saved his low shot.
The home side, with renewed energy, pressed in the early stages of the second half and had the ball in the net ten minutes after the break.
A McCleary shot was blocked, Robson-Kanu spun and saw his shot superbly saved by Button and when Chalobah put it in, he was in an offside position.
A Danny Williams shot deflected wide and Robson-Kanu turned an Obita cross wide at the near post but Brentford were soon on top.
They were able to find the gaps in Reading’s midfield more regularly and create chances.
Judge shot wide and Gray saw an effort blocked before McCleary was booked for a cynical pull back on Jota when the Spaniard was racing clear.
That, however, proved to only be a short reprieve as Judge curled over the free kick and Tarkowski headed his first goal of the season.
With Brentford needing to score more to improve their goal difference, and their chance of making the top six, they continued to press.
But it made the game very open.
Oliver Norwood was crowded out as he tried to finish off a corner and when Tarkowski was robbed, Simon Cox bore down on Button but was denied by a superb save from the Brentford goalkeeper.
Button denied Jack Stacey soon after but Brentford dominated the later stages as they looked to extend their lead.
Judge fired a free kick in to a defensive wall and then saw the follow-up blocked before Jon Toral hit the post with a fierce low shot.
Judge should have added a third in stoppage time when he was slipped through by Stuart Dallas with only Federici to beat but the goalkeeper denied him and ensured Brentford had to settle for a 2-0 win.
That means they go in to the final game knowing a win, coupled with defeat for Derby, would ensure a Play-Off place and if Ipswich are beaten The Bees could also climb in to the top six.
All to play for.
Reading: Federici; Gunter, Pearce, Hector, Obita; Norwood; Mackie, Williams, Chalobah (sub Cox 66 mins), McCleary (sub Stacey 66 mins); Robson-Kanu (sub Blackman 85 mins)
Subs (not used): Andersen, Akpan, Karacan, Cooper
Bookings: Norwood (35 mins), McCleary (64 mins), Obita (86 mins)
Brentford: Button; Odubajo, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Douglas, Diagouraga; Jota (sub Toral 68 mins), Pritchard (sub Smith 83 mins), Judge; Gray (sub Dallas 68 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, Craig, O’Connell, McCormack
Bookings: Button (31 mins) (fifth of season)
Attendance: 20,048 (3,457 Bees fans)
By Chris Wickham