First half show sets up home win
Three goals in little over half an hour sent Brentford on their way to a fifth home win in six matches as Huddersfield Town were dispatched at Griffin Park. Sergi Canós put The Bees in front inside five minutes and Lasse Vibe smashed home a second just over a quarter of an hour later. Alan Judge made it three with a free kick just past the half hour and scored a penalty in the second period after Huddersfield had pulled a goal back.
There were a few hairy moments for The Bees at the start of the second half. Huddersfield had been very much second best before the break but flew out of the blocks after half time and scored within seconds. They looked as if a comeback might be on but Judge won and scored a penalty to make the game truly safe. Huddersfield scored a second in stoppage time and the game was probably a little more comfortable for the hosts that the 4-2 score line suggests. When The Bees got close to their best in patches of the first half on a mild December afternoon at Griffin Park they were almost unstoppable and a home win was fully deserved.
Brentford started quickly. The hosts were immediately on the front foot and already had a little momentum when they took the lead with their first attempt on goal. Canós was the scorer but John Swift was at the heart of it. First Swift combined with Judge to get Brentford on the front foot in their own half and when the latter released Vibe, the Chelsea loanee was there to receive the pass and feed Canós, who turned Ben Chilwell and fired it low past Jed Steer. The Huddersfield goalkeeper got his hand to the shot but could not keep it out.
The Bees had already taken the initiative but with a goal under their belts they proceeded to produce a footballing display to drool over. There were quick layoffs, sharp interchanges, one touch passing and inventive attacking that Huddersfield had no answer to. And without the ball, Brentford were arguably even better. They hunted in packs and gave no Huddersfield player any time on the ball. They pressed at the right times and won the ball in dangerous areas. By the time Judge made it 3-0 Huddersfield looked completely shell-shocked and the game was long gone.
In truth, the win could have been more convincing. Vibe could have made it two inside 15 minutes when he got on to a long pass from the returning Maxime Colin, beating Joel Lynch for ace and getting there ahead of Steer, he lifted a lob over the goalkeeper but Mark Hudson was well position to prevent the ball going in. Vibe met a Judge corner on the volley moments later and Steer was forced to save and rely on defenders to clear the ball with Jake Bidwell waiting to pounce.
Steer saved from Vibe again soon after when the striker had cleverly made space to receive a direct pass from front to back from Harlee Dean. But Huddersfield did not heed that warning. Moments later James Tarkowski was allowed time to pick his pass, Vibe beat the offside trap and smashed home a shot with his left foot.
It was three just past the half hour. Hudson was penalised for a very deliberate handball that prevented Vibe going in on goal and Brentford had a free kick close to the left touchline. Judge delivered it across and it eluded the five onrushing Brentford players as well as Steer – clearly confused by the movement in front of him – to nestle in the far corner.
That looked as if it had just about ended the match as a contest. Huddersfield looked like a boxer on the ropes, staggering from punch to punch and just trying to stay upright. Brentford had complete domination of the match, control of possession and territory and had no defensive worries. They pressed and probed for more goals but could not find them before the break.
And it was a different contest after half time. Huddersfield introduced Nahki Wells and Joe Dempsey at the break and scored within 35 seconds of the re-start. Joe Lolley started the move with a run and pass that released Wells in behind and then smashed it in from eight yards when the substitute found him with a return pass.
The visitors immediately looked more threatening. Dempsey was taking up positions between the lines that no player on his team had managed in the first half and the pace of Wells gave Brentford’s defensive different problems. Dempsey set up another chance for Lolley as Huddersfield took the initiative at the start of the second half but David Button saved the deflected effort.
But the visitors’ momentum was snuffed out ten minutes after the break and it was Brentford’s talisman Judge who again delivered, winning and scoring a penalty to restore the three goal lead. It came from a Huddersfield corner that Bidwell cleared and Vibe released Judge, the Irishman took on Chilwell and went down when the left back barged in to him. Referee Philip Gibbs awarded the penalty and Judge smashed it high down the middle to put Brentford 4-1 up.
Huddersfield tried to respond but there was a fraction less intensity after Judge’s penalty and that enabled Brentford to draw the sting. Lynch fired just wide after picking up a Lolley pass from a half cleared cross and Tommy Smith missed the target after cutting inside. Vibe could have made it five at the other end when Swift got away down the left and delivered a cross but the Danish striker could not convert the low ball.
Colin produced a fine defensive performance on his return from injury and was also making his presence felt at the other end. One burst forward led to a shooting chance for Sam Saunders that was blocked and when Colin went on the rampage again he exchanged passes with Vibe and fired just over. Button saved from Lolley and Wells fired wide from distance before Vibe shot over after being set up by Judge.
Wells was proving a threat as the game opened out and he fired inches wide, possibly clipping the outside of the post, after a weaving run beat three defenders and Jamie Paterson had a shot blocked soon after. At the other end Judge fired over after an attacking run and there was another great chance moments later. Vibe flicked a Judge pass in to the path of Jota and the Spaniard went through one-on-one. He was, however, unable to beat Steer and Mr Gibbs inexplicably denied Brentford another penalty when Vibe was cleaned out by Hudson when trying to convert the rebound.
Though Brentford had the points, Huddersfield had the last word and Dempsey a goal he deserved. Toumani Diagouraga, otherwise outstanding, slipped in midfield and Paterson went through, the first shot was saved by Button but Dempsey was on hand to smash the loose ball home. It wasn’t the way Brentford would have wanted their afternoon to end but it only put a slight sour note on a fine day at Griffin Park.
Brentford: Button; Colin, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Woods (sub McEachran 75 mins), Diagouraga; Canós (sub Saunders 58 mins), Judge, Swift (sub Jota 80 mins); Vibe
Subs (not used): Bonham, O’Connell, McCormack, Hofmann
Bookings: Diagouraga (18 mins) (fifth of season)
Huddersfield Town: Steer; Smith, Hudson, Lynch, Chilwell; Lolley, Holmes (sub Dempsey h/t), Cranie, Carayol (sub Scannell 61 mins); Paterson; Miller (sub Wells h/t)
Subs (not used): Allinson, Davidson, Wallace, Bunn
Bookings: Hudson (30 mins), Wells (65 mins)
Attendance: 10,262 (1,004 away fans)