Brentford suffered a narrow defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, after both sides were reduced to ten men. Atdhe Nuhiu had given The Owls the lead from the penalty spot in the first half. Alan Judge scored an equaliser after the break but Lucas Joao scored in the final minute.
The first chance of the game went the way of the visitors as Kieran Lee crossed for Nuhiu to head straight at David Button. Wednesday continued to show early dominance as Button was forced to parry away a long range effort from Ross Wallace. Nuhiu then came close when he directed a corner narrowly wide of the left post.
Brentford soon settled into the game and fashioned chances of their own. After 15 minutes, Judge crossed low for Marco Djuricin but defender Tom Lees did just enough to distract the Austrian at the far post and the ball ran wide. The sides continued to exchange openings as the half went on. Alan McCormack worried Keiren Westwood in the away goal when he shot from distance, just moments before Marco Matias troubled Button with a similar effort.
The game’s end-to-end nature culminated in a dramatic five minutes after half an hour of football. It started when Judge crossed from the right for Jake Bidwell to volley a shot off the crossbar at the far post. Wednesday headed straight down the field, moving the ball down the left before Nuhiu collected it just inside the penalty area. Surrounded by three Bees defenders, he motioned to shoot but was instead brought down by James Tarkowski.
After consulting with his assistant, referee Geoff Eltringham deemed this a sending off and showed a red card to the Brentford centre-back. Nuhiu sent the resulting penalty straight down the middle, giving the visitors the lead. Marinus Dijkhuizen was forced to adapt his team’s system after going down to ten men. Jack O’Connell was brought on for Konstantin Kerschbaumer, and Judge slotted into the middle ahead of Toumani Diagouraga and McCormack.
Just before the break, Harlee Dean had a chance from a corner but his header missed the target.
In the second half, Brentford pushed on for an equaliser. The earliest chance came when Judge dispossessed fullback Jack Hunt but his ball through had too much pace for Djuricin to catch. Soon after, Bidwell crossed for Djuricin and the forward thundered a header off the bar but the assistant had already raised his flag for offside. The Bees were also denied by the flag a few minutes later when Judge sent a free-kick all the way through a line of defenders to clip the post.
The Owls next chance was a shot from Lee, which he scuffed wide after Joao had set the ball back with his chest. Joao had a chance of his own shortly after but Button was once again equal to it and parried the ball away. His opposite number, Westwood, came out to scupper yet another Brentford attack when Diagouraga sent Bidwell through on goal. The captain’s shot was knocked away by the goalkeeper’s left arm.
The equaliser finally came after 76 minutes. A long ball forward by Button evaded everyone in the final third of the pitch except Judge. The Irishman took one touch to set himself and then curled the ball into the net with his second.
Wednesday were then reduced to ten men as well when Jeremy Helan picked up a second yellow card for foul on substitute Sergi Canós. The Spaniard then had a low shot saved by Westwood. At the other end, defenders O’Connell and Bidwell showed tremendous composure to track Joao and then force the ball away from him with two perfectly timed tackles.
The red and white forward line produced two more chances to take the lead before the final whistle. Canós burst down the right before cutting back to drill the ball into the box. Vibe connected with it, but could only send it north of the target. Vibe then turned provider as he touched a deep cross back for Djuricin to hit. The shot was heading in but Westwood managed to dive across and prevent the goal.
Wednesday won it right at the death, completely against the run of play. Joao reacted to a through ball quicker than O’Connell to get a one-on-one with Button and then showed a cool head to slot his finish into the bottom corner.
Brentford: Button; Clarke (sub Canós 73), Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; McCormack (sub Woods 86), Diagouraga; Vibe, Kerschbaumer (sub O’Connell 41 mins), Judge; Djuricin
Subs (not used): Bonham, Yennaris, Barbet, Udumaga
Bookings: Alan McCormack (28 mins) (fourth of season), Button (90 mins) (second of season)
Sent Off: Tarkowski (35 mins)
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood; Hunt, Lees, Turner, Pudil (sub Helan 42); Wallace, Lee, Hutchinson, Bannan; Matias (sub Joao 63), Nuhiu (sub Lopez 81)
Subs (not used): Wildsmith, Loovens, McGugan, Bus
Bookings: Helan (64 mins and 78 mins), Hutchinson (80 mins)
Sent Off: Helan (78 mins)