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Match Reports

Brentford v Wigan Athletic

2 May 2015

Bees make Play-Offs with last day win

Brentford’s season will go in to extra time after a 3-0 final day win against Wigan Athletic took them in to the Sky Bet Championship Play-Offs.
The Bees started the day seventh and knew they needed to win and for other results to go their way for them to make the top six.
But with Derby County, who started the day sixth, losing at home to Reading and Ipswich Town, who were fifth at kick-off, beaten at Blackburn Rovers, Brentford’s win was enough.
And once Alex Pritchard scored the opening goal just before the half hour, the result at Griffin Park was never really in doubt.
That took The Bees in to the Play-Offs in the ‘as-it-stands’ table and they never relinquished that position.
Jota scored seconds after half time to make it two and then set up Andre Gray for a third goal late on.
James Tarkowski saw a late penalty saved as Brentford threatened to run riot but the final whistle brought jubilant scenes to Griffin Park as a Play-Off spot was secured.
Wigan started the game well, seemingly free of pressure with their relegation confirmed.
They had the inventive Kim Bo-Kyung just in behind strikers Billy Mckay and Marc-Antoine Fortuné and they pressed Brentford back.
The Bees found it hard to play out from the back in the early stages, forced in to playing longer balls or going back to goalkeeper David Button to build play again.
Wigan were winning the ball in dangerous areas and had enough players in attacking positions to turn possession in to chances.
Button saved from Fortuné and then kept out a Gaëtan Bong effort.
Fortuné thought they had scored 20 minutes in but the goal was ruled out as Bong had pulled a cross back after the ball had crossed the line.
Mckay had a shot deflected wide as Wigan held the upper hand.
Brentford’s first 20 minutes would not have been what they were hoping for.
They were unable to move the ball as they would have liked and did not have a lot of good attacking possession.
Pritchard forced Lee Nicholls in to an early save but when the half reached the midway point Wigan would have been much happier.
A Mckay shot deflected wide for the visitors and the striker then saw a shot deflect on to the roof of the net.
From the resulting corner, played short, James Perch let fly with shot that was deflected off target.
Brentford were starting to get more than their fair of possession as the minutes ticked by but without creating much to worry Wigan.
Pritchard created a chance for Gray after getting on to an Alan Judge nod down but the striker’s shot was deflected away for a corner.
When Judge delivered the dead ball, Pritchard’s flicked header flew across the face of goal.
The Bees were starting to build up a head of steam and Gray was cynically hacked down by Harry Maguire as he looked to get away.
That, however, only gave Pritchard the chance he needed.
The midfield player let fly with a free kick that took a deflection and fizzed in to the top corner to put Brentford in front.
Wigan refused to lie down and Button saved from Tim Chow before Harlee Dean made a fine tackle as Mckay bore down on goal.
The Bees had a chance to make it two at the other end when Gray got away after a defensive slip, he squared to Pritchard but Perch made a recovery tackle and the chance was gone.
Brentford did manage to recycle possession but Pritchard’s shot hit Judge on its way towards goal.
Moses Odubajo saw a shot on the turn saved and Gray almost scored when he got on to a lofted pass from Pritchard but he toe-ended the ball wide with Nicholls bearing down on him.
Kim fired over at the end of the first half as Brentford went in at the break knowing they were doing enough but aware they needed to make the game safe.
And they scored seconds after the restart.
Odubajo burst forward and slipped a ball through to Jota, faced with only Nicholls to beat, the Spaniard slotted the ball under the goalkeeper and in.
But Wigan hit straight back – Bong found space on the left and when Mckay had a shot, Jake Bidwell cleared it superbly off the line, Chow fired it back in and the ball looked set for the net when it hit the same Brentford defender but Button recovered to make a save.
And with Wigan starting to run out of steam, Brentford moved through the gears.
A Judge cross eluded defenders but did not fall kindly for Gray to convert and Tarkowski hit the crossbar from a Pritchard pull back.
Judge brought a fine save out of Nicholls with a low shot after good work from Jota before Gray was tackled by Maguire as he looked set to put an Odubajo cross in.
Nicholl saved from Jota and then at the feet of Judge before the third goal came with ten minutes remaining,
Jota was the architect with a fine run and pass, Gray latched on to it and lashed it under Nicholls and in.
Button saved from Jordan Flores and a long-range effort from Jermaine Pennant but Brentford were rampant.
Nicholl saved a Jonathan Douglas lob and when Judge exchanged passes with Dean he was brought crashing down by Don Cowie.
Tarkowski’s penalty was hard and low but Nicholls went to his right to keep it out.
Alan McCormack almost sealed the game with a spot from a Tommy Smith cut back but the effort was weak and hit Jota,
It proved not to matter as referee Andy Woolmer brought the game to a close and ensure Brentford had finished fifth in the table.
They will now face Middlesbrough home and away for a chance to go to Wembley for the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final, which would leave them 90 minutes from the Premier League.
Brentford: Button; Odubajo, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Douglas, Diagouraga (sub McCormack 83 mins); Jota, Pritchard (sub Dallas 71 mins), Judge; Gray (sub Smith 83 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, Craig, Udumaga, Toral
Wigan Athletic: Nicholls; Perch, Maguire, Pearce; Boyce, Chow (sub Flores 64 mins), Cowie, Bong; Kim (sub Pennant h/t); Mckay, Fortuné (sub Robles 64 mins)
Subs (not used): Carson, Taylor, McCann, Barnett
Bookings: Bong (60 mins), Maguire (72 mins)
Attendance: 11,842 (909 away fans)
By Chris Wickham

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