A goal in each half as Brentford win at Molineux
Goals from Marco Djuricin and Philipp Hofmann ensured Brentford picked up their second win in four days, this time against Wolverhampton Wanderers. After beating Rotherham United at Griffin Park on Saturday, Brentford travelled to Molineux in good spirits and produced a superb first half performance. Djuricin gave them a half time lead and Hofmann came off the substitute’s bench to seal a 2-0 win in the dying moments.
There was plenty of defending for The Bees to do but the back four, superbly marshalled by Harlee Dean and James Tarkowski, protected David Button throughout. The hosts had chances but Brentford did enough to take the win, the second under Head Coach Lee Carsley, and also kept their first clean sheet of the campaign.
The hosts went straight on the attack from the kick-off and, following a half cleared free-kick, Conor Coady pulled a shot wide inside a minute but it was Brentford that started the game better. With Alan McCormack and Toumani Diagouraga providing a platform in midfield, The Bees dominated early possession. Ryan Woods, in a more advanced role than he had played in recent weeks, linked with Alan Judge and John Swift and Brentford were able to create openings.
Judge saw a volley blocked after one period of attacking possession and when Nico Yennaris delivered a cross from the right, Swift was unable to get a decent contact from eight yards. A Judge free kick looked to be arrowing in before it took a deflection and flew wide and Djuricin could not make a clean contact from ten yards allowing Emiliano Martinez to get down to save.
Wolves started with a flat midfield four and tried to utilise the pace and power of Benik Afobe as their main attacking outlet. The striker almost created a goal out of nothing with a superb run from deep that was only ended by a Jake Bidwell foul inches outside the penalty area. Bidwell was booked and James Henry wasted the free kick with a low effort that was easily cleared.
The hosts were looking to keep their wingers wide and press Brentford in defensive areas but that meant they were outnumbered in midfield. As soon as The Bees got through the attacking line, they were able to move the ball and find space. And the opening goal was a direct result of such play. Brentford probed and passed and waited for space, eventually Judge found it and lifted a ball forward, Djuricin met it on the volley and watched as it took a fortunate deflection, looped over Martinez and in to the net.
The goal was no more than Brentford deserved for their start to the match. They kept the ball well and forced Wolves in to mistakes when the hosts had possession. The home side had a threat, particularly in the shape of Afobe, but were limited to few chances in the first half hour. Adam Le Fondre fired over from 20 yards when a cross was half cleared and another Afobe run set up a chance for Kevin McDonald but Tarkowski flew out to deflect it wide.
As half time approached Wolves started to gain the initiative and David Button made a good save when Afobe found space in the inside left channel and got a shot away, Tarkowski was then alert to prevent Le Fondre getting on to the rebound. But Brentford were proving effective on the counter attack and, when Tarkowski played a long pass to the right wing, Wood and Swift set up Djuricin but the Austrian failed to connect properly from ten yards. Afobe pulled a shot wide late in the half but Brentford went in at the break with the lead and fully meriting it.
And they could have added to it early in the second half. Djuricin had a shot blocked before McCormack – who had set up that chance with a fine turn, run and pass – saw another effort cleared by the defence. The ball was then recycled and worked to Judge but his shot was deflected and saved by Martinez.
Coady saw a weak shot saved by Button at the other end but before the hour mark Wolves rung the chances. Ranjiv van La Parra and Jack Price were introduced as the home side sacrificed their wingers and looked to play through the centre more. They maintained their high line and forced Brentford to hold a deep defensive position, trying to stretch the game. They were dominating possession as the game ticked past the hour mark but had yet to really trouble Button.
The tide had turned the way of Wolves since the double change but Brentford were holding firm defensively, and they almost snatched a second in strange circumstance. Djuricin turned in midfield and let fly with a shot that looped towards the dead ball line, Martinez rushed to prevent the corner and spilled the ball, only just recovering it at the second, and then third, attempt as Judge threatened to rob him and run in on and unguarded goal.
Afobe should have levelled for Wolves with 15 minutes to go when – following a superb block from Dean of a Le Fondre shot – he found himself unmarked ten yards out but he volleyed over. Le Fondre had another chance soon after but his flicked effort from a Scott Golbourne cross was saved by Button. Swift went close at the other end with a shot from 20 yards that flew wide on a Brentford counter attack as Wolves started to run out of time, and ideas.
Danny Batth had a good chance for the hosts, heading a corner over, and van La Parra blasted off target after cutting inside. But Konstantin Kerschbaumer pulled a shot just wide at the other end for The Bees and Martinez unconvincingly saved a dipping Swift shot as Brentford showed they still had the will to attack.
And that attacking instinct was shown when they sealed the game late on. Hofmann had been denied by Martinez when Kerschbaumer sent him through with only the goalkeeper to beat, but made no mistake moments later. He picked up a Swift flick on as the Wolves defence slept, rounded Martinez and stroked the ball home.
That caused the stands at Molineux to empty and Judge almost made it three with a long range effort but Martinez kept it out. Button denied van La Parra at the other end but Brentford’s job was just about done and when the final whistle went moments later Brentford had their fourth win of the campaign and second in consecutive games.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Martinez; Iorfa (sub Doherty 78 mins), Batth, Hause, Golbourne; Henry (sub van La Parra 53 mins), McDonald, Coady, Ojo (sub Price 53 mins); Afobe, Le Fondre
Subs (not used): Ikeme, Doherty, Wallace, Byrne, Enobakhare
Bookings: Iorfa (66 mins)
Brentford: Button; Yennaris, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; McCormack (sub Kerschbaumer 78 mins0, Diagouraga; Woods (sub Canós 71 mins), Judge, Swift; Djuricin (sub Hofmann 74 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, O’Connell, Kerschbaumer, Gogia
Bookings: Bidwell (14 mins) (second of season), Tarkowski (56 mins) (third of season)