Four points over the Easter Weekend have seen The Bees cut the gap on the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off places to five points with six games to go.
In horrendous conditions on Good Friday, Chris Mepham struck his first Brentford goal to secure a point against Sheffield United. Chris Basham’s deflected strike put The Blades ahead just after the break but Mepham drilled home with 20 minutes remaining to level things up. Things turned sour in the aftermath of the goal with Ryan Woods and Jamal Blackman shown red for an off-the-ball incident but neither side could take advantage of the extra space to find a late winner.
Easter Monday saw Dean Smith’s side go up against another Play-Off contender in the shape of Bristol City and return home with the three points. The Bees dominated from almost start to finish but had to wait until ten minutes from time to grab the deserved winner; Neal Maupay squeezing a shot past Frank Fielding from 12 yards. Maupay’s winner was just one of 27 shots Brentford registered at Ashton Gate as the win kept The Bees in the hunt for a top six finish. The game also saw Alan Judge return to the starting line-up after a 723 day absence.
It was another good week for Brentford B too as they wrapped up a sixth straight win, this time following a 3-0 success over Chelsea at Jersey Road. Chiedozie Ogbene, Alan Judge and Reece Cole were the men on target as The Blues joined an ever-growing list of top-flight teams who have fallen victim to Kevin O’Connor’s side this term.
Sky Bet Championship News
It has been a big weekend at both ends of the table as the games start to run out in the Sky Bet Championship. Victory for nine-man Wolverhampton Wanderers at Middlesbrough on Friday means Nuno Espirito Santo’s men need just nine more points to guarantee a return to the top flight while a 92nd minute equaliser against Sheffield United last night moved Cardiff City eight points clear of third. The top two meet at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday night in what is shaping up to be a potential title decider.
It was a mixed weekend for the Play-Off chasers with only The Bees and Millwall taking four points from their two Easter games. Derby County’s 1-0 win over Preston North End ended an eight-game winless run for Gary Rowett’s side and moved them back up to fifth. Middlesbrough stay in the top six, two points behind The Rams, despite needing a last-minute goal to take a point off bottom of the table Burton Albion but just five points covers six teams down to Brentford in the Play-Off chase.
At the other end of the table, Birmingham City’s 1-0 win over Ipswich Town moved them out of the bottom three at the expense of Barnsley. Blues face Bolton Wanderers at The Macron Stadium tonight knowing that a win would move them level on points with The Trotters and five clear of The Tykes. It’s looking bleak for Sunderland and Burton Albion now with the gap between them and safety out to five points with just six games to play.
Manchester City could be crowned Champion of England on Sunday if they beat bitter rivals Manchester United at The Etihad Stadium. Pep Guardiola’s side are 16 points clear with just seven games to go following Saturday’s 3-1 triumph over Everton. Victory over their city rivals could cap off a big week for The Citizens as they take on Liverpool tomorrow night in the first leg of their Champions League Quarter-Final tie.
After just one win in four months in charge, Alan Pardew’s tenure at West Bromwich Albion came to an end on Monday with The Baggies staring relegation to the second tier in the face. Michael Appleton, Chris Wilder, and Mick McCarthy are the early front-runners to replace Pardew with Albion ten points from safety and all-but certain to drop out of the top flight for the first time since 2009.
In America, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s debut for LA Galaxy lived up to the hype with the Swedish frontman coming off the bench to score twice as Galaxy came from 3-0 down to beat LA FC 4-3 on Saturday. The Swede’s first was an audacious 40 yard effort six minutes after coming on to level things up and he then settled the derby in injury-time with a close-range header.