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Match Reports

Reading 0 Brentford 1

One goal settles it as Bees win in Berkshire

20 January 2018

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Lasse Vibe scored the only goal as Brentford made it five wins from six Sky Bet Championship games by defeating Reading. In a game where chances for both sides came and went, Vibe was the only man to get his name on the scoresheet. And that goal, in the 75th minute, proved to be the difference as Brentford took a 1-0 win and made it 15 points from the last 18 over the past month.

That the game only had one goal would have left most viewers very surprised. The woodwork was struck, both goalkeepers made a series of saves – some of them very good – and the shot count was in to the dozens. Most of the efforts came in the second half. The first period saw few good openings, apart from in the last moments, but the game came to life after the break and it was Brentford that got the crucial goal.

The styles of the two teams made for a contest that started in intriguing rather than thrilling fashion. Brentford looked to dominate the midfield and play through to get their attackers involved while the home side were happy to keep the ball in the own territory. They often used a longer ball to lone striker Jón Daði Böðvarsson for him to win and bring others in to play and the Icelandic striker had a shot blocked early on after a clever turn.

Böðvarsson was also involved in Reading’s other good sight of goal in the first half hour. He worked his way down the right and drilled a ball in that Daniel Bentley couldn’t gather and Chris Mepham had to smash clear with Liam Kelly lurking. There were other good moves from the hosts, particularly when they got Mo Barrow in space on the left, but Brentford mainly had the initiative in the first half and Reading were forced back.

The Bees looked to be higher up the pitch than the home side. They tried to win the ball back when Reading had possession in their own third and there were a few early scares when Vibe charged down clearances. Vibe could also have scored eight minutes in when he got on the end of a Florian Jozefzoon cross after Ollie Watkins had created the space. Vibe took a slightly heavy touch and his shot was saved by Vito Mannone, the follow-up from Watkins was then blasted at goal but a combination of the Reading goalkeeper and his defenders kept it out.

That was the best chance of the first period for The Bees. Yoann Barbet forced Mannone to tip a free kick over the bar and one from Jozefzoon curled wide from slightly further out. As the first half came to an end, it started to open out and there were more sights of goal in the five minutes before the break then there had been in the previous 40 minutes.

Böðvarsson forced Bentley in to a save above his head with a shot on the turn and the Brentford goalkeeper then made a more comfortable one from a low Joey van den Berg effort. Watkins then drilled a ball across the face of goal after Brentford broke quickly. There was still time for appeals for a penalty after it appeared Vibe was blocked off by Tiago Ilori but referee Darren Bond waved away the appeals. A Watkins shot then hit Vibe in the final action of the half when it appeared as if it may trouble Mannone.

The end-to-end nature of the final stages of the first period continued in to the second half. The game was more open after the break with Reading committing more men to attack and looking to play forward more often. They also tried to stop Brentford playing in to midfield which change the game from being one condensed in the centre of the park to one that was more lively.

Brentford should have taken advantage three minutes after the break when a golden chance came and went. Vibe played a one-two and then cut the ball back looking for Watkins for a second interchange of passes, he was crowded out but the ball dropped to Jozefzoon and he fired it low towards the corner. The whole ground expected the net to bulge but substitute Tyler Blackett cleared off the line on the stretch with his first touch.

Vibe then tried to divert a pass from Romaine Sawyers passed Mannone but only found the goalkeeper’s midriff. Watkins had a shot blocked after cutting inside before a series of passes led to Barbet setting up Sawyers to drill narrowly wide from 20 yards. Despite Brentford’s fast start to the second half Reading could have edged ahead when Chris Gunter cut a George Evans pass back to Böðvarsson but the striker’s effort whistled just past the far post.

A surging run forward from Mepham eventually led to the defender having a shot after Ryan Woods had dispossessed Kelly by the touch line. Substitute Sergi Canós saw two shots blocked and the fired wide as he tried to torment Gunter on the Brentford left. Vibe then fired across the face of goal after more good work by Canós.

But once again Brentford’s weight of chances was balanced against Reading almost taking the one they fashioned. Kelly curled a free kick from 22 yards that whistled over the defensive wall and clipped the top of the crossbar on its way in to the crowd. Vibe then almost conjured something out of nothing at the other end when he got on to a Kamohelo Mokotjo pass and let fly with an effort that looped narrowly over.

Brentford had been almost faultless at the back with Andreas Bjelland imperious and Mepham standing up to everything that was thrown at him. One mistake looked as it if would settle the game and when Mepham made one, conceding possession in his own half, it might have cost Brentford. Instead, The Bees went up the other end and scored the winning goal.

The Bees were pressed deep in their own territory and Mepham gave the ball straight to Kelly, He found Barrow in space but the wide man failed to make the most of the chance and Mepham blocked the shot. Brentford broke and Jozefzoon was released in behind, he got away from the defence and tried to lift the ball over Mannone but the shot was blocked. Canós tried to get on to the loose ball but couldn’t, Vibe, however, could. He got away from Mannone, steadied himself and lashed the ball past the defenders on the line.

The goal was celebrated wildly by nearly 3,000 travelling fans and the Brentford players and even though it was the sort of game that one goal would settle, it probably shouldn’t have been. Vibe had a shot blocked in the next attack after some nice interplay and Mokotjo then got off a shot that Mannone saved well at full stretch to his right. Another superb move then saw Mokotjo cross for Canós to meet on the bounce but the shot flew over.

The game got more stretched as Reading chased an equaliser. They threw striker Yann Kermorgant on and ended with Liam Moore playing in attack as they went more direct. Kermorgant saw a shot blocked soon after his introduction and it looked as if it would fall to Barrow but Bentley rushed out to make a smothering save. The resulting corner was met at the near post by Kermorgant but his looping effort was headed away underneath the crossbar by Barbet.

Bentley saved at the feet of Böðvarsson when a free kick was nodded down and deep in to stoppage time Brentford should have sealed it. Vibe got away from Tiago Ilori and on to a long ball from Bjelland, he raced clear and approached Mannone before drawing the keeper and trying to lift the ball in. The shot was saved and the Dane then miss-kicked as he tried to finish it off. Lewis Macleod then set up Mokotjo but Mannone made a save with his legs.

That could have proved crucial as there was still time for Reading to push forward. A scramble in the box could have produced a goal but Böðvarsson got underneath the ball and lifted it over from four yards. There was still a chance for Mannone to come up for a corner that was met by Ilori but the effort landed on top of the net. That proved to be the final chance and Brentford had the points, climbing in to the top ten in the Championship and extending their run of league form to three defeats in 21 matches.

Reading: Mannone; Gunter, Moore, Ilori, Richards (sub Blackett h/t); Evans, van den Berg (sub Kermorgant 77 mins); Aluko (sub Beerens 60 mins), Kelly, Barrow, Böðvarsson

Subs (not used): Jaakkola, McCleary, Clement, Edwards

Bookings: van den Berg (10 mins), Gunter (45 mins), Barrow (90 mins)

Brentford: Bentley; Yennaris, Mepham, Bjelland, Barbet; Woods; Jozefzoon (sub Macleod 87 mins), Mokotjo, Sawyers, Watkins (sub Canós 65 mins); Vibe

Subs (not used): Daniels, Clarke, McEachran, Emiliano, Maupay

Bookings: Watkins (60 mins) (sixth of season), Woods (84 mins) (fifth of season), Bjelland (85 mins), Canós (86 mins) (second of season)

Attendance: 17,893 (2,866 Bees fans)

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