Brentford recorded their fourth straight win – and their third since the resumption of the Sky Bet Championship – as they beat Reading 3-0 at The Madejski Stadium. The Bees scored midway through the first half as Bryan Mbeumo nodded in and Josh Dasilva wrapped up the points with a second goal just past the hour mark. There were plenty of chances to have won the game more comfortably before Joel Valencia added a third at the death while Reading never really looked like preventing The Bees recording a fourth clean sheet in a row.
The game was probably even more comfortable than the 3-0 final score suggests. Once The Bees got in to their stride they were the better team all over the pitch. Brentford were a constant threat from dead balls and got their first from a corner to take a half time lead. And when the second came, Reading did not look like they had the inclination or inspiration to find a way back. The third just gave the score line a slightly more accurate reflection of Brentford’s third win since the suspension of football due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The home side had started the game on the front foot. They had a shot from Sam Baldock – that failed to trouble David Raya as it dribbled wide – inside the first two minutes and had a lot of the ball in the first ten minutes. They got high up the pitch to try and stop The Bees playing through the midfield from defence and looked to play in Brentford’s half of the pitch.
But this was a high-energy approach to the game and Brentford were soon able to pick the gaps. Dasilva and Emiliano Marcondes dropped a fraction deeper for a period to give more options for passes and The Bees were able to progress up the pitch. Mbeumo and Saïd Benrahma roamed in to the centre of the field to support Ollie Watkins and Brentford took control.
It was from set pieces that Brentford looked really dangerous and no surprise that was where the opening goal came from. Christian Nørgaard had a chance when he was found by a deep corner, but Rafael made the save. A short corner just before the midway point of the half was worked to Dasilva and he dribbled in to the box before beating Rafael with a cross-cum-shot that was cleared inside the six-yard box. That, however, only delayed what was becoming inevitable. Marcondes delivered the next corner deep, Ethan Pinnock headed back and Mbeumo was perfectly positioned to nod home from close range.
Brentford had applied the pressure and turned it in to the opening goal. And it could have been even better for The Bees. Mbeumo created space for Marcondes to work his way to the by-line inside the penalty area but he was unable to find the right final pass. And when another corner was worked short soon after, Dasilva found Benrahma with a pass but he lashed it high and wide at the near post.
The goal came just before the first half drinks break and the second part of the opening 45 minutes was more even. Reading started to take the game to The Bees again, pushing up when they didn’t have the ball and trying to get men forward. There were a couple of good defensive clearances and Pontus Jansson blocked a Michael Olise shot that could have tested Raya. An Olise cross also caused some danger but Yakou Méïté was unable to convert at the far post.
The game was fairly even in terms of possession and territory at the end of the first half, but Brentford had the better chances. A great pass from Dasilva put Mbeumo in behind in the inside right channel but his touch was heavy, and he was unable to beat Rafael in the one-on-one situation. Watkins then pulled a shot across the face of goal after a nice run. He had another chance just at the end of the first half after good work by Benrahma but again dragged his shot, this time with his right foot wide at the near post.
Watkins also had the first sight of goal in the second half, seeing his effort deflect in to the arms of Rafael. Reading made a slight change at the break, pushing Méïté slightly higher up the pitch, but it was Brentford who had the better of the opening part of the second half. Dasilva and Marcondes dominated the centre of midfield, with Nørgaard providing a steadying guide a little deeper, and The Bees went looking for a second goal.
They could have got that goal when Marcondes exchanged passes with Benrahma, but his shot was blocked and there was a great chance soon after. Benrahma was again involved as he dribbled in to the box and had a shot that was blocked. It rolled in to the path of Watkins but Rafael rushed out and the shot hit the legs of the goalkeeper. Watkins may have thought he was offside, but Reading’s uneven back line meant the goal would have counted and the striker was well-placed to find the net.
Once again, that only delayed The Bees. After another decent spell of possession, Marcondes rolled the ball inside to the arriving Dasilva. The shot was hard and low and was superbly kept out by Rafael diving to his left. But Dasilva kept going, was first to the loose ball, and lifted it powerfully over the prone Rafael to double Brentford’s lead.
Reading were making changes in personnel and shape to try and find a way back in to the game but were creating little. John Swift pulled a shot wide from 25 yards before an effort from Jordan Obita deflected in to the arms of Raya. And when the second goal came, the game was effectively over. The home side tried to press on, but all the good chances were coming at the other end.
When Benrahma started a break, the ball was worked to Watkins via Marcondes and Valencia, but his effort deflected wide. The corner was played short and worked to Nørgaard on the edge of the penalty area and his curling effort was superbly saved high to his left by Rafael. Watkins had another shot blocked and then forced Rafael in to a superb save low to his right. Benrahma got to the loose ball and his shot deflected wide.
Valencia had a shot blocked as time ticked down and Brentford made Reading chase the ball in the later stages. There was some defending to do but when the third goal came, it wasn’t a surprise. Space was worked for Valencia 25 yards out and he let fly with a shot that whistled past Rafael and in to the net. The Reading goalkeeper had kept the score down but grasped at thin air as the ball flew past him and Valencia celebrated his first Brentford goal to seal a fine evening.
Reading: Rafael; Gunter, Moore, Morrison, Obita; Rinomhota, Swift (sub Adam 68 mins); Méïté, Olise (sub McCleary 60 mins), Ejaria; Baldock (sub Puskas 60 mins)
Subs (not used): Walker, McIntyre, Blackett, Masika, Pelé, Osho
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard (sub Roerslev 81 mins), Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Marcondes (sub Mokotjo 81 mins), Nørgaard, Dasilva (sub Baptiste 65 mins); Mbeumo (sub Valencia 61 mins), Watkins, Benrahma
Subs (not used): Daniels, Jeanvier, Fosu, Dervişoğlu, Žambůrek
Bookings: Jansson (67 mins) (fourth of season)