Brentford conceded three first half goals as they were beaten by Burnley. The Bees fell behind early on and by the 36th minute they were three down and the game was up. Saman Ghoddos came off the substitute’s bench to reduce the deficit, but the 3-1 final score was probably a fair reflection of the game.
The Bees lost the points in the opening part of the match. They fell behind before they had found their stride and then were hit by a double strike just past the half hour. There was a definite improvement in the second half, but three goals were too much to pull back and Burnley took the points.
The opening stages of the game did not go the way Brentford intended. After 15 minutes they were a goal down, Burnley had seen another ruled out and The Bees had spent a lot of time in their own half. Referee Jon Moss, his assistants and the Video Assistant Referee Andrew Madley had been in the game, while Brentford were trying to find their rhythm.
The opening goal of the afternoon came just four minutes in. A ball from back to front by Matthew Lowton skipped off the turf and Ethan Pinnock was unable to make an interception as he stretched out a telescopic left leg. A touch from Pinnock did not take the ball out of the path of Chris Wood and he smashed a first time shot across Álvaro Fernández and in to the far corner.
The home side had the upper hand in the opening exchanges. They often found Lowton and Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson in space on the right with quick switches of play and Brentford were unable to build through the middle. Wood had two efforts that would not have counted, due to offside and a foul respectively, but indicated the way he could trouble The Bees.
The home side did have the ball in the net a second time on the quarter hour. This time it was Guðmundsson with a pass from the right channel that found Wood and Maxwel Cornet in behind the Brentford defence. Wood nodded on and Cornet poked it home from close range. Cornet was onside when he got the final touch, but Mr Madley checked the video and concluded that Wood was offside when the ball was first played. The goal was disallowed, and Brentford breathed a sigh of relief.
That enabled Brentford to regroup. They got wing backs Sergi Canós and Rico Henry higher up the pitch when they could and played more on the front foot. Frank Onyeka thought he had got on to the end of an Ivan Toney knock down inside the area, but the offside flag was again raised. Toney was then just unable to reach a Henry cross to head it in.
A burst down the right from Canós set up a chance for Toney from 12 yards. His shot was low and powerful, and it took a superb save low to his right by Nick Pope to keep it out. Had that gone in – or a shot from Canós soon after, when Pope had failed to gather a long a long throw and Ben Mee had to make a block – the rest of the afternoon may have been different. But those chances came and went, and Burnley had the game just about won by half time.
They almost scored on the counter-attack from Brentford’s next long throw. Ashley Westwood released Guðmundsson after a rat-a-tat in midfield and he only had Fernández to beat. The Brentford goalkeeper made himself big and kept out the shot. James Tarkowski headed the resulting corner over the crossbar, but chances were coming, and Burnley soon took them.
The hosts worked space on their left for the second. Left back Charlie Taylor had time to measure a cross and Lowton stole in between the Brentford defenders to get under the ball and head it powerfully in. Fernández had no chance once Lowton got his head to the ball eight yards out with little challenge.
Two became three just four minutes later. Dwight McNeil played a ball in behind for Cornet to get away from the Brentford defence. He took a touch, cut back and blasted a shot past Fernández and in to the top corner from 18 yards.
It could have been even worse for Brentford before the interval. After some interplay on the left, a Cornet pass released Guðmundsson running in to the penalty area. Henry got back to make a recovery tackle but Pontus Jansson and Christian Nørgaard got in a tangle as they attempted to clear and a shot from Wood deflected wide.
Fernández punched a corner away later in the half but only as far as Mee, but the Burnley defended could only directed his header off target. There was still time for Wood to create some space and lash a shot wide from 20 yards before Mr Moss brought the half to a close. Burnley had a big lead, all the momentum and complete control of the contest.
Nørgaard could have reduced the deficit early in the second half when he met a dropping ball on the volley from 18 yards. Pope had to go full stretch to his right to push the shot away. Wood headed wide for Burnley but there was a noticeable improvement in Brentford at the start of the second period. They moved the ball quicker in and out of central areas and looked to find space wide. Canós and Henry saw more of the ball and Brentford were on the front foot.
There was a scramble when Canós got away on the right and his cross was half cleared. Toney had a shot blocked and the ball continued to bobble around. Toney managed to toe-poke the ball past Pope, but Lowton was there to prevent Marcus Forss converting.
Brentford were starting to dominate possession and territory and limiting Burnley to counter-attacks. But the hosts had a big lead, were content to sit in and defend their penalty area in the knowledge that Brentford had to find three ways to break through. Lowton and McNeil missed the target from distance for the hosts, who were happy with the way the game was going.
Forss was able to find space to meet a clever low corner, but his shot lacked power and was blocked inside the six-yard box. Nørgaard then curled an effort wide after turning well. Ghoddos set up a shooting chance for Toney by laying a Canós ball in to his path. Toney let fly from 20 yards, but his shot flew over the bar.
McNeil curled a free kick wide from an ambitious angle before Brentford pulled a goal back. Vitaly Janelt had time to measure a pass in to the penalty area, to find Nørgaard at the back post. Nørgaard headed down and Ghoddos met it with a scissor volley. The ball ripped past Pope and in to the corner.
That gave Brentford a consolation, at least, and some time to make it more than that. Ghoddos hit a defensive wall with a free kick and the follow-up from Janelt flew straight at Pope through a crowd of bodies. Forss then had a shot blocked as Brentford pressed forward in to the later stages. But they were unable to find another goal and Burnley took the points.
Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Guðmundsson, Brownhill, Westwood, McNeil; Wood, Cornet (sub Vydra 68 mins)
Subs (not used): Hennessey, Cork, Barnes, Lennon, Rodriguez, Collins, Pieters, Bardsley
Bookings: McNeil (83 mins)
Brentford: Fernández; Zanka, Jansson, Pinnock; Canós (sub Roerslev 77 mins), Onyeka (sub Ghoddos 58 mins), Nørgaard, Jensen (sub Janelt 68 mins), Henry; Toney, Forss
Subs (not used); Cox, Goode, Stevens, Bidstrup, Fosu, Mbeumo
Bookings: Ghoddos (72 mins)