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Match Reports

West Ham United 1 Brentford 2

Bees strike late to win London derby

3 October 2021

Yoane Wissa came off the substitute’s bench to score the winner as Brentford took three points on the road against West Ham United. The Bees had taken a first half lead through Bryan Mbeumo but were pushed back after the interval and the home side levelled. But Wissa came on to replace Mbeumo and scored the winner with, basically, the last kick of the game.

It was an archetypal game of two halves. The Bees were much the better before the break and deservedly had a half time lead, albeit the home side ended the opening period well. The hosts held the upper hand for long periods of the second half but had to wait until the last ten minutes to level. Brentford refused to lay down, regrouped and went looking for the winner, finding it in stoppage time.

Brentford made a fast start. They went on the attack from the first whistle and swarmed all over West Ham in the centre of the pitch. Wing backs Rico Henry and Sergi Canós were well forward in support and The Bees had opportunities to take the lead in the opening exchanges.

The best early chance went the way of Mbeumo. He pulled between West Ham’s central defenders to meet a cross from the left by Henry but could only head wide from eight yards when he would have expected to test Łukasz Fabiański. Mbeumo also saw a curling effort clip the top of the crossbar after a Shandon Baptiste shot had been blocked following a half-cleared corner.

Ivan Toney forced Fabiański in to a good low save moments later, when he met an Ethan Pinnock header on the volley when another set piece had only been half cleared. Baptiste’s effort from the resulting corner landed on the roof of the net as The Bees had command ten minutes in. They were forcing West Ham in to their own half with direct running from midfield and winning set pieces that the hosts were just about dealing with.

Brentford had the advantage in terms of territory and possession and almost had it on the scoreboard when Henry and Mbeumo combined. Henry burst through midfield and found Canós on the far side. He let fly with a shot that deflected wide and West Ham dealt with the resulting corner.

The home side could have opened the scoring against the run of play when Kurt Zouma met a deep corner with a powerful downward header, only to direct it wide. Michail Antonio then got on a long ball and cut in off the right, but his shot was blocked by Pontus Jansson. Antonio also headed wide as West Ham had a good spell. The home side were playing more direct as the first half reached its midway point. They looked to get Antonio running behind the Brentford defence and were able to stretch The Bees a little.

The hosts seemed to be getting a foothold in the game when Brentford struck. Toney found space in midfield and threaded a pass to allow Canós to run in behind the home defence. His low shot was superbly saved low to his right by Fabiański, but Mbeumo was there to follow up. The shot from Mbeumo was clawed out by Fabiański but referee Peter Bankes was alerted by the goal line technology that the ball had crossed the line and The Bees had a lead they deserved on the balance of play.

The Bees did not have a chance to settle on that lead before they were forced in to a change. Baptiste was forced to leave the pitch with a shoulder injury and Mathias Jensen was introduced. This was the second change to Brentford’s midfield on the afternoon as Vitaly Janelt had been due to play but was injured in the warm up, giving Frank Onyeka the chance to start the contest.

In the process of being injured, Baptiste was robbed of possession, and it took a vital clearance from Pinnock to stop West Ham getting a shot on goal. A shot from Saïd Benrahma was blocked and when Onyeka was dispossessed in midfield, Henry had to dart back to tackle Jarrod Bowen. Mr Bankes adjudged that Henry’s challenge was fair and that was confirmed by Video Assistant Referee Andre Marriner.

West Ham ended the first half on the front foot. They were starting to get on top in midfield, winning more second balls and starting to dominate possession. David Raya saved a swerving shot from Benrahma, who was then set up to curl an effort from 18 yards. Raya was relieved to see the ball bend just past the post as he would probably not have reached it.

Mbeumo curled a free kick, awarded when Toney broke through the middle, in to a defensive wall but most of the action at the end of the first half was at the other end. The hosts opened Brentford up on the right and a cross from Vladimír Coufal found Antonio, but he was crowded out and a firm tackle from Jansson was deemed to be, again, fair. Antonio also volleyed wide late in the half as West Ham had the initiative, but Brentford had the lead.

West Ham had been more aggressive out of possession at the end of the first half and maintained that mindset at the start of the second period. The opening exchanges of the second half were played in Brentford territory, with the hosts looking for an equaliser and making it difficult for The Bees to build from defence. The ball was also coming straight back when Brentford cleared their lines, and it was a defensive effort from the visitors.

Bowen robbed Jansson to set up a shooting chance for Pablo Fornals, but Jensen was there to make a recovery challenge. Raya then tipped a Benrahma free kick over the crossbar before Bowen lashed a bouncing ball well off target. Raya was busy again when Antonio and Benrahma combined, and Bowen was free in the inside left channel. The Brentford goalkeeper rushed out and made a smothering save.

As the hour mark approached, West Ham were completely dominant, and Brentford were being forced to defend deeper and deeper. They were defending their penalty area well, forcing West Ham to try and work a way through, or shoot from distance. The home side continued to create chances and win set pieces as they battled for a leveller.

Tomáš Souček headed a corner wide before Benrahma weaved across the penalty area and fired against the legs of Pinnock. Bowen headed wide when well-placed before Antonio got away from Jansson to set up a great chance. The shot from Fornals was brilliantly blocked by Henry and the follow-up from Coufal was saved by Raya.

Coufal and Angelo Ogbonna saw shots blocked and Antonio headed a cross wide as West Ham continued to knock at the door. But it took until the 80th minute for it to open. Aaron Cresswell delivered a corner from the left and Declan Rice won the header at the near post. The ball bounced down and Bowen smashed a low shot past Raya and in to the net. The shot flew through a crowd of bodies and Raya must have been unsighted as it whistled in to the net.

The goal came, annoyingly for Brentford, when the game had gone in to a little lull. The Bees were taking the sting out of the contest, slowing the game down when they had the ball and taking their time to restart when it stopped. They also played more in West Ham’s half and Jensen had a sight of goal from the inside right channel, his shot deflecting just wide of the far post.

West Ham equalised with just over ten minutes remaining and the home side continued to push on, looking for the winner. They looked like they had got it when Rice had space to deliver a cross from the left with Antonio and Bowen waiting to head it in. But Jansson got a vital touch and Bowen could only nod it wide.

It looked like that would be that, but it was Brentford driving forward at the death, looking for the crucial third goal. They won set pieces and from the last, found the winner. Jensen delivered and found Jansson, who tested Fabiański with a powerful header. The ball dropped to the edge of the box and Wissa drove it through a crowd of bodies to win the game for The Bees.

West Ham United: Fabiański; Coufal, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Souček, Rice; Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals; Antonio

Subs (not used): Areola, Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Vlašić, Dawson, Diop, Masuaku, Johnson, Král

Bookings: Zouma (35 mins), Rice (90 mins)

Brentford: Raya; Zanka, Jansson, Pinnock; Canós, Baptiste (sub Jensen 29 mins), Nørgaard, Onyeka (sub Bidstrup 81 mins), Henry; Toney, Mbeumo (sub Wissa 81 mins)

Subs (not used): Fernández, Roerslev, Goode, Ghoddos, Forss

Bookings: Nørgaard (69 mins), Canós (84 mins), Zanka (85 mins)


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