Brentford clinched their first away win as a Premier League side with a 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers. Ivan Toney converted a penalty just before the half hour and then set up Bryan Mbeumo to score a second soon after. Brentford’s 2-0 half time lead looked like it could be threatened when Shandon Baptiste was sent off, but a superb defensive performance kept the hosts out and Brentford took the points.
It was a win that they fully deserved. Brentford had the ball in the net four times in the first half and hit the woodwork in the second even when down to ten men. They limited Wolves to one really good chance and David Raya, in the Brentford goal, did not have a save to make as The Bees got the win.
The hosts went on the front foot in the early stages. They looked to get Marçal high up on the left side of the pitch, linking with Adama Traoré and Raúl Jiménez and attacking behind Sergi Canós in the Brentford right wing back area. One long diagonal ball from right to left gave Marçal the room to cut in off the left and curl a shot well wide of Raya’s far post.
Marçal also volleyed wide from a half cleared corner in the opening exchanges and Brentford were pushed back for parts of the first quarter of the contest with Wolves having a lot of the ball. The Bees did, however, have the ball in the net inside the opening ten minutes. Kristoffer Ajer drove out of defence and Canós was found in space in the Wolves half. The next pass put Mbeumo in behind the home defence and he cut the ball back for Toney to finish first time left footed, off the far post. But Assistant Referee Harry Lennard raised his flag, signalling Mbeumo was offside when he had the ball, and a check from Video Assistant Referee Stuart Attwell confirmed the decision.
Wolves had the better of the early minutes, but Brentford were able to change the flow of the game. The seemed to push their central midfield players a little closer together and made it harder for the hosts to play out of midfield. Marçal was in the game less and was deeper when he did get on the ball, giving The Bees the chance to get in to attacking areas.
Toney headed a lofted ball wide for The Bees and Traoré blasted over from distance for the home side as the pattern of the game started to establish midway through the first half. Brentford were looking to get on the front foot and play more in the home side’s half with Christian Nørgaard seeing a lot of the ball in the centre of the pitch. And when the game exploded in to lift just before the half hour, it was Brentford that took the initiative.
They won a corner from the left and the first ball from Canós was cleared behind to allow him to take another. This time he looked for Toney in the middle and referee Darren England spotted that Marçal had hauled down the Brentford striker. After confirmation from Mr Attwell, Toney took the responsibility from the spot. José Sá, who was booked for trying to scuff up the penalty spot, dived to his right and watched helplessly as the ball went the other way. Toney celebrated and Brentford had the lead.
That lead was almost doubled within seconds. Brentford won the ball back from kick-off with Baptiste and Canós leading the charge. The ball was fed to Vitaly Janelt inside the penalty area, but his low show was saved by Sá. The ball bounced up, Canós headed down, Toney controlled and back heeled the ball in to the net. There was immediate confusion as Toney was flagged offside, but Mr Attwell deemed that decision was incorrect. However, the VAR did adjudicate that Toney had used his arm to control the ball and disallowed the goal anyway.
That almost had immediate consequences when Sá smashed the ball down the pitch and Traoré got to it after Pontus Jansson had won the initial header. He let fly with a shot that whistled past Raya but hit the underneath of the crossbar and bounced down, not crossing the line. A vital interception from Rico Henry prevented Jiménez putting the loose ball in and Brentford’s lead survived.
Indeed, moments later, it was doubled. A ball down the left isolated Toney against Max Kilman and the striker came out on top, bursting through a challenge. Toney had time to pick his spot across Sá but instead, unselfishly found the arriving Mbeumo, who tapped in from close range, this time staying onside. Mbeumo had a first Premier League goal and Brentford had a two-goal lead to take in to the break, with a long range effort from Romain Saïss, which failed to trouble Raya, all Wolves could muster in response.
That was the last contribution from Saïss, such as it was, as he was sacrificed at half time. The hosts brought on Hwang Hee-chan and shifted to a back four as they looked to alter the flow of the game. Traoré was pushed over the right and did get to by-line to deliver a cross that arced over Raya, but no Wolves player was on hand to put it in.
Brentford had the best chance of the opening exchanges in the second half. Janelt robbed Rúben Neves deep inside his own half and released Mbeumo. Mbeumo had Toney in support to his left but curled a shot from 18 yards just over the bar. Sá was static and helpless but Mbeumo failed to hit the target and Wolves escaped.
The start of the second half was a stop-start affair. Brentford were content for the game to be slow, and Mr England halted it often for free kicks. Unfortunately for Brentford two of those free kicks were given against Baptiste. He was cautioned for a foul on Marçal in the Brentford right wing area and then again soon after. He was robbed by Francisco Trincão and pulled him back to halt the break. Mr England had little choice but to show a yellow card, the second for Baptiste, and then a red.
Brentford attempted to reshuffle, introducing Frank Onyeka in the place of Canós, but Wolves almost found a way through immediately after the red card. Jiménez got on to a cross from the left and looked set to lay it off to Trincão. Ajer arrived from nowhere to make a recovery challenge and prevent the Wolves man from finishing it off.
With a man advantage, the hosts dominated possession and territory. Brentford introduced Mads Roerslev on the left to try and combat Traoré and they largely kept the home side at bay. There was a melee in the penalty area that saw Raya make a save and the ball bounce wide, but the offside flag had been raised for many seconds before Mr England blew his whistle, and the ball didn’t find the net anyway.
Trincão fired a free kick well over, but Wolves were unable to create much with their possession. Zanka came on for a debut to replace Jansson but with Ajer filling in at right back, Brentford held firm. Their best chance came when Traoré pulled a cross from an impossible position on the right and it flew to Jiménez, but he planted a header inches wide. Other crossing opportunities from both sides failed to find a target or were met by the Brentford back line.
It was Brentford who came closest to the last goal of the game. Toney went for an audacious lob from 25 yards and saw it bounce wide. The striker, not content with scoring one and making one also filled in as an auxiliary defender for much of the later stages, doing more than his but to secure the points.
Janelt set up Mbeumo for a shot from 18 yards that fizzed past Sá but cannoned off the crossbar. Onyeka then went down the right and a cross broke to Janelt, but he placed a shot wide. A third goal would have eased late tension in a game that was well contested and saw tempers raised at times. But Brentford did not need it to secure the points, a second win in five top flight games so far and a first on the road.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Sá; Kilman, Coady, Saïss (sub Hwang h/t); Semedo (sub Silva 82 mins), Moutinho, Neves, Marçal (sub Podence 72 mins); Trincão, Jiménez, Traoré
Subs (not used): Ruddy, Hoever, Aït-Nouri, Mosquera, Boly, Dendoncker
Bookings: Sá (27 mins), Saïss (38 mins), Neves (58 mins), Coady (90 mins)
Brentford: Raya; Ajer, Jansson (sub Zanka 82 mins), Pinnock; Canós (sub Onyeka 68 mins), Baptiste, Nørgaard, Janelt, Henry (sub Roerslev 75 mins); Toney, Mbeumo
Subs (not used): Fernández, Thompson, Jensen, Ghoddos, Wissa, Forss
Bookings: Henry (47 mins), Baptiste (59 mins), Jansson (74 mins)
Sent Off: Baptiste (65 mins)