Bryan Mbeumo came off the substitute’s bench to score a hat-trick and book Brentford a place in the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round. Marcius Forss scored in a first half that Brentford dominated before Mbeumo took over. The second half was, arguably, more even but Mbeumo showcased some clinical finishing to see Brentford over the line.
The 4-1 final scored was probably a little harsh on Port Vale, who really tested Brentford at times. But The Bees proved a little too strong. They could have been further ahead at the break and made the most of their second half chances. Mbeumo scored two well-taken goals and then sealed his hat-trick from the penalty spot.
It did not take Brentford long to take control of the game, even if that did not turn in to an advantage on the score board immediately. The Bees dominated the centre of the pitch with Vitaly Janelt and Mads Bidstrup in command on and off the ball. Wing backs Fin Stevens and Dom Thompson joined in the attack whenever possible, and The Bees probed for openings.
The final pass was not always perfect in the opening exchanges and Brentford did not create as many chances as they could have with their possession. One break saw Forss dart away in the inside left channel, but he was unable to find Saman Ghoddos joining in support. A vital clearance from David Worrall stopped Thompson meeting a Stevens cross after a good turn by Forss as Brentford looked for a breakthrough.
Port Vale started with three at the back but were forced deeper by Brentford’s start. Their defence turned in to a back five with two deep midfielders also providing a shield and their work prevented Brentford finding other opportunities to create the first goal in the opening quarter of the contest. The Bees could have scored when Vale failed to deal with a long throw from Mads Bech. Stevens won the header and Forss was able to shoot, Yoane Wissa turned it towards goal, but Aidan Stone made a reaction save. The ball bounced back to Wissa, but he could not free his feet to tap in and Stone was able to gather.
The opening goal came 26 minutes in as Brentford once again strolled through midfield. Bidstrup latched on to a loose ball and ran fully 50 yards with the ball. He only needed one pass, to Forss in space to his left and the striker steadied himself before smashing in. The goal was clinically taken as Bidstrup made the most of a loose pass and Forss finished unerringly.
Vale had offered little in attack as they struggled to get enough of the ball to put The Bees under real pressure. Worrall, at right wing back, was their best outlet, and he tried to exploit space behind Thompson. One long ball did catch Brentford out and Worrall was able to round the onrushing Jonas Lössl, but the Port Vale man ran wide, and the cross was cleared. A cross-cum-shot from Worrall later in the half also failed to unduly trouble Brentford, who spent most of the first half on the attack.
The Bees could have scored a second when Kristoffer Ajer drove out from defence and found Stevens on the right. He cut a cross back to Wissa, who missed his kick and, instead, the ball reached Janelt at the far post. Janelt curled a shot back past Stone, but it was a fraction too high.
There was another chance at the very end of the first half when Vale failed to deal with a Janelt corner. Stone punched clear but only to Wissa, who lofted it back over him and watched as it hit the crossbar. Ajer picked up the loose ball, turned a shot powerfully, but Stone recovered to save and keep his team only one behind at the break.
And Vale were a different team after the interval. They were higher up the pitch out of possession and more aggressive when Brentford had the ball. They made it difficult for Brentford to build attacks and forced mistakes from The Bees. The home side had the better of the opening stages of the second period and could have levelled.
It took a fine tackle from Ajer to stop Tom Pett getting to a cross from Worrall and there was an even better chance soon after. Ben Garrity got away from Ethan Pinnock on the right and was able to pick out a cross, Pett once again met it but Mads Roerslev, recently introduced, was in the right place to block. The shot from Pett was fierce and from 15 yards, it would have tested Lössl but for the intervention of Roerslev, who replaced Ajer after an hour. Ajer, on his way back from a hamstring injury, walked off seemingly without issue.
Brentford had been unable to find much space in midfield in the second half with Vale snapping in to challenges. But some subtle movement created some space and gave them a second goal. A reverse pass from Bidstrup freed Janelt just inside the Vale half. His next pass put Mbeumo free with only Stone to beat. The striker steadied himself and slotted home to give Brentford breathing space.
But that only served to bring the game to the boil. The hosts pulled a goal back immediately and had their best spell of the contest. The goal came when Dennis Politic twisted and turned on the left and delivered a cross that was headed in by Kian Harratt. The Vale striker found space to meet the cross ten yards out and it looked like it flicked off Bech before settling in the corner, beating Lössl.
That goal came four minutes after Brentford’s first and The Bees had a tricky few minutes as the hosts pushed forward. Lewis Cass steered a shot just past the post when a Worrall cross was fed in to his path and Politic had a shot blocked. Mal Benning created another chance soon after when his cross was nodded on by Garrity. Worrall got to it at the far post and his shot was blocked by Lössl before bouncing away off the outside of the post.
Vale continued to press and Politic got on the end of a long ball, in the inside left channel, behind the Brentford defence. Lössl rushed out and Politic got past him but sliced his shot and Bech tidied up. Garrity also headed wide as Vale went searching for a leveller. A Ghoddos shot was saved at the other end, but Vale had the upper hand.
But Brentford held firm, and Mbeumo took control. Bidstrup and Shandon Baptiste created the space and Mbeumo moved forward. He strode on and smashed a shot that whistled past Stone, clipped the inside of the post and settled in the back of the net. Mbeumo showed his class and that just about settled the tie.
Brentford introduced Ivan Toney and Myles Part-Harris as they continued to push on and both had chances. A curling shot from Forss was pushed away by Stone. The ball bounced up for Peart-Harris, perhaps offside but allowed to go on, and Stone reacted quickly to save again.
The fourth, and Mbeumo’s hat-trick, did come soon after. Baptiste had a shot blocked and the ball bounced around the area. Eventually Toney was hacked down by Nathan Smith as he tried to wriggle free and Referee Thomas Bramall pointed to the penalty spot. Toney handed the ball to Mbeumo, and the penalty was rolled down the middle as Stone dived out of the way. Mbeumo had a hat-trick and Brentford had done the job.
There was still time for Tom Conlon to smash over from distance and Brad Walker to head wide while Toney attempted to beat Stone from 55 yards and the goalkeeper scrambled to recover. A fifth goal for Brentford would definitely have been unjust but there was no doubt The Bees did enough to progress. They will play in the Fourth Round at the start of next month.
Port Vale: Stone; Cass, Martin, Smith; Worrall, Pett (sub Walker 81 mins), Conlon, Gibbons (sub Benning 59 mins); Garrity; Wilson (sub Harratt 54 mins), Amoo (sub Politic 59 mins)
Subs (not used): Covolan, Bailey, Jones, McDermott, Burgess
Brentford: Lössl; Ajer (sub Roerslev 62 mins), Bech, Pinnock; Stevens, Ghoddos (sub Peart-Harris 81 mins), Bidstrup, Janelt (sub Baptiste 71 mins), Thompson (sub Toney 81 mins); Forss, Wissa (sub Mbeumo 62 mins)
Subs (not used): Fernández, Jansson, Nørgaard, Coombes-Young
Attendance: 8,069 (1,126 Bees fans)