London Soccer Shorts – Brentford

Brentford have had some serious injury issues to contend with. Nevertheless, boss, Thomas Frank, continued to fight fires and produce a competitive Premier League side.

Yellow Sports Dave Bishop headed to the Gtech Community Stadium to oversee the Bees’ tempestuous clash with Aston Villa for London Soccer Short. It proved to be an eventful afternoon in West London…

Brentford 1-2 Aston Villa 

In a bad-tempered and controversial encounter that saw both sides finish with ten men and twelve yellow cards shown – including one each for both managers, Thomas Frank and Unai Emery, Aston Villa came from behind to clinch the points with a 2-1 win over Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium.  

The result sees Villa maintain their hold on third place in the Premier League table – just one point behind leaders Arsenal.     

Frank made three changes to the Brentford side defeated 1-0 at Sheffield United last week with Zanka, Mads Roerslev and Mikkel Damsgaard replacing Shandon Baptiste, Frank Onyeka and Neal Malpay.

Following their 1-0 win over Arsenal at Villa Park last Saturday, Emery brought Matt Cash, Moussa Diaby, Alex Moreno and Jacob Ramsey into the line-up to replace suspended Lucas Digne and Douglas Luiz, whilst Leon Bailey dropped to the bench and Youri Tielmans missed out with injury. 

With Villa moving the ball well early on attempting to unlock the Bees’ defence, Moreno was presented with two early half chances – his first being well saved by Mark Flekken only for the striker to then fire a second high over the crossbar from the centre of the area just after.

Following a break down the left and cutback by Vitaly Janelt, Damsgaard’s low left-footed drive brought Emiliano Martinez into the action, with the Argentinian World Cup-winning goalkeeper getting down well to his right to palm the Dane’s strike away to safety.

With Brentford starting to establish more of a foothold back into the game, they had what looked to be two strong penalty appeals turned down by referee David Coote – following a body block on Ben Mee and another when Keane Lewis-Potter was brought to ground in the box, while Roerslev’s excellent tackle on the lively Moreno denied the Spaniard a clear shooting opportunity following a swift Villa counterattack.

Following Ollie Watkins’ knockdown, Ramsey was presented with an excellent opportunity to put Villa one up just before the break, only to fail to hit the target from close range – much to the dismay of the travelling support. 

Brentford took the lead on the stroke of half-time when following the Villa defence’s failure to clear their lines, the ball came out to Lewis-Potter to fire low into the bottom left-hand corner of the net past Martinez for his first-ever Premier League goal before just seconds later, the Bees were denied a second when Yoane Wissa had the ball in the net again – only for the ‘goal’ to this time be ruled out for offside.

Villa themselves went close deep into stoppage time when Ramsey’s left-footed effort from outside the box – which seemed to be heading into the top right corner of the net – was spectacularly pushed away by Flekken, thereby ensuring Brentford still maintained their 1-0 lead going into the break. 

After a slow opening to the second half, Boubacar Kamara had a good opportunity in front of goal following a corner on the left – only to head just wide of the post, whilst injuring himself in the process and needing treatment on the pitch thereafter.

Bees came close just after the hour mark when following clever work on the left by Lewis-Potter, Moreno took the ball off the toe of Roerslev before he had the opportunity to get into a position to shoot.

Despite Brentford being pretty much in the ascendency up until that point, they were rocked by the sending off of Ben Mee for a late tackle on Ezri Konsa in the seventy-first minute. Referee Coote, in a perfect position to see the incident, had originally shown Mee yellow but following a VAR check, this was upgraded to red. The home crowd were further inflamed by a further controversial decision almost immediately after when Brentford were again denied a penalty when substitute Maupay looked to have been tripped in the area by Konza. 

The momentum of the game changed following Mee’s sending off and Villa got themselves back on level terms just six minutes later when Moreno headed home Bailey’s cross from just inside the six-yard box – only for the visitors to further capitalise on their numerical advantage when with just five minutes left, Kamara flicked on Ramsey’s cross for former Brentford striker Watkins nod the ball home at the far post and make it 2-1. 

With Watkins celebrating his goal in front of the home fans and tensions already running high, this was the cue for an unsightly melee between both sides, which somewhat surprisingly did not result in further red cards being shown by referee Coote. 

However, bad feeling was never far from the surface for the remainder of the game and following an almost freakish own goal by Bailey from the halfway line, Maupay clattered into Martinez, who certainly seemed to go to ground easily following what seemed to be minimal contact.

With the game descending more and more into a series of bad challenges and fouls, Martinez pushed Maupay to the ground before attempting to drag the Brentford striker up by his shirt thereafter – an action that sparked yet another brawl amongst the players – which this time saw stewards, both managers and coaching staff all involved before once order was restored, Kamara was shown the second red card of the afternoon – for pushing Yarmoliuk in the face during stoppage time 

Aston Villa held on to take the points – and despite having been an entertaining and intriguing encounter between two good footballing sides, sadly it will be the ill-tempered scenes that took place throughout the closing stages that this game would seem destined to be remembered for in the future.

Brentford: Flekken, Pinnock, Norgaard (Capt.) Wissa (Collins 76’) Zanka, Ghoddos, Mee, Lewis-Potter (Maupay 68’) Damsgaard (Onyeka 68’) Janelt (Yarmoliuk 88’) Roerslev (Olakigbe 89’) Subs not used: Strakosha, Goode, Peart-Harris, Baptiste

Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash (Bailey 65’) Carlos, Konsa, McGinn (Capt) Watkins, Pau (Zaniola 81’) Moreno, Diaby (Duran 65’) Ramsey (Dendoncker 90’) Kamara. Subs not used: Marschall, Chambers, Lenglet, Iroegbunam, Proctor

Referee: David Coote

Assistants: Timothy Wood and Mark Scholes

Fourth Official: Simon Hooper

VAR: Craig Pawson

AVAR: Lee Betts

Attendance: 17,034