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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: BRENTFORD

6 March 2018

An own goal from skipper Kyle McFadzean along with a precise finished from Ollie Watkins condemned Albion to another disappointing defeat on home soil as Brentford headed home to the capital with the three points.

The Brewers were holding their own against the lively Bees until the unfortunate moment when Watkins' cross thundered into the big Albion defender and flew into the net on the hour mark before the striker capped an impressive performance by finding the bottom corner with ten minutes remaining.

Albion made three changes to the side that slipped to a narrow single goal defeat to Millwall last time out. Damien McCrory carried on at left back having replaced John Brayford early in that game and there was a return for Luke Murphy as Hope Akpan missed out with an ankle injury picked up in training. In attack the rotation continued as Liam Boyce started the game with Darren Bent on the bench.

Brentford went close inside the first two minutes, a free kick curled in from the left by Ollie Watkins flicked on by skipper John Egan and drifting just wide of the post with nobody able to get a decisive touch as it flew through the six yard box.

Albion responded in positive fashion and a good run down the left from McCrory saw his cross, bound for Boyce in the middle blocked out at the near post.

The Bees were buzzing around the Burton defence whenever they were trying to play the ball out of defence and Kyle McFadzean almost got caught out as Florien Jozefzoon forced a mistake before the Dutchman went down in the box, referee Tony Harrington deeming neither challenge a foul.

Brentford's patient passing build up play almost found a hole in the Burton rearguard on 23 minutes and as the ball was played across the edge of the penalty area towards Jozefzoon only the back tracking of Lloyd Dyer cut out the danger as the visitors continued to grow in confidence. There was more danger to follow when Jozefzoon swung over a teasing corner and Andreas Bjelland got a glancing header on it, the ball once more landing the wrong side of the post.

There was plenty of concern on the half hour mark when McCrory went into a 50-50 challenge with Jozefzoon on the Burton left. The Brentford man continued and tried to set up a chance that ende dup wide of the post but the Burton man stayed down before gingerly limping off and eventually returning to the action. Given his knee injuries earlier in the season it was good to see him return to the pitch after treatment.

Brentford, with Ryan Woods, the main prompter in midfield, continued to look the more inventive and a free kick from the former Shrewsbury man fell nicely for full back Henrik Dalsgaard to lift a shot well over the Burton bar.

Albion spurned an excellent chance to grab the lead on 39 minutes, Dyer scampering away down the left and keeping the ball in to deliver a cross into the middle where Samuelsen volleyed over the bar with a first time shot. It was a clear opening and the West Ham man's frustration at not hitting the target was clear to see.

With five minutes of the half remaining McCrory finally gave in to the knock he received earlier. He cut a forlorn figure as he left the pitch with Tom Flanagan taking his place on the left hand side of defence.

Neal Maupay, who had earlier picked up a soft yellow card for not retreating at a free kick escaped a second card when he left something in a challenge on McFadzean on halfway and was on the receiving end of a lecture from referee Harrington.

Half time: Burton Albion 0-0 Brentford

Dean Smith took the decision to replace Maupay for the second half with Emiliano Marcondes appearing at the start of the second period as his replacement. Brentford started brightly and a flurry of corners had the Londoners believing that a goal was just around the corner although the Burton defence stood firm with Akins providing at least one crucial interception at the back post to prevent Smith's side snatching the lead.

Flanagan found himself in the book after a mistimed challenged on Jozefzoon a couple of yards outside the penalty area after more pressing from the Brentford midfield had forced McFadzean to turn over possession. It got worse for the Burton skipper when Watkins' free kick , which initially looked an awful one, was worked back to him and his low drilled cross cannoned off the Burton defender and past Bywater at his near post.

After a spell of pressure where Brentford sensed a second goal was there for the taking as Albion reeled from the disappointment of conceding the Brewers eventually cleared their heads and when Dyer drilled in a teasing cross from the left Bjelland had to hack the ball over his own bar as he raced back towards his own goal.

Dyer was again at the heart of things on 68 minutes with a dipping cross from the left that was just too high for Jamie Allen darting in at the back post as Brentford had two players down and out of the game.

Brentford almost gifted Burton an equaliser on 70 minutes when Dalsgaard failed to deal with a long ball out from Bywater and Boyce was there to pick up the loose ball eventually driving a shot into the side netting as Egan tried to force him wide on the edge of the box.

Albion were inches away from an equaliser on 74 minutes but perhaps symbolic of their season so far, when substitute MArvin Sordell's cross was deflected by Egan at the near post, this time the ball flew across the game and just missed the far post. Such fine margins.

When Watkins worked his way across the edge of the box and fired home low inside the post with ten minutes to go it put clear daylight between the two sides and effectively seal the victory for Smith's side.

Substitute Sergi Canos almost added to Burton's misery with a thunderous shot that Bywater beat away and Watkins threatened to run clear of the Albion defence a minute later only for Bywater to come rushing out and clear the ball off his toe. Watkins had one final opportunity with a low shot on the turn in stoppage time but Bywater was equal to it as Brentford saw out the game.


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