Brentford came back one goal short to start 2022 with a memorable victory over Aston Villa. The Bees were lagging behind after a tough opening but fought back. Yoane Wissa scored a superb equalizer before Mads Roerslev scored the game-winning goal late in the game.
The Bees certainly had to fight for the win. They worked hard to stay in the game when Villa had the upper hand and then clinically took a chance when they came. They scored late in either half to secure a 2-1 win on a balmy January afternoon.
Villa had full control of the first quarter of the contest. They dominated the midfield, leaving Brentford neither time nor space to play in the middle of the field, and had a lot more ball. They didn’t create a lot of openings but did enough to earn the 20-minute lead.
John McGinn shot wide after Brentford lost possession in midfield before Emiliano BuendÃa’s fine play gave Danny Ings a chance. Ings pushed his way through space in the penalty area, but Mads Bech came up for a challenge and deflected the shot aside. The next time BuendÃa and Ings tied the knot, Villa was in the lead.
The goal came after 16 minutes when a ball in the middle opened up Brentford. BuendÃa turned away from Christian NÃ¸rgaard and had room to run. He picked a pass for Ings in the left inner channel. Ings stabilized, shot Ãlvaro FernÃ¡ndez and the far corner. The shot was perfect, FernÃ¡ndez was beaten and Villa had a deserved lead.
Villa could have doubled their lead when Ezri Konsa encountered a deep corner. His header was blocked and Brentford cleared the ball. McGinn shot over the crossbar again after being set up by Ings before a short free kick nearly knocked Brentford down. Jacob Ramsey had space on the left and center for Bertrand TraorÃ©. Bech managed to make a tackle to stop the first shot and another from BuendÃa was blocked as Brentford struggled to defend his goal.
The Bees had more games as half-time wore on but Villa made life very difficult for them. Their energy off the ball prevented long stretches of possession for the hosts and the game was playing mostly as Villa wanted it to be. They crowded the midfield when they didn’t have the ball, but worked hard and smart enough to keep Brentford from spreading, with the Bees unable to move the ball fast enough to make the most of the space. .
Mathias Jensen was aiming for the goal when NÃ¸rgaard intercepted a clearance. Ivan Toney allowed NÃ¸rgaard’s pass to reach Jensen at the far post, but it went awry and the shot went well over the bar. Toney had a blocked header early in the half and Wissa was unable to direct his aerial effort from a pierced Jensen ball.
Brentford had more of the ball as half-time approached, Villa unable to continue running around the pitch, and as the Bees built up a movement from behind they found a way to pass. The tying goal came from an extended period of possession that involved nearly every Brentford player. The ball moved from right to left and back several times as the bees probed. Eventually there was room for Jensen to turn around and play a pass for Roerslev to run behind Ramsey on the right. He picked Wissa with an inside pass and Villa was open. Wissa’s first touch opened up the space and her second folded the ball around Konsa, around MartÃnez and into the corner.
To some extent the goal came out of thin air, but Brentford was starting to take control of the game, finding space to play in midfield. And the Bees could have been ahead before the break. A cross from Sergi CanÃ³s slipped past the center forwards and rebounded just past the far post and Pontus Jansson kicked off a corner from Jensen as the Bees entered the break with initiative.
The start of the second period was interrupted by injuries. CanÃ³s and Jensen both had to leave the pitch for The Bees after a treatment with Shandon Baptiste and Saman Ghoddos introduced. Roerslev sliced ââa shot in MartÃnez’s arms for the Bees at the start while BuendÃa cut in and looped a wide shot at the other end.
Toney led a long, wide throw for Brentford, but there wasn’t much pattern in the first half of the second half. Villa probably had a fraction more of the ball and the territory, but there were few chances. Jansson blocked a shot from Ings, BuendÃa shot wide and FernÃ¡ndez clung to a low cross shot from Matt Targett.
The Bees could have taken the lead 15 minutes from time when Frank Onyeka won the ball in midfield. Toney sent the ball back in his way and he pushed his way into the penalty area. Onyeka fired a shot that headed for the bottom corner, but MartÃnez got his hands on it and knocked it over the post and behind.
FernÃ¡ndez saved a header from Ings and moments later Brentford was in the lead. The Bees worked the ball on the left with an interaction involving Toney, Ghoddos and Vitaly Janelt. Ghoddos found Baptiste in space at the edge of the penalty area, and he slipped the ball to Roerslev. A fierce first shot was deflected and brilliantly saved by MartÃnez, but Roerslev reacted the fastest to crush the loose ball past the Villa keeper and into the net.
Villa had seven minutes, plus downtime, to find a leveler and they moved on. A first pass from McGinn allowed Ings to score, but FernÃ¡ndez was able to save well and Jansson cleared. BuendÃa saw a blocked shot and Targett took off with a header. FernÃ¡ndez saved from McGinn then came down well to fend off a Buendia header.
FernÃ¡ndez also faced a series of corners, even MartÃnez winning one to the death. TrÃ©zÃ©guet tried to buy referee Craig Pawson a penalty with a grotesque dive and there was still time for Toney to crush a shot a few inches over 40 yards from the touchline, MartÃnez returning to his goal. Villa pressed, but Brentford held on and took the win.
Brentford: Fernandez; Pinnock, Jansson, Bech; Roerslev, Onyeka (under Janelt 80 min), NÃ¸rgaard, Jensen (under Baptiste 61 min), CanÃ³s (under Ghoddos 54 min); Toney, Wissa
Subtitles (not used): Cox, Stevens, Thompson, Bidstrup, Ajer, Forss
Reservations: NÃ¸rgaard (31 min), Toney (77 min)
Villa Aston: MartÃnez; Cash, Konsa, Hause, Targett; Douglas Luiz, McGinn; TraorÃ© (under TrÃ©zÃ©guet 79 min), Buendia, Ramsey (under Sanson 69 min); ings
Subtitles (not used): Steer, El Ghazi, Philogene-Bidace, Chukwuemeka, Archer, Iroegbunam, Feeney
Reservations: Ramsey (30 min), McGinn (89 min)
Attendance: 16,876 (1,672 fans outside)