Championship
Brentford1West Brom0

Brentford 1-0 West Bromwich Albion: Ollie Watkins gives Bees victory

Ollie Watkins scores for Brentford
Ollie Watkins now has 23 Championship goals this season - level with Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic in the division's scoring charts

Ollie Watkins scored the only goal of the game at Griffin Park as Brentford beat leaders West Bromwich Albion to hot up the Championship automatic promotion race.

The Bees striker's goal-line finish in the 16th minute was enough to leave Slaven Bilic's Baggies still winless - and goalless - in their two games since the return of football following the coronavirus suspension.

But Brentford's second straight victory moved them to within five points of top spot, before second-placed Leeds United's game with fourth-placed Fulham on Saturday.

Leeds, who trail Albion only on goal difference, need only a point to return to the top. But if Fulham were to win, it would reduce the gap between the top two and the chasing pack to four points.

The game's only goal in west London was a beautifully worked team move to earn Watkins his 23rd Championship goal of the season, taking him level as the division's top scorer with Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic. But it still owed a little to luck.

A nice five-pass cross-field move got Josh Dasilva into a menacing position inside the left half of the penalty area. But, when his low left-foot cross took a cruel touch off the covering Semi Ajayi's heel, that wrong-footed keeper Sam Johnstone to allow the grateful Watkins to turn the ball in almost on the goal-line, muscling in ahead of the recalled Ahmed Hegazi.

For all their attacking endeavour in a decent game, the closest Albion came to an equaliser was when half-time substitute Kenneth Zohore crashed a right-foot curling shot from 20 yards against the bar.

Bees truly dreaming of the top flight

While Albion have now gone four league games without a goal, going back to the 1-0 home defeat by Wigan and the 0-0 draw at Swansea that preceded the season suspension, Brentford have made a tremendous restart.

If Saturday's two late goals at Fulham were not enough to get them excited, beating the Baggies must really have Bees fans now seriously dreaming of starting life in their new home come September in the Premier League.

Thomas Frank celebrates
Thomas Frank had been Brentford's assistant boss but was promoted to head coach in October 2018 when Dean Smith left for Aston Villa

They were forced into a late change in midfield when Mathias Jensen injured a quad muscle in the warm-up, with Emiliano Marcondes - one of Saturday's goal heroes against Fulham - forced to start in his place. But it did not deflect them and, on the first-half balance of play, they were worth their interval lead.

Albion could have been hampered when main playmaker Matheus Pereira was hurt following a hefty challenge from Christian Norgaard.

He stayed on following lengthy treatment and, following the introduction of Zohore and Filip Krovinovic in a double interval reshuffle, Albion did at least carry a greater threat in a revised 4-3-3 formation.

Yet, apart from Zohore's effort against the bar just seven minutes after coming on, their only effort was from Pereira who had a run and left-foot shot straight at keeper David Raya. And Thomas Frank's Bees had late chances to have won by more.

Brentford, who have now gone three-and-a-half games without leaking a goal, now go to Reading on Tuesday, while Bilic's Baggies are back in action 24 hours later at Sheffield Wednesday.

Brentford boss Thomas Frank:

"We scored a beautiful goal on the counter and I would have liked to see more football from us like that, but they are the leaders and have been an unbelievably good side all season.

"Our performance team and the medical staff have done a great job in keeping the players fit during the lockdown period. But all credit to the players for staying fit and pushing each other.

"Now we'd like to see Fulham win at Leeds on Saturday and create a truly competitive last seven games of the season. But, for us, the most important is now at Reading on Tuesday. Winning these two games will mean nothing if we don't follow it up."

West Bromwich Albion head coach Slaven Bilic:

"We were below par in the first half. We weren't aggressive enough.

"In the second half, we improved a lot and we had some domination but there were not enough clear-cut chances.

"We were still not at that level we have been for most of the season. We were too nervous with our passing."

Line-ups

Brentford

  • 1Raya
  • 22Dalsgaard
  • 18Jansson
  • 5Pinnock
  • 3Henry
  • 17MarcondesBooked at 55minsSubstituted forBaptisteat 70'minutes
  • 6NørgaardBooked at 45mins
  • 14DasilvaSubstituted forMokotjoat 83'minutes
  • 24Fosu-HenrySubstituted forMbeumoat 70'minutes
  • 11Watkins
  • 10Benrahma

Substitutes

  • 12Mokotjo
  • 16Valencia Castillo
  • 19Mbeumo
  • 21Dervisoglu
  • 23Jeanvier
  • 26Baptiste
  • 28Daniels
  • 35Rasmussen

West Brom

  • 1Johnstone
  • 2Furlong
  • 6Ajayi
  • 26Hegazi
  • 3Gibbs
  • 8LivermoreSubstituted forHarperat 66'minutes
  • 19SawyersBooked at 55mins
  • 10PhillipsSubstituted forKrovinovicat 45'minutes
  • 12Costa PereiraSubstituted forEdwardsat 90'minutes
  • 29DianganaSubstituted forRobinsonat 79'minutes
  • 4Robson-KanuSubstituted forZohoreat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Bartley
  • 7Krovinovic
  • 9Zohore
  • 15Austin
  • 16Harper
  • 21Edwards
  • 23Bond
  • 27O'Shea
  • 47Robinson
Referee:
Keith Stroud

Match Stats

Home TeamBrentfordAway TeamWest Brom
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home9
Away12
Shots on Target
Home2
Away2
Corners
Home3
Away2
Fouls
Home18
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Brentford 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Brentford 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.

Foul by Ollie Watkins (Brentford).

Darnell Furlong (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Saïd Benrahma (Brentford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Ollie Watkins (Brentford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Darnell Furlong (West Bromwich Albion).

Foul by Ollie Watkins (Brentford).

Romaine Sawyers (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Kyle Edwards replaces Matheus Pereira.

Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Romaine Sawyers (West Bromwich Albion).

Attempt missed. Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Foul by Shandon Baptiste (Brentford).

Romaine Sawyers (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford).

Romaine Sawyers (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ollie Watkins.

Substitution

Substitution, Brentford. Kamohelo Mokotjo replaces Josh Dasilva.

Foul by Henrik Dalsgaard (Brentford).

Kenneth Zohore (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Callum Robinson replaces Grady Diangana.

Attempt missed. Romaine Sawyers (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Attempt blocked. Grady Diangana (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Matheus Pereira.

Foul by Ollie Watkins (Brentford).

Romaine Sawyers (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Shandon Baptiste (Brentford).

Romaine Sawyers (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Saïd Benrahma (Brentford) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Josh Dasilva.

Saïd Benrahma (Brentford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Darnell Furlong (West Bromwich Albion).

Attempt missed. Josh Dasilva (Brentford) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Attempt blocked. Christian Nørgaard (Brentford) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Christian Nørgaard (Brentford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Kieran Gibbs (West Bromwich Albion).

Corner, Brentford. Conceded by Semi Ajayi.

Substitution

Substitution, Brentford. Bryan Mbeumo replaces Tariqe Fosu-Henry.

Substitution

Substitution, Brentford. Shandon Baptiste replaces Emiliano Marcondes.

Rico Henry (Brentford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1West Brom391914664382671
2Leeds38218956322471
3Brentford391991167333466
4Fulham3818101052401264
5Nottm Forest381613949391061
6Preston38169135146557
7Cardiff38141595450457
8Blackburn381511125546956
9Swansea381414104945456
10Bristol City381510135256-455
11Millwall381315104643354
12Derby381412125251154
13QPR38148165863-550
14Reading381310154743449
15Sheff Wed381310154750-349
16Birmingham381212144857-948
17Wigan381111164050-1044
18Stoke38127195056-643
19Charlton38119184554-942
20Huddersfield38119184560-1542
21Middlesbrough38914153750-1341
22Hull38118194964-1541
23Barnsley38910194362-1937
24Luton38106224472-2836
View full Championship table

Top Stories