Brentford 1-2 Fulham, Championship Play-Off Final: report, ratings and verdict
Half Time: 0 - 0 Griffin Park ( Attendance: NA (FULHAM WIN AFTER EXTRA TIME) )
Fulham are heading back to the Premier League after a 2-1 win over a below-par Brentford in what was a largely uneventful Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley.
The Cottagers showed their quality early on, dominating possession and engineering an excellent Josh Onomah chance which David Raya did well to deny on 17 minutes.
At the other end, Bryan Mbuemo would have had a tap in but for Michael Hector’s last ditch touch to deny the forward which proved to be the last clear chance in a nervy opening period.
Neeskans Kebano’s brilliant free-kick effort early in the second-half rippled the side netting as Fulham’s tactical masterclass stifled the usual free-flowing Brentford attack.
However, Brentford’s Ollie Watkins did get a rare glimpse of goal – the forward trying to smash an effort in from outside the box with Fulham keeper Marek Rodak equal to it.
The final 20 minutes saw nothing between the sides as the game inevitably meandered towards Extra Time.
During the additional period, Watkins had a half chance from a Sergi Canos cross which Michael Hector smuggled out for a goal-kick before the deadlock was eventually broken in the 105th minute.
Some quick thinking from Joe Bryan saw his 40-yard free-kick sail past a stranded Raya before the full-back played a lovely one-two with Aleksandr Mitrovic for his second.
Henrik Dalsgaard managed to halve the deficit in the 34th minute of Extra Time but it was too little, too late as it is Fulham, not Brentford, that book their place in the Premier League.
Check out all the key talking points and reaction from London Football Scene below…
Joe Bryan’s brilliant free-kick came out of the blue with the game appearing to be heading to penalties.
Moan of the Match
The game simply had no life – it was a big tactical battle, but really could’ve used some fan energy to help open the game up.
Brentford will now have to go again next year but how much of this squad will remain intact for next season?
Man of the Match
Joe Bryan – the biggest moment of the season, and he stepped up to the plate and delivered twice for the Cottagers.
Tweet of the Match
Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire) – did a good job overall although might have missed a handball in the box from Michael Hector.
If any match needed the fans, it was this one. Having that 12th man at Wembley adds to the spectacle of a game dubbed ‘the biggest in football’.
It was not a good game of football, but Fulham boss Scott Parker provided a tactical masterclass over an already lacklustre Brentford side.
Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry (Fosu, 105); Jensen (Dervisoglu, 105+1), Norgaard, Dasilva (Canos, 83); Mbuemo (Marcondes, 61), Watkins, Benrahma
Subs not used:
Daniels, Valencia, Jeanvier, Zamburek, Roerslev
Rodak; Odoi (Christie, 110), Hector, Ream, Bryan; Onomah (Le Marchand, 110), Reed, Cairney; Kamara (Cavaleiro, 105+1), Reid (Mitrovic, 90+2), Kebano (Knockaert, 81)
Subs not used:
Bettinelli, Sessegnon, McDonald, Johansen
Reed, Cairney, Hector, Knockaert, Mitrovic, Rodak, Cavaleiro