Brentford 3-2 Nottingham Forest (Premier League) 20.01.24
Brentford’s clinical acumen matched with Forest’s defensive mistakes leads the Reds to end good recent Premier League form, and give the Bees their first win in some time.
The first half couldn’t have been more fantastic to start with, as Danilo unleashed his inner Paulo Di Canio, flicks it up and fires it past Mark Flekken – a superb strike to open the scoring, 1-0 to Forest. Danilo shrugs off a couple of poorer performances, wonder goal.
Forest’s good start would slowly diminish, eventually the Reds gave away a free-kick in a dangerous position, as Mangala takes out an on-running Brentford man. Ivan Toney steps up, on his long awaited return from suspension, and from a similar position as his last goal against Forest, places it through an incredibly wide gap in the wall, and past Matt Turner. Poor organisation in the wall by the Keeper, but Toney moved the free kick line – VAR should’ve intervened, really. 1-1 now.
The first half showed nothing more than a few breakthroughs, with a crossbar effort the closest chance – Brentford almost made it 2-1, but Forest had some luck left. End of the half, the score level.
Brentford would start the half better though, exposing Forest errors and breaking down the wide areas. As they do, they win a corner, for which Ben Mee is left open to run onto and put past Turner. Poor marking & set-piece management from the Reds, especially given the already-known aerial threat Ben Mee poses on corners. 2-1, the hosts lead.
Forest’s attack struggled without Gibbs-White & Elanga, the only real attack was down the left – and Brentford new. Crossing was their only chance. Hudson-Odoi found form in the 2nd half, crosses in a right footed cross, and Chris Wood gently changes the trajectory of the ball and puts it past Flekken. Eight goals in the Premier League this season for Wood, Forest are back In it.
Unfortunately for Forest, Brentford had one more punch left in them, as Neal Maupay takes a superb touch, twists, and strikes the ball into the bottom right corner. No chance of stopping it – even VAR checked it – but no offence committed, bar the absolute murder of a strike. A disappointing way to concede, but a great goal. 3-2.
Defensive errors cost, I felt Forest missed an experienced centre-back, particularly Boly/Niakhate. And of course the absence of Elanga & Gibbs-White reduced Forest’s attacking threat, and despite the poor errors, I do feel much of the team put in a good shift, and lessons can be learned. Injured players not far off a return, sooner rather than later would be better for the Reds. A tough run awaits. An important week of training, despite the odds being against them, Forest have to dig deep once more.
Forest: Turner, Montiel (Aguilera 86), Omobamidele, Murillo, Tavares, Mangala, Danilo, Dominguez, Yates (Williams 62), Hudson-Odoi, Wood.
*Article provided by Jamie Martin (Head Nottingham Forest Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFC Murillo in action against Brentford.