Match Reports

Albion held by Brentford

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Seagulls stay ninth after dominating goalless draw at the Gtech Stadium.

By Bruce Talbot • 03 April 2024

By Paul Hazlewood
Agony for Joao Pedro after a late Albion chance went begging.

An away point in the Premier League is always a good point but Albion left West London feeling they should have taken all three.

They dominated possession against a feisty Brentford team with 67% of the ball and six shots on target compared to Brentford’s two.

But clear-cut chances were hard to come by and it’s difficult to remember either keeper making a really top save. Brentford smothered Albion for long spells but a side who’d had 31 shots against Manchester United on Saturday never troubled Bart Verbruggen.

The main talking point was the non-award of a penalty in first-half stoppage time when Lewis Dunk was sent spinning by Yoane Wissa’s challenge. Referee Andy Madley upheld his decision after a check at the pitchside monitor.

By Paul Hazlewood
Pascal Gross eyes up his options from a free-kick.

Roberto De Zerbi made several attacking substitutions and one of them - Danny Welbeck - went closest to a winner with a stoppage-time shot that was a yard wide – it was that sort of night in front of goal for the Seagulls.  

Albion went looking for their first win this season in London and soon settled into their rhythm.

De Zerbi tweaked things tactically, employing Joel Veltman and Simon Adingra as wing-backs with three central defenders including Igor Julio, who was one of four changes from the team that lost to Liverpool.

By Paul Hazlewood
Adam Lallana assesses his options.

Both sides had half-chances in the opening stages. Veltman met Pascal Gross’s diagonal ball with a firm header which was straight at Mark Flekken and his opposite number Verbruggen wasn’t as stretched as he might have been when Ivan Toney turned inside Lewis Dunk but shot tamely at Albion’s keeper.

Carlos Baleba was having another eye-catching game in Albion’s engine room and he was involved in a quick transition before Gross took up possession and spotted Adam Lallana’s run. Lallana got a clean connection with his left foot, but it skewed wide of the near post.

Joao stretched Brentford on occasions on an impressive return after nine games out. He twice forced Flekken to make comfortable saves before the talking point of the game in stoppage time.

By Paul Hazlewood
Jan Paul van Hecke bypasses Ivan Toney with his ball forward.

Yoane Wissa seemed to wrestle Dunk to the ground as he attacked a cross and when referee Madley stopped play and went over to the pitch-side monitor the Brentford man must have feared the worst. But Madley decided that Dunk had been engaged in some grappling of his own so no penalty.

The pattern of the second half remained unchanged with Albion hogging possession and trying to break down a Brentford side happy to sit in and try and hit the visitors on the break.

One lengthy spell of possession for Albion ended with Lallana firing over after Veltman, relishing the opportunity to push forward, had met Joao’s cross with a powerful effort which wasn’t far away.

By Paul Hazlewood
Simon Adingra at full stretch.

Lallana made way for Julio Enciso midway through the second half and it increasingly looked as if one goal would be enough to settle it.

Tariq Lamptey and Welbeck came on with 17 minutes left and after Enciso had fired straight at Flekken it looked as if Welbeck had worked a precious opening but again Brentford’s defence smothered the attack.

A  brilliant challenge by Nathan Collins stopped Welbeck from pulling the trigger then in stoppage time Welbeck raced through from the inside left channel and as Flekken narrowed the angle he stabbed the ball past him but a yard wide.

Albion: Verbruggen, Veltman (Moder 85), Dunk, van Hecke, Igor, Gross, Baleba, Adingra (Welbeck 73), Lallana (Enciso 65), Buonanotte (Lamptey 73), Joao.

Subs not used: Steele, Estupinan, Offiah, Peupion, O’Mahony.

Referee: Andrew Madley

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