Brentford battle back to reach engage in-off closing in remarkable Griffin Park swansong | Football

A evening for relocating on. For shedding baggage and laying the earlier to rest. On the night time Brentford mentioned their farewells to Griffin Park, they arrived nearer to top-flight soccer than they have accomplished at any point since 1947.

They did so with a glowing modern model of football fairly at odds with the weathered girders and sardine seats of their outdated home.

Fulham or Cardiff lie in hold out at a deserted Wembley up coming Tuesday, the remaining fixture in this strangest of seasons, and if Brentford are to break their hoodoo of 8 successive enjoy-off failures they can request for couple superior platforms.

Several much better entrance threes than Saïd Benrahma, Ollie Watkins and Bryan Mbeumo. Couple of better midfield conductors than Mathias Jensen. Couple far better managers than Thomas Frank, who has compelled Brentford to dream major, to compose a new chapter in a cherished historical past.

Of program, breaking into the world’s richest league calls for much more than a wholesome sense of predestination. You need to have to put up with and you need to have to sweat, and on a warm evening equally groups performed their section in an arrestingly actual physical encounter. Frank had promised in the buildup that he would have his exhausted gamers off the pitch at the close if needed, and in a spectacular, complete-throttle opening 15 minutes that turned the tie on its head, his crew were being as great as his word.

It commenced, as so quite a few of Brentford’s moves do, from the incredibly again: the goalkeeper David Raya obtaining Jensen, the Denmark less than-21 midfielder on the fringes of the senior national team. All evening Jensen pulled the strings, pulled Swansea this way and that, and listed here he performed the type of defence-splitting move – completely 60 yards, all along the ground, straight down the middle – that you needed to look at all over again and yet again. A move with its personal unachievable choreography, correct down to the beautifully timed operate of Watkins, who concluded with an assassin’s cool for his 26th purpose of the year.

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Most likely Swansea ended up a tiny concussed by the brutal, geometric coldness of that objective. Certainly that would describe the momentary loss of defensive condition that allowed Benrahma to advance to the edge of their place just times afterwards.

An elevated view of Griffin Park



The game was Brentford’s very last at Griffin Park, their house for 116 decades. Photograph: Alex Burstow/Getty Photographs

As Swansea’s midfield collapsed on to the back again 3 like a boxer sinking into the lethal embrace of the ropes, Benrahma had all the time in the globe to flop a delicious cross on to the head of Emiliano Marcondes. In the room of four minutes, Brentford have been 2- up and Swansea’s a person-objective cushion had turned into an ejector seat.

It could have been even worse for them. Benrahma was commencing to appear into the video game, having fun with a string of good openings, and at 1 issue clattering the within of the publish after a magical small exchange with Jensen. Swansea’s ideal prospect arrived via Conor Gallagher, and as half-time approached they had just about managed to stem the bleeding.

But inside hardly a minute of the restart, Brentford experienced hit them again: Jensen once again, releasing Rico Henry (reprieved from suspension after currently being despatched off in the very first leg), crossing for Mbeumo to volley household with authority and swagger.

Now, as Swansea threw them selves into a person last work, Brentford’s defence would step up. Raya designed a amazing preserve from Connor Roberts. Christian Norgaard made two or a few essential clearances in a row. And for all the miles in the legs, the 101 matches these two sides experienced by now dragged by themselves via this period, remarkably the ultimate levels of the sport have been just as intense and spellbinding as the first. Rhian Brewster threatened a Swansea comeback, with 12 minutes remaining, making the most of defensive indecision from Pontus Jansson.

But as the 6 minutes of damage time leaked absent, as Swansea plugged away to very little influence, Brentford appeared to reinforce, not weaken. Comprehensive-time came like a benediction, a sweet catharsis not just for these in the floor but for the untold thousands of Brentford fans who would rather have been observing in individual, not via a monitor.

There is speak of a suitable farewell for the outdated spot at some issue, maybe a socially distanced reception, even an exhibition match. But in a perception, this was the great way for it to stop. The stands will quickly be residences.

A gleaming new chapel awaits just just one prevent up the line at Kew Bridge. Time, in far more senses than a single, to acquire the next action.

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