Brentford 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1

Image above: Come on you Beeees!

Big, Bad Wolves

Sorry to report, but precious little happened in the first half at the Gtech Stadium. Josh Dasilva shot wide, Ivan Toney received a sweet cross from Bryan Mbeumo but failed to capitalise on it, Matthias Jensen developed a left-leg limp and was replaced by midfield bright spark Mikkel Damsgaard. That sort of thing.

All very ho-hum, with the only diversion from the drab football goings-on being a noticeable quirk among the Wolves players, which demands rolling about on the ground – whimpering in pain, or so it seemed – whenever despatched there by an opponent.

So let’s forget all that and concentrate on a second period that provided a couple of goals, some crackerjack attacking and defending incidents and enough bad temper displayed by disgruntled Wolves players to warrant a booking in the House of Commons.

The referee, Robert Madley, seemed unmoved by pleas from either side, which guaranteed him earning opprobrium from both as well as the more vocal of a seething crowd.

Perhaps Bobby Madley was concentrating hard on what was his first Premier League outing in four years, having been disciplined and sacked for sending an offensive video to a friend. Tsk, tsk.

Image above: Jensen closing in on goal

Brentford started the second period at a gallop and spirits soared when Mbeumo clipped a superb ball into the goalmouth and Ben Mee – what was he doing there? – beat keeper José Sá with with a volley-cum-scissors kick to put the Bees in front.

Mee, an excellent centre half recently in Pontus Jansson’s absence, had time for a brief celebration. But only very brief; inside two minutes, Wolves’ Nélson Semedo fed the lurking midfielder Rúben Neeves, whose shot arrowed past David Raya in the blink of an eye.

With Toney out of sorts – he had been unwell over the past two days, said Thomas – and an energetic Wolves side anxious to escape the relegation zone (failed!), the game swung backwards and forwards frequently enough to give every grandstand fan a crick in the neck.

Images above: Ajer in defence; Janelt and Dasilva race Wolves for the ball

Respite came as the frequency of players, mainly visitors, adopting the prone position on the pitch increased. On one occasion, Sá sat down for a while in his goalmouth, curiously until it became obvious that a teammate was having treatment for a blood injury near the dugouts.

It is a frustrating tactic, designed to interrupt and possibly negate any rhythm the opposition may have established.

‘Bet he’s fine when he gets back on the pitch,’ fumed a Bees fan when a Wolf tumbled down and remained there for an interminable time. Sure enough, he sprinted like a greyhound back into the action when waved back on by the ref.

Among the supporting cast was a valiant team carrying a stretcher back and forth along the touchline, sometimes being required more than once on the same journey. It was a wonder they didn’t sometimes meet themselves coming back.

The time added to the statutory 45 minutes in the first half had been six minutes; seven minutes was the requirement for the second.

As one might have been expected, it was a fast and furious finale, with Wolves having the best of it until an incident in the Brentford goalmouth provided a dramatic conclusion to an afternoon memorable for such episodes rather than football of high quality.

Image above: Henry and A. Traoré tussle in front of Bees manager Frank

With Wolves rampaging into the area – one splendidly defended by Raya and his soldiers almost throughout – Ben Mee was seen to take a tumble before the ball was cleared and play continued elsewhere.

Mr Madley continued with his business, whistle poised, until the VAR controllers directed him towards the pitch-side screen. There he witnessed the head of Wolves striker Diego Costa come into contact with that of Mee.

Red card delivered, and a crestfallen Costa having departed the pitch, the game continued for another minute or so. In normal circumstances, some of the players might have sunk to the turf for a breather.

‘Not this time,’ said my mate Charlie. ‘Most of them have spent plenty of time down there already.’

Brentford: Raya; Ajer (substitute Roerslev, 83mins), Mee, Pinnock, Henry; Jensen (Damsgaard, 37), Janelt, Dasilva (Onyeka, 83) Mbeumo (Canos, 83), Toney, Wissa (Lewis-Potter 75).

Wolves: Sá; Somedo, Collins, Kilman, Bueno; B Traoré, Neves; A Traoré (Gonϛalo Guedes, 83), Nunes (João Moutinho, 41), Podence; Diego Costa.

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor of the Bees United supporters’ group. Pictures by Liz Vercoe.

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