A Lasse Vibe brace added to a first Griffin Park goal for Nico Yennaris gave Brentford a second win in three days. The Bees struck three times in 19 first half minutes to ensure that almost-relegated Bolton Wanderers were dispatched on a mild spring evening at Griffin Park. Yennaris struck the first after Brentford dominated the opening exchanges and Vibe hit two more as The Bees carved their visitors open at will at times.
Bolton were much improved after the break and Zach Clough converted a penalty to give them a small amount of hope. But they never really looked like getting anything from the match and relegation to Sky Bet League One is almost confirmed. Brentford, however, are now almost assured of Championship football next season after a 3-1 victory was added to a 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Brentford pushed forward from the first whistle and won a corner inside the first 45 seconds. When that was half cleared to Alan McCormack, his cross was headed inches wide by Vibe. It was just a range finder for the Danish striker. That opening salvo was a sign of things to come. The Bees were superb in the opening stages and laid the foundations for the win in their early play. They moved the ball quickly and with purpose and pressed high up the pitch. They forced Wanderers in to numerous defensive errors and looked to capitalise on them.
When Alan Judge robbed Liam Trotter, he let fly from 25 yards but Ben Amos got down well to save. Moments later a low Jake Bidwell cross was met by Judge on the volley but his effort from 12 yards flew in to a posse of defenders and was blocked. A low, bouncing Yoann Barbet free kick was saved uncomfortably by Amos and the Bolton goalkeeper was left helpless when, following a quick move, Judge lifted in a cross-cum-shot from the right touchline that bounced away off the crossbar and fell to Sam Saunders who could only steer it in to the side netting from an acute angle.
The opening goal eventually came 17 minutes in and it was the least Brentford deserved. Maxime Colin got on to a Ryan Woods pass and delivered a cross, Judge set it back for Woods, his shot wasn’t the best but it fell kindly to Yennaris and the midfield man poked home from ten yards for his second goal in four days. Brentford nearly, however, gave their lead away moments later. Alan McCormack was robbed in midfield and Darren Pratley found Josh Vela, the striker shot from 18 yards but the effort bounced away off the post.
Bolton responded well to falling behind but their limitations were clear. The visitors were not comfortable in possession at the back but did not have a powerful striker to play long to. They did, however, have Clough, who was the man most likely to create something. The striker was more powerful than his frame suggested and his clever running caused problems at times. He almost levelled with a low shot after a nice turn but missed the target from 18 yards. And seconds later it was 2-0. David Button got the game moving quickly and Woods played Vibe in, the striker tried to find Judge with a cross but, after Niall Maher had blocked, was alert enough to pick up the loose ball, wait for Amos to commit himself and slot home from ten yards.
Clough shot narrowly over for Bolton after a nice run and then nearly robbed Button when the goalkeeper dithered in possession. The corner won by the Bolton striker was only partially cleared and Button had to punch off the head of Pratley, who was waiting to nod in. At the other end Vibe beat Amos to a long ball but Maher was able to clear and the Danish striker then turned a low Saunders cross inches past the post. Vibe did, however, get his second goal late in the first half. And it was a goal to savour. Brentford launched a swift attack on the right side and Judge found space to deliver a cross that was inch perfect for Vibe to run on to it and power a header home. He gave Amos no chance and took his tally to three goals in his last 80-odd minutes of action and to ten for the season.
With a 3-0 led to build on, Brentford tried to find the rhythm they had in the first half after the break. They were not, however, quite able to do so. Bolton brought on the experienced defender David Wheater at the break and midfield man Neil Danns followed soon after as they attempted to shore things up. The game was not as open in the second period, Bolton were more organised and dug in, looking to make life difficult for The Bees.
Judge had an early shot blocked and Saunders fired narrowly over on the swivel after Yennaris had nodded down but as the game ticked past the hour mark, the second period had failed to entertain as the first did. Bolton never looked like getting back in to the game but when Brentford made mistakes, there were chances for the visitors. Vela fired over after turning nicely and when Barbet and McCormack failed to retain possession, Trotter shot wide with the outside of his foot.
McCormack nearly scored the goal of the game with a powerful shot from approaching 40 yards that Amos had to claw out of the top corner and Saunders cut inside before shooting over soon after. Bolton’s endeavour then saw them win and convert a penalty to give them a tiny bit of hope as the game entered the final 20 minutes. Kaiyne Woolery won it with a run in to the box in the inside right channel that was ended by a McCormack foul. Clough stepped up and sent Button the wrong way to reduce the deficit.
But Bolton could not build on that and with Brentford introducing Sergi Canós and Scott Hogan, they looked to restore the three-goal cushion. Judge shot wide following a quick free kick and Harlee Dean headed a Bidwell corner wide. Canós had a shot blocked and Barbet saw an effort saved as the minutes ticked down. Clough almost had the final say with a cross-cum-shot that looked to be heading in before Barbet acrobatically cleared and then with a powerful low effort that Button saved. But a second goal would not have been a fair reflection of the evening’s action and The Bees were able to ensure they got a 3-1 win.
Brentford: Button; Colin (sub Clarke 85 mins), Dean, Barbet, Bidwell; Yennaris, McCormack; Woods, Judge, Saunders (sub Canós 68 mins); Vibe (sub Hogan 82 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, O’Connell, Kerschbaumer, Gogia
Bolton Wanderers: Amos; Maher, Derik, Finney (sub Wheater h/t), Moxey; Woolery (sub Samizadeh 85 mins), Pratley, Trotter, Walker (sub Danns 52 mins); Vela, Clough
Subs (not used): Rachubka, Heskey, Wilson, Twardzik
Bookings: Vela (71 mins), Clough (73 mins), Pratley (86 mins), Wheater (90 mins)
Attendance: 9,062 (376 away fans)