Two more goals for the increasingly prolific Lasse Vibe and Sam Saunders’ second of the season meant Brentford picked up a third three-goal win in a week. On a chilly Suffolk afternoon, Ipswich Town were sent the same way Nottingham Forest and Bolton Wanderers have been in the past seven days as The Bees picked up another win they fully deserved. The Bees had to deal with a sickening early injury to Alan Judge but they grew in to the game and Saunders put them ahead just before the half hour. Luke Hyam escaped a red card for the tackle on Judge but was sent off late in the half and Vibe scored two after the break to seal the win.
There were a few hairy moments for Brentford and they gifted a late goal to Liam Feeney but 3-1 was a fair reflection on the match. When it was 11v11 Brentford dominated possession, they won their share of aerial challenges and most of the second balls and looked the more likely to score. And when they had a man advantage in the second half, they used it to good effect. It was probably only tired legs and the effect of three games in a week that prevented Brentford making more use of the extra man and recording a more convincing win.
The game will, unfortunately, be remembered for the incident around 140 seconds in. Judge was waiting for a high ball to drop and after bringing it under his spell was felled by sickening challenge from Hyam. The Ipswich man paid no heed to the safety of his opposite number, flying in off the floor and wrapping his legs around Brentford’s Irish midfield man. When Judge eventually left the pitch eight minutes later he was on a motorised stretcher with both legs strapped looking like he will be out of the game for some time. For reasons known only to himself, referee Philip Gibbs decided the challenge was only worthy of a yellow card and Hyam was allowed to continue.
Konstantin Kerschbaumer was brought on to replace Judge and the game effectively started again. There was, however, a bit of a cloud hanging over it. Hyam was a peripheral figure, visibly pulling out of challenges and bypassed by his team mates while Brentford’s new central midfield trio of Saunders, Ryan Woods and Alan McCormack snapped at his ankles and let him know in no uncertain terms what they thought of his early act. It was no surprise when he was eventually sent off in the middle of the stoppage time at the end of the first half caused by his foul. Woods was rightly cautioned for a foul on Hyam but the Ipswich man got up and shoved the Brentford midfielder away leaving Mr Gibbs with no choice but to show him a second yellow card and end his afternoon.
Ipswich had the first sight of goal when Freddie Sears got away in the inside right channel but his attempt to find a man in the middle was thwarted by Harlee Dean. But it was Brentford who reacted to the long stoppage best and they took control of the game early on. Sergi Canós was a useful outlet on the right and the pace of the wide man and Vibe had the home defence worried. It also enabled Saunders to find pockets of space and look to get Brentford moving forward.
Kerschbaumer had an early sight of goal after Vibe had escaped the attentions of Luke Chambers but his shot was deflected and saved with Saunders in space 15 yards out. Kerschbaumer then cut inside and curled an effort over before a Saunders cross just eluded Vibe after fine work from the rampaging Maxime Colin, who was providing support from the back. Vibe flicked a header wide and Canós had a shot blocked after Colin had again contributed to the attack.
At the other end, Button saved a deflected Sears shot but Brentford were on top and got the goal they deserved just before the half hour mark. Kerschbaumer was the architect, robbing Cole Skuse in midfield and setting off towards goal, he then waited for support and when the pass came, Saunders curled it unerringly in to the net. Ipswich tried to respond but Brentford’s defence was well-drilled and the dangerous Sears often tried his luck against Colin and came out second best more often than not. The Bees almost grabbed a second when Canós led a break from a corner, he got away from Chambers and past two more defenders before shooting inches wide.
Button had to be alert when Sears set up a chance for Ainsley Maitland-Niles but the low shot was well held and five minutes in to the nine of stoppage time, Woods and Hyam came together with the Ipswich man heading for an early bath. That seemed to galvanise Ipswich and Chambers had a header blocked from a corner before Button pushed out a vicious shot from Jonas Knudsen that dipped and swerved late, his defence then completed the job by whacking the ball away.
Ipswich made changes at the break, sacrificing their two wide players for an extra striker – David McGoldrick- and an extra central midfield player – Jonathan Douglas. Brentford started the second half as they had played most of the first, dominating possession and looking to create spaces in the gaps left by a rigid Ipswich system. But Ipswich had renewed vigour and sought an equaliser. McGoldrick missed the target with an acrobatic effort and Sears fired across the face of goal moments later. But the game was still bubbling and Luke Varney may have seen red for a late tackle from behind on Woods that had an air of retribution about it. He escaped with a yellow then and Mr Gibbs deemed it appropriate to then ignore when he dived trying to win a penalty soon after when in the vicinity of Yoann Barbet.
Colin made a fine clearance to prevent McGoldrick converting at the far post when Sears got away but it was almost two when Canós let fly with an effort that took a deflection, beat Bartosz Bialkowski and hit the crossbar, Vibe was first to the loose ball but it wouldn’t come down and he looped a header over. The second goal did, however, come soon after. It was masterfully executed with Brentford using the extra man to overload on the right, Colin delivered a cross and Vibe stooped to conquer, flicking a header in to the far corner for his fourth goal of the week.
And the fifth came soon after. This one was all Vibe’s work. The Danish striker pounced as Christophe Berra dithered and robbed the central defender, that left him with only Bialkowski to beat and he steered a shot with the outside of his right foot in to the far corner. Bialkowski prevented Vibe making it a six-goal week moments later when he reacted quickly after failing to gather a Saunders shot to save at the feet of the Dane.
Ipswich were still pressing, looking for a goal that would give them a chance of getting something from the game. Barbet made a fine clearance when Sears looked like he would turn in a Knudsen cross and a McGoldrick effort was deflected wide. A Sears shot was blocked and Chambers nodded across the face of goal before McGoldrick blasted over.
Brentford were playing on the counter-attack, happy to break at speed when the chance arose. McCormack, with a nutmeg of Skuse, and Vibe set up Kerschbaumer but Bialkowski made a superb low save. And moments later Andy Gogia and Kerschbaumer set up Vibe for a curling shot that whistle just wide. Sears should have reduced the deficit at the other end when Knudsen put him through with only Button to beat but he blasted wide and McGoldrick and Feeney missed the target soon after.
The goal Ipswich had been threatening came two minutes from the end. McCormack was robbed by Skuse when trying to turn out of trouble in midfield and Skuse and McGoldrick combined to give Feeney the chance to drill low past Button. There were a few nervous moments as Ipswich sensed a second goal could set up an entertaining finish but there were no chances for the hosts. And at the other end Vibe had a shot blocked before Jake Bidwell shot over as Brentford sought a fourth. That extra goal would have put a gloss on the score line but Brentford had a nine-goal and nine-point week to show for their effort, albeit on a day tinged with sadness with Judge in hospital.
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski; Foley, Chambers, Berra, Knudsen; Maitland-Niles (sub Douglas h/t), Skuse, Hyam, Pringle (sub McGoldrick h/t); Sears, Varney (sub Feeney 74 mins)
Subs (not used): Gerken, Smith, Bru, Pitman
Bookings: Varney (57 mins)
Sent Off: Hyam (45 mins) (second bookable offence)
Brentford: Button; Colin, Dean, Barbet, Bidwell; Woods, McCormack; Canós (sub Gogia 74 mins), Judge (sub Kerschbaumer 7 mins), Saunders (sub Hogan 82 mins); Vibe
Subs (not used): Bonham, Clarke, O’Connell, Ferry
Bookings: Woods (45 mins) (seventh of season)
Attendance: 18,845 (559 Bees fans)