Brentford 2-1 Aston Villa: Lasse Vibe hits winner for Bees
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 26/12/17 10:23pm
Lasse Vibe was the hero for Brentford once again as he scored the winner in a 2-1 Boxing Day victory over Aston Villa at Griffin Park.
The Bees had taken time to grow into the game, but took the lead in the pouring rain when Ryan Woods seized on Glenn Whelan's mistake to feed Romaine Sawyers, who drove home the opener from 20 yards (22).
But following sustained pressure in the final third, Josh Onomah drew Villa level when he met former Brentford striker Scott Hogan's dinked cross to divert a powerful header past Daniel Bentley in the Bees goal (30).
And Vibe - who scored twice against Norwich on Friday night - capitalised on another defensive mix-up seven minutes after the break (52) to secure the victory and ensure another bad day at the office for Steve Bruce's backline.
Brentford: Bentley (6), Yennaris (7), Mepham (6), Bjelland (6), Barbet (6), McEachran (6), Woods (6), Josefzoon (6), Sawyers (7), Canos (9), Vibe (7)
Subs: Mokotjo (5), Maupay (N/A)
Aston Villa: Johnstone (6), Hutton (5), Chester (6), Elphick (6), Taylor (6), Snodgrass (6), Whelan (5), Jedinak (6), Adomah (5), Grealish (7), Hogan (5)
Subs: Onomah (7), Davis (6), Elmohamady (N/A)
Man of the match: Sergi Canos
Villa looked more strategic after throwing away two cheap goals against Sheffield United on Saturday evening, while Brentford were subdued and found themselves on the back foot in the opening 15 minutes.
It looked as though the opener would come from a mistake - and it did. Whelan misplaced his pass on the edge of the area, allowing Woods to square for Sawyers, who tucked a low shot past Sam Johnstone.
The Bees continued to look bright on the attack but had their lead cancelled within 10 minutes. After sustained Villa pressure in the final third, Onomah - an early substitute for Albert Adomah - drew the visitors level when he headed Hogan's cross home.
Dean Smith made two changes for the Boxing Day clash as Sergi Canos and Josh McEachran replaced Ollie Watkins and Kamohelo Mokotjo, while playmaker Alan Judge returned to the squad for the first time since breaking his leg in April 2016.
Villa boss Steve Bruce made three changes of his own following Saturday's 2-2 draw with Sheffield United - Ahmed Elmohamady, Conor Hourihane and former Bees striker Scott Hogan started in place of Alan Hutton, Tommy Elphick and Keinan Davis.
The Bees flew out of the traps after the restart and restored their lead after 52 minutes when Vibe slotted home from close range after Onomah and Tommy Elphick failed to track his run into the box.
Both centre-backs - Andreas Bjelland and Chris Mepham - suffered blows to the face as Brentford dug deep to keep the threat Villa posed at bay late on, forcing plenty of stoppage time at the game's conclusion.
And the visitors came within inches of grabbing an equaliser through Keinan Davis in those six nervy minutes of added time after tireless work from Jack Grealish, but it was the Bees who held firm to take all three points.
Man of the Match - Sergi Canos
The former Liverpool youngster was at the heart of everything at Griffin Park and a constant threat down the left flank. He was unlucky not to net a goal of his own after hitting the bar in the second half, but his stellar contributions more than made up for it.
Dean Smith: "I thought there was a period [in the second half] where we were on top and maybe we should have converted the chances we made there, but we didn't quite take it.
"I thought we were good value for the win, to be honest. I thought we started the game really well, passed the ball quite well and pressed them very well. I don't think we created loads of chances, but when they did come around, we took them well, so it's a great victory for us.
Steve Bruce: "We're not going to try and flannel it or do anything, we simply weren't good enough on the night. All round, we didn't do enough with or without the ball so where do you want to start?
"Sometimes it's difficult to come in front of cameras when we've just witnessed something like that, but it's difficult because I thought those sort of days were behind us."
Both sides are in action for the final time in 2017 on Saturday afternoon, with Villa travelling north to Middlesbrough and Brentford welcoming managerless Sheffield Wednesday to Griffin Park.