Burton 0-2 Brentford: Bees win to close on play-offs
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 07/03/18 12:18am
An own goal from captain Kyle McFadzean was the catalyst as Burton lost 2-0 to Brentford to make it 14 home games without a win at the Pirelli Stadium.
The Albion centre-back could do nothing as Ollie Watkins' drilled cross cannoned off him and flew into the Burton goal on the hour mark.
Watkins then sealed victory with 10 minutes remaining with a low drive past Burton goalkeeper Stephen Bywater.
The first half may have been played at a fast pace but clear chances were few and far between. Brentford skipper John Egan went close inside the opening two minutes with a deft header from Watkins' free-kick; his effort going just wide of the post.
His defensive colleague Andreas Bjelland was equally unfortunate to see his header land wide of the upright from a Florian Jozefzoon corner later in the opening half.
Burton were eager to end their dismal run without a home win stretching back to their victory over Fulham on September 16, and their best chance of the opening half fell to Martin Samuelsen; the West Ham loanee volleying Lloyd Dyer's cross over the bar from six yards out after 39 minutes.
Brentford striker Neal Maupay was perhaps fortunate not to be sent off after picking up a soft yellow card for failing to retreat and then leaving Burton skipper McFadzean on the ground with a challenge on the halfway line.
Referee Tony Harrington opted for a stern lecture and Maupay failed to reappear for the second half, with Bees boss Dean Smith opting to bring on Emiliano Marcondes.
The Bees took the lead when McFadzean diverted Watkins' low delivery past Bywater on the hour mark.
After seeing off a spell of pressure where Brentford sensed a second goal could be there for the taking, Albion began to threaten and twice Dyer got in behind the Bees defence but failed to deliver a telling cross.
Burton substitute Marvin Sordell sent in a cross from the right that took a deflection off Egan on 74 minutes, but the ball flew inches wide of the far post.
Watkins doubled the visitors' advantage when he cut in from the left and sent a right-footed effort into the bottom corner past an unsighted Bywater.
Bees substitute Sergi Canos almost added a third late on with a viciously swerving shot that Bywater managed to beat away and the veteran 'keeper twice had to be sharp to deny Watkins as the striker threatened to put a gloss on another away win for the west Londoners as their late run towards the play-offs continued.
Nigel Clough: "We were toe to toe with Brentford and there wasn't a lot in the game and then you score an own goal and they get a soft second one and it changes the complexion of the game.
"I think it was only really in the last 10 minutes of the game that they really dominated. We caused Brentford a few problems tonight."
Dean Smith: "It was a hard-earned win and thoroughly deserved I felt. We controlled the game for long periods, probably a bit sloppy in the final third with our final ball or our decision making but we scored from a set piece which is really pleasing and finished it off with a great finish from OIlie [Watkins] which is what we deserved today.
"We are playing well at the moment. We don't think we deserved to lose the last game against Leeds but I think Burton are a much improved team from when we played them earlier in the season so we had to be good today and I thought our control of the football was good. Our passing and moving at times was very good."