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Brentford 1 Wolves 2 - Report

A bizarre afternoon in west London saw several stoppages – including a drone flying overhead – and an overturned red card as Wolves battled to a 2-1 win over Brentford.

Joao Moutinho (Getty)
Joao Moutinho (Getty)

Wolves’ first ever visit to the Brentford Community Stadium was an eventful one as the first stoppage came when Rico Henry and Mathias Jensen had a nasty clash of heads.

Then, after 30 minutes, a drone was remarkably spotted flying over the stadium and the players were forced to return to the dressing room.

A disjointed first half finally came to an end before the second was then delayed due to a problem with referee Peter Bankes’ communication equipment.

But the game sparked into life shortly after when Joao Moutinho fired Wolves into the lead.

Ivan Toney smartly pulled the hosts level before Ruben Neves curled home a beauty to hand Wolves all three points on one of the strangest afternoons of football you will ever see.

Bruno Lage made two changes to the side that beat Southampton last time out and switched to a 3-5-2 formation.

Raul Jimenez missed out with a calf injury and was replaced by Fabio Silva, while Neves returned from his Covid-19 isolation and replaced Francisco Trincao, who dropped to the bench.

Young defender Toti Gomes kept his place following his surprise debut last week.

Ki-Jana Hoever also returned from his Covid-19 isolation and made the bench, alongside Fernando Marcal who returned from injury.

New signing Chiquinho was also included among the substitutes and was joined by Adama Traore who was included in the squad despite talks ongoing with Tottenham Hotspur over his sale.

Thomas Frank also made two changes to his Brentford side, who stuck with their 3-5-2 formation.

Kristoffer Ajer replaced Mads Bech Sorensen, while Henry came in for Mads Roerslev - those two dropping out both made the bench.

In the reverse fixture in September, in which Brentford walked away comfortable 2-0 winners, they pressed Wolves aggressively but in the early stages in the capital Wolves were allowed time and space on the ball.

They dominated possession and passed it around nicely. A half-chance arrived when a Moutinho cross found Silva but his glancing header was well wide.

The hosts then had their first opening when Sergi Canos reached a cross at the back post but turned it behind from 15 yards, while under pressure from Rayan Ait-Nouri.

But as the game settled Brentford began to employ their trademark high energy style by pressing Wolves when they looked to play out from the back.

Silva was then found on the left and after doing well to cut inside, and get beyond his marker Pontus Jansson, he aimed a curled effort from distance towards the far post but it was off target.

Gomes had a slightly shaky first 15 minutes with a few misplaced passes and missed headers, but he then did well to cover for his defensive team-mates after a mix-up saw Brentford breaking forward.

Wolves were struggling to get a grip on the game, too, and some set pieces were causing havoc in their own box, while Ait-Nouri had a fantastic start with a number of tackles and blocks.

The game was stopped after a sickening clash of heads between team-mates Henry and Jensen saw both gushing blood from the face. Both received treatment on the pitch for several minutes before coming off as concussion substitutes, being replaced by Roerslev and Shandon Baptiste.

Play continued for less than five minutes before, remarkably, play was halted again as a drone was flown over the stadium. It hovered over the centre circle and moved up and down for several minutes and the players were forced to leave the field and return to the dressing room as per Premier League rules, in the interest of safety.

The drone then flew away before quickly returning as the players were still sat inside. A helicopter then flew low over the stadium as the chaos ensued for several minutes.

After a long delay the players returned to the field, had a short warm-up and resumed play in the 45th minute with 19 minutes of time added on.

With football finally the centre of attention again Silva chested down a lovely lofted ball from Neves and whipped a fierce shot towards the far corner, which just whistled wide before he was flagged offside.

Wolves finally started to get into their stride and did well to look after the ball and quickly recover it when they lost it. They put the Brentford defence under pressure but struggled to find the killer pass to open them up.

A superb Conor Coady pass from his own half almost put Nelson Semedo through on goal, while Daniel Podence was started to pull the strings in the forward areas.

A bizarre first half then came to an end with the teams drawing 0-0. With all the disruption to the game it lacked any flow and both sides struggled to find their rhythm.

In comical fashion, as the teams were about to kick-off for the second half there was yet another delay. There was an issue with the referee’s communication equipment and he was forced to go down the tunnel to have it fixed, which took several minutes.

When football finally resumed Wolves started well. Encouraged by an animated Lage on the side lines they quickly got the ball out wide and used Semedo to good effect.

And only four minutes into the second half Wolves found the opening goal from that right flank. Moutinho picked up the ball, played a delightful one-two pass with Semedo and the midfielder then fired the ball home in front of a packed away end.

With the visitors on top Silva then raced forward, fed Leander Dendoncker on the right and his low cross just evaded the striker from a couple yards out.

If this game of football could not get any more bizarre, a black helicopter then began hovering over the stadium in the 55th minute – presumably keeping an eye out if the drone returned.

As the game ticked beyond the hour mark the hosts began to see much more of the ball and force Wolves deep into their own half.

Youngster Gomes was then handed a straight red card for a late tackle on Ajer, but after VAR intervened and the referee checked the pitch side monitor it was overturned and rightly changed to a yellow card.

But from the resulting free-kick Brentford equalised. Toney was found, unmarked, at the back post and he volleyed first time into the far bottom corner.

Despite the uncertainty of his future Traore came on in the 75th minute as Wolves looked to regain the lead.

And only minutes later they found it through Neves. He was found on the edge of the box by Moutinho and Neves beautifully curled the ball into the bottom corner to send the travelling fans wild.

The game was far from over, however, and Brentford put Wolves under intense pressure in the closing stages. Plenty of set pieces were thrown into the box as the hosts worked the ball out wide and forced Wolves into some last ditch defending – with Coady impressing and Jose Sa dominating his area.

On a wonderful break away Traore thumped home a third for Wolves and was mobbed by his team-mates before VAR ruled it out for a marginal offside.

But in the end it made no difference to the result as Wolves hung on for an important three points.

After the final whistle Brentford boss Frank stormed on the pitch and began targeting Wolves players and the officials, before being handed a red card.

Wolves: Sa, Kilman, Coady, Gomes, Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Ait-Nouri, Podence (Trincao, 92), Silva (Traore, 75).

Subs not used: Ruddy, Hoever, Marcal, Giles, Jordao, Cundle, Chiquinho.

Brentford: Lossl, Pinnock, Jansson, Ajer, Canos (Ghoddos, 83), Jensen (Baptiste, 26, Forss, 79), Norgaard, Janelt, Henry (Roerslev, 26, Wissa, 58), Mbeumo, Toney.

Subs not used: Fernandez, Stevens, Sorensen, Bidstrup.

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