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  • By Yann Tear at Brentford Community Stadium

Brentford book another shot at Wembley glory after thrilling fightback against 10-man Cherries

Play-off semi-final second leg

Brentford (1) 3 Toney pen 15, Janelt 50, Forss 81

Bournemouth (1) 1 Danjuma 5

Agg: 3-2

Brentford stormed back in dramatic style after an early setback to book their place in the Championship play-off final for the second year running.

At the 10th time of asking, a play-off promotion could finally be theirs, and with the biggest prize of the lot dangling before their eyes – the promised land of the top flight, which was last graced as long ago as 1947.

On an early afternoon of high drama, Vitaly Janelt’s goal early in the second half levelled the aggregate score – Ivan Toney having cancelled out a fifth-minute strike from Arnaut Danjuma - against a Cherries team reduced to 10 men after 28 minutes with the dismissal of Chris Mepham.

And with the visitors firmly on the ropes, half-time sub Marcus Forss delivered the knock-out blow 10 minutes from time, turning in an Emiliano Marcondes cross from the left at the near post.

It sent the raucous home crowd predictably into raptures. What a time for them to be readmitted to the new stadium.

A breathless first half could hardly have started much worse for the Bees, who somehow contrived to go behind from a corner they had in the opposition half.

In their determination to instantly wipe out the 1-0 first-leg deficit, they left no-one back to track a break-away and Danjuma was uncatchable as he raced from his own half and kept his cool at the end of the run to slip the ball past David Raya.

But by the break the Wembley arch was clearly in the viewfinder after Toney had converted a penalty to equalise before the Cherries had former Bees defender Mepham sent off for a last-man rugby tackle on Bryan Mbeumo, who out-muscled him to leave the goal at his mercy, 30 yards out.

‘He’s one of our own,’ Bees fans cheekily serenaded the departing Cherries player as he trooped off.

The action felt compressed and claustrophobic in a cauldron of an atmosphere generated by 4,000 returning fans – who did not really need a quick pre-match lap from Thomas Frank to get whipped up into a frenzy.

This was a season of frustrated watching from TV at home, crystalized into the team’s most important 90 minutes of the season. It all made for a heady mix of beautiful, chaotic football.

Pressure from the home fans maybe played its part in the Toney leveller too, as a byline cross from Marcondes clipped the raised hand of Lloyd Kelly as the defender slid into block.

The decision looked harsh on Kelly, who was on the deck and too near Marcondes to get out of the way. But home fans bellowed for a spot-kick and the decision from ref Jarred Gillett was just what the doctor ordered.

Toney missed a gilt-edged chance to nod in a Sergi Canos cross from close range, and Henrik Dalsgaard – a late starter after Chris Norgaard had to cry off - forced Diego Rico to clear off the line, after a long throw-in.

There seemed only one likely outcome after the red card. That was especially true because the dangerous David Brooks was withdrawn by Cherries boss Jonathan Woodgate as part of a reshuffle to plug the gap left by Mepham in defence.

That feeling grew when Gillett ignored desperate pleas from the Cherries for a penalty of their own following a corner when there was a suspicion of the ball striking Ethan Pinnock’s hand.

Five minutes into the second half and the Bees were in front as Janelt found the net with a looping clipped shot after a Mathias Jensen cross had been only partially cleared by Ben Pearson.

The stage was all set for the final, almost inevitable moment of glory. Swansea or Barnsley stand in the way next Saturday at Wembley.

Bees: (3-4-1-2) Raya – Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock – Roerslev (Forss h/t), Jensen, Janelt (Ghoddos 64), Canos (Fosu 79) – Marcondes – Toney, Mbeumo (Bidstrup 90). Subs not used: Daniels, Goode, Reid, Stevens

Cherries: (4-2-3-1) Begovic – Smith (Long 83), Carter-Vickers, Mepham, Kelly – Lerma, Pearson – Brooks (Rico 30), Billing, Danjuma – Solanke (Stacey 75). Subs not used: Travers, Wilshere, Surridge, Riquelme, Rico, Kilkenny, Anthony


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