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  • Exclusive by Alessandro Schiavone

Brentford dumped out of FA Cup by Wolves but every cloud has a silver lining

By Alessandro Schiavone at Molineux

Wolverhampton 3-2 Brentford

Goals: Collins (B) 13' , Semedo (W) 36', Maupay (B) 52', Fraser (W) 72, Cunha (W) 105+5'

Brentford are out of the FA Cup after relinquishing two leads to lose 3-2 to Wolverhampton in the third round.

Matheus Cunha held his nerve in extra-time injury-time to beat the excellent no.2 Thomas Strakosha from 12 yards and set up a fourth-round derby with bitter local rivals West Bromwich Albion.

Out of the oldest cup competition in the world despite two draws and playing well will be stinging but should not knock the spirited Bees's off their perch as they bid to stay in the Premier League with a challenging four months ahead of them.

And Thomas Frank's side can take solace from superstar Ivan Toney's long-awaited return from an eight-month ban for breaching betting rules that ends tomorrow. The Arsenal target will be available for selection against Nottingham Forest on Saturday

Brentford led three times in the tie overall but on reflection Gary O'Neil's Wolves are deservedly through to the next round as they avoided defeat down to 10 men in the London leg and twice clawed their way back tonight in difficult circumstances. To do it three times is no fluke and reflects the team's togetherness and personality. Had it not been for the outstanding Strakosha, Brentford would have been brushed aside in the second-half. Even though we will never know Mark Flekken's red-hot understudy may have been their hero had the game gone to penalties.

Brentford broke the deadlock thanks to Nathan Collins' finish after Jose Sa parried Kristoffer Ajer's venomous effort. The hosts' rear-guard then failed to clear their lines before their former midfielder buried the loose ball to silence the boo boys.

After that, Wolves showed a reaction and started to take aim at Strakosha's goal. But Cunha's long ranger was saved by the former Lazio man before Matt Doherty flicked his header wide from a promising position. Luck was also out for Nelson Semedo whose shot was cleared a yard before the line before Pablo Sarabia dragged the follow-up wide from a non-prohibitive angle too.

With Wolves in the ascendant and stretching Brentford, the equaliser was in the air and just a matter of time. And Semedo rolled the ball into an empty net after Strakosha pulled off a textbook low save to deny him first. The latter came to his team's rescue again when he vigilantly back-pedalled to push Doyle's curling corner out.

As many clubs in English football found out, affording Maupay time and space in the box is always a recipe for disaster and the Frenchman restored the lead with a killer's finish seven minutes into the second period.

O'Neil then brought on Mario Lemina and Nathan Fraser on 70 minutes. And what a masterstroke his calculated double substitution proved to be.

The ex-Juve midfielder fired over after Jensen made a hash of clearing his lines but Fraser levelled the game seconds later with a composed finish into the far corner. Talk about instant impact!

Brentford could have taken a fourth lead in the tie but Shandon Baptiste and Lewis-Potter both missed the target by blasting their attempts over.

Both Cunha and Baptiste then hit the post in quick succession as the game was turning into an end-to-end affair with Strakosha denying Wolves an additional two times.

But there was nothing the Albanian could have done to stop Cunha's accurate and strong penalty.

Brentford are out but every cloud has a silver lining. Look at it that way: they can now focus all their energies and endeavours to stay in the top-flight.


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