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  • Writer's pictureBy Dan Evans

Further injuries and another game the only reward for beleaguered Brentford as they end losing run

Brentford (1) 1 Maupay 41’

Wolverhampton Wanderers (0) 1 Doyle 64’

 

There was little cup joy to be had on a chilly night in west London, as Brentford failed to see off 10-man Wolves and suffered further additions to their growing list of absentees.

 

The Bees lost captain Christian Norgaard to injury early on after he was on the wrong end of a red card challenge from Joao Gomes before Mathias Jensen came off in the second half moments after Tommy Doyle had spectacularly drawn Wolves level.

 

Neal Maupay had put Brentford ahead late in the first half to offer hope he can combine effectively with the soon-to-return Ivan Toney, but another game to test an already stretched squad was the last thing that Thomas Frank wanted.

 

The draw brings an end to a run of five straight defeats, and Josh Dasilva shone on his first appearance since August, yet this was otherwise a game to be quickly moved on from in a season that is threatening to collapse.

 

“It is the worst outcome in every aspect,” said Frank. “We can only blame ourselves, there was a lack of quality all over the pitch.” This was a surprise for Frank given he had named a strong team - injuries, suspensions and international call-ups aside. He may have been regretting that decision just 10 minutes in, when Norgaard was forced off after Gomes had raked a full set of studs down his ankle.

 

Despite the Brazilian waiting on the touchline for VAR to confirm his fate, both managers accepted referee Tony Harrington's decision. Something that was perhaps easier for the visitors after they found plenty of ways to frustrate Brentford and secure a replay.

 

By that point, stand-in ‘keeper Thomas Strakosha – one of the few reserves Frank called upon to start – had smothered at the feet of Mathias Cunha after accidentally landing a pass in the path of the attacker.

 

Wolves, who won 4-1 here just nine days ago in the Premier League, had to adopt a different game plan: sitting deep and hoping for the best. A task that was made no easier by Hee-Chan Hwang – who scored twice in that victory – being away on Asian Cup duty with South Korea.

 

Nathan Collins endured a nightmarish encounter in that one, laying two goals on a platter for his former club, but he had the first chance for Brentford once they gained the man advantage, side-footing over from the edge of the box following the first nice passing move of the night.

 

The visitors initially seemed rocked by the red card. Toti Gomes almost turned into his own net from a Mads Roerslev cross, but they found their feet by the time the rain had started coming down in earnest.

 

Dasilva, making his return following a serious hamstring injury, danced across the increasingly sodden Gtech turf as though he had never been away. Frank described him as the “one bright light” from the game, and he forced Jose Sa into a save with a bouncing effort after one particularly elegant dribble was followed by an incisive pass that picked out Jensen in the box, only for the midfielder to slice well wide.

 

It was Jensen who created the opening goal though. His dangerous free kick from wide could not be turned home by either Collins or Ethan Pinnock, but Maupay picked out the top corner after the ball had trickled his way.

 

It is only the third goal the forward has scored since returning to West London, not helped by Bryan Mbuemo’s recent absence through injury. He will have the opportunity to forge a relationship with Mbuemo’s trusty partner Toney when the striker’s betting ban ends in a little over a week.

 

Given Dasilva’s influence on what was otherwise a tired game played at the ugly end of a clusture of fixtures, it is perhaps no surprise that Brentford relinquished their lead just moments after he had been substituted.

 

There was little replacement Michael Olakigbe or anyone else in a red and white shirt could have done about Tommy Doyle’s goal, as he rifled home a stunner from outside the area following a short corner.

 

Jensen then suffered the consequences of getting in the way of a Doyle piledriver. He had to be taken off after getting his head in the way of a vicious effort and went straight down the tunnel, although Frank did not think the injury was a serious one.

 

The Bees boss sacrificed a centre-back and threw on more forwards as he tried to avoid a third meeting with Wolves in the space of three weeks, but Brentford’s midfield lacked patience and control without their two great Danes.

 

It was only in the final minutes that they began to look like they had an extra man. Substitute Myles Peart-Harris was not able to turn home a mis-hit shot from fellow substitute Shandon Baptiste and Keane Lewis-Potter could only head straight at Sa when unmarked at the back post.

 

The floodlights going off just moments after full-time possibly summed up how all connected with Brentford will want to forget this night and instead focus on the imminent return of their talisman to try and help them out of their Premier League predicament.

 

Brentford: (5-3-2) Strakosha – Roerslev (Peart-Harris h/t), Zanka (Yarmoliuk 73), Pinnock, Collins, Lewis-Potter – Damsgaard, Norgaard (Janelt 10), Jensen (Baptiste 73) – Dasilva (Olakigbe 63), Maupay. Subs not used: Balcombe, Fredrick, Adedokun, Brierley

 

Wolves: (5-4-1) Sa – Semedo, Kilman, Bueno, Toti, Doherty – Sarabia (Neto 55), Gomes, Doyle, Bellegarde (Chirewa 90) – Cunha. Subs not used: King, Mosquera, Keto-Diyawa, Hodge, Griffiths, Barnett, Kalajdzic

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