This was how Brentford fans envisaged it would go for their final season at Griffin Park. On the front foot, dictating the tempo and scoring goal after goal after goal.
Ollie Watkins bagged a brace and Bryan Mbeumo got his first goal for the club in what was comfortably the hosts’ most impressive performance of the season. For Derby, they failed to muster a single shot on target.
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Brentford got their first home league win of the season in devastating fashion against Derby
For Brentford boss Thomas Frank the break comes at a frustrating time with momentum built in 45 minutes alone as he marvelled over his side’s effort.
‘We need to aim for this level all the time,’ Frank said. ‘The first half was one of the best my team has played and they couldn’t cope with our intensity.’
In their 130th year, the Bees still have a sting in the tail and finally kickstarted what has been billed as their season-long leaving party.
Derby fans fumed after just 45 minutes – that was all it took to find themselves 3-0 down – as boss Phillip Cocu trudged across the pitch down the tunnel to chants of ‘what the f***ing hell was that?’.
Derby boss Phillip Cocu (left) accepted the criticisms that came from the travelling Derby fans
Brentford (5-3-2): Raya (GK), Canos, Jeanvier, Jansson, Dalsgaard, Henry; Norgaard, Jenson (Mokotjo 73); Benrahma (Valencia 82), Watkins, Mbeumo (Zamburek 78)
Subs not used: Daniels, Pinnock, Dasilva, Fross Goals: Mbeumo (17), Watkins (18, 45)
Manager: Thomas Frank
Derby (4-2-3-1): Roos (GK); Lowe, Keogh, Bielik, Buchanan (Holmes 46); Knight, Huddlestone, Dowell (Bennett 52); Waghorn, Marriott (Paterson 74), Lawrence
Subs not used: Hamer, Shinnie, Clarke, Davies
Booked: Waghorn, Lawrence
Manager: Phillip Cocu
Cocu agreed with the fans, it was simply not good enough and he accepted the ‘shame’ he and his players had brought on the club on Saturday.
‘I understand they are very disappointed. I don’t blame them,’ Cocu said. ‘It’s football, we have to be ashamed of what we showed in 45 minutes, then we showed improvement.’
But back to Brentford. It was a total onslaught and the packed out away end got the best view in the house for what turned out to be a 45-minute mauling.
Lapses in concentration, according to Brentford boss Thomas Frank, were the reason they fell 1-0 against Birmingham, Leeds and Charlton.
But with Said Benrahma – the man with the most assists in the Championship last season – back in the side as one of three changes, Brentford had their swagger back and wanted everybody to know about it.
It took just eight minutes for the hosts to test out Derby goalkeeper Kelle Roos as Sergi Canos, playing at right wing-back, loitered on the edge of the area before fizzing a strike low through a crowded area.
Applause rippled through three terraces housing the home fans and got a thumbs up off Frank – this was the intensity he had longed to see.
Brentford swarmed, as bees often can when they want to attack, and the goal they craved arrived on 17 minutes. Benrahma did brilliantly to spin his marker, play in Watkins who looked set to get the opener himself when he rounded Roos.
There were jeers at half-time as the travelling fans watched Brentford race into a 3-0 lead
Richard Keogh was on hand to scoop off the line to deny Watkins, only for Mbeumo to open his account at Griffin Park on the follow-up.
But before Derby, dazed from the initial blow, could get their bearings back and hit the reset button, it was 2-0 and the game was quickly slipping from their grasp.
This time Mbeumo turned provider with a bursting run down the right and he had the enviable task of squaring across the box to allow an unmarked Watkins to get his third league goal of the season. No Keogh to deny him this time.
Cocu plunged his hands into his suit trouser pockets and must have been left wondering how all his work this week on the training ground was undone in 83 seconds.
Brentford were hungry for more, hungry to finish Derby off to ensure their first home win of the season was beyond any doubt.
Benrahma saw a half-volley parried away before wing-back Rico Henry found the top tier of the away end when he was picked out inside the area on the counter-attack. After weeks of scowls, the smiles were back for those wearing red and white.
Derby’s defence was like a boxer staggering back to his corner following wave after wave of attack from the aggressor, in this case Watkins, Benrahma and Mbeumo. But before they could reach the break it was to get even worse.
Bees goalkeeper David Raya celebrated as he saw his team-mates cut their opponent to pieces
A clever corner-kick routine quickly descended into a scramble in the area, finding Watkins who, at the second time of asking, fired past a busy goal-line to double his tally for the season.
The whistle blew for the break and the jeers were prominent from a furious away end.
The rain came down midway through the second half and refused to disappear in what became a scruffy end to this game in which Derby looked to restore some pride, with little success.
But nothing would dampen Brentford’s day. This, fans hope, is the kind of performance they can get used to before they say goodbye to Griffin Park.