Preston 0-5 Brentford: Bees keep their weak auto-promotion hopes alive with huge win over Deepdale while coming within nine points of Watford
- Brentford is now nine points behind second-place Watford with a game in hand
- The Bees had drawn their previous four championship games in a row
- Ivan Toney scored his 29th league goal of the season to make it 4-0 in Deepdale
- The Danish midfielder Emiliano Marcondes made it 5-0 at the Bees in injury time
It may be too little too late, but Brentford rediscovered their mojo to stop a stumbling block in their bid to finish a top two.
They clearly intended to extend Norwich’s seemingly inevitable climb to the Premier League by another week against unmanaged opponents, but to stave off the specter of relegation, they struck Deepdale five times in a clinical all-round match.
Thomas Frank responded to a run of four straight draws that transformed their own promotional ambitions from a push for the automatic places to the play-off route by changing the form of his team. With a devastating effect.
Preston defender Jordan Storey (right) clashes with Brentford forward Marcus Forss
Bryan Mbeumo celebrates after Brentford took the lead at Deepdale by his goal on Saturday
Marcus Forss celebrates after his goal put the promotion behind Bees 2-0 on Preston
Preston: Iversen, Storey, Lindsay (Gordon 53), Hughes, Van den Berg, Whiteman (Molumby 77), Ledson, Potts (Browne 54), Barkhuizen, Jakobsen (Sinclair 53), Evans (Bodin 77)
Subs not used: Bayliss, Moult, Huntingdon, Hudson,
Brentford: Raya, Jansson, Norgaard, Pinnock, Roerslev (Stevens 87), Fosu (Ghoddos 79), Jensen (Marcondes 83), Mbeumo, Forss (Canos 79), Toney, Janelt (Bidstrup 83)
Subs not used: Goode, Reid, Daniels, 29, Bech Sorensen, Stevens, Bidstrup
Goals: Mbeumo, (9) Forss, (26) Toney, (75) Canos, (82) Marcondes (90 + 1)
Referee: Tony Harrington
Gone was the back four operating at Huddersfield seven days earlier in favor of a 3-4-1-2 system with Bryan Mbeumo a surprise choice at the left-back.
The addition of a second striker in Marcus Forss reduced the burden on Championship top scorer Toney and changed the burden of their attacks.
Mbeumo enjoyed his new position early on, delivering a free kick in the area that headed Ethan Pinnock over the top, then came to a corner in his own six-yard box, before scoring just his fifth goal of the season. with the kind of confidence shown in the 15 contribution in 2019-2020.
Mads Roerslev was released from the right flank and his bustling low center was crashed past Daniel Iversen on the run from 12 meters by the French.
It was a similar tactic to Brentford’s stunning second goal as Mathias Jensen drove through the center of the field, feeding the overlapping Roerslev whose recoil was swept home by Forss.
The visitors were well worth their 2-0 lead, although it took a brilliant blocking of the all-action Roerslev to divert a drive from Emil Riis over the top between their strokes.
All of Preston’s threat came from high balls in the area with Tom Barkhuizen’s long throws prominent.
Brentford striker Ivan Toney celebrates with teammates after his goal scored the 3-0
But the division’s most prolific team, Brentford, with their attacking swagger recovered after lying idle for a few weeks, always seemed more likely to change the score.
And they did it fifteen minutes before the end, when Tarique Fosu marked his recall with a rise to the byline and the dink, allowing Toney to nod his 29th league goal of the season in the back.
There was time for Toney’s ninth assist as he ran to the left and square it for substitute Sergi Canos who had to repent from three feet.
Brentford winger Sergi Canos made it 4-0 on Thomas Frank’s side with a cool finish
Emiliano Marcondes closed an impressive showing for Brentford with a fifth goal
And another late substitute Emiliano Marcondes completed the defeat when he fired on the final whistle from a corner.
Their fate of another top flight shot is unlikely to change in the playoffs, like the ruthlessness of Norwich and Watford above them, but it has regained some momentum against opponents sadly up for grabs.