70 min: Brentford have Swansea right where they want them. They’re actually letting them have the ball in harmless areas, challenging them to do something useful with it. As soon as Swansea try, Brentford swarm all over them.
67 min: Jensen is a delightful player, always prodding and probing in Brentford’s midfield. Except now, because he and everyone else have stopped for drinks.
64 min: Brewster spots Robers raging forward down the left and plays him in. Roberts uses a bit of trickery to turn inside the full-back and then opens fire. Raya palms his well struck shot over the bar.
63 min: Ayew is back in action. Swansea have about half an hour to revive their hopes of reaching the Championship playoff final…
60 min: Ayew needs treatment after Marcondes accidentally stands on his wrist after the Ghanaian fell under a challenge.
57 min: Swansea have certainly not given up. They’re probing for ways back into this game. But Brentford continue to be the sharper and snappier side, denying any opening and winning the ball back regularly.
54 min: Pinnock meets the freekick coming in from the right but he heads over from 12 yards.
53 min: Cabango gets a deserved yellow card for cleaning out Watkins near the touchline. Commentating on Sky Sports, Mick McCarthy says that Ollie Watkins has only one weakness. “He might be a bit too good looking. If you were playing against him you might have do give a him a good clip.” Never change, Mick!
51 min: Brentford are relentless. They’re chasing everything, denying Swansea any time on the ball. The Swans are being overwhelmed.
48 min: So much for Swansea’s two substitutions changing the course of this game. Brentford didn’t even get them a chance to get into it before landing another blow. Swansea are reeling. Will Brentford finish them off, or can the Swans possibly steady themselves and fight back?
GOAL! Brentford 3-0 Swansea (Mbeumo 47) (agg: 3-1)
What a start to the second half by Brentford! And what a super goal! After some dainty work wide on the left, Jensen fed Henry, who pinged over a delicious cross. Mbeumo provided a worthy finish, leaning back and guiding a crisp volley into the net from 10 yards.
46 min: Swansea substitutions: Cabango and Dhanda on, Van der Hoorn and Fulton off.
Half-time: Brentford 2-0 Swansea (agg: 2-1)
Brentford started brilliantly, overturning their first-leg deficit in a jiffy. For a while they looked set to blow Swansea apart but the Welsh side rallied in the final 15 minutes of the half and began pass the ball around confidently in the opposing half. Swansea, then, will be reasonably satisfied to be still very much in this tie. Both team look capable of scoring. This is far from over.
42 min: A Swansea move breaks down … and suddenly Brentford are bearing down on goal! Benrahma feeds Mbeumo, who runs into the right-hand side of the box … Van der Hoorn closes in on him … and the striker fails to get off a shot, instead confusing himself as he decides whether to square the ball or open fire. He ends up running the ball out of play. That was plod.
39 min: Brewster and Ayew have looked bright for Swansea but not in the right areas: they’re both having to come deep to try to create something for themselves or each other; they’re not getting enough help from teammates.
37 min: After smart work by Watkins, Benrahma embarks on another teasing run. HE drives down the left and then veers in-field before unleashing a fierce shot. It dips, but not enough to hit the target.
35 min: An encouraging spell from Swansea. Without really threatening, they played some dinky stuff in Brentford territory.
33 min: Ayew dribbles past two players wide on the right, but Henry reuses to be the third. The left-back takes the ball and clears.
32 min: Gallagher caught late by Jensen in midfield, giving Swansea a freekick and some respite.
30 min: Brentford are playing some lovely stuff. Their moving in a whirl and passing slickly. They were on the brink of another breakthrough just now until the final ball ruined some wonderful buildup play.
27 min: Watkins makes another clever run and is picked out by a long pass from deep. Watkins then pokes the ball on to Benrahma, coming on from the left. The forward’s shot is headed well wide until it ricochets off a defender into the arms of the keeper.
Drinks break. And it was hard earned. It’s been a rip-roaring first quarter.
22 min: Ayew flips the ball wide to Dalsgaard and spins to run into the box in anticipation of a cross. Dalsgaard aims for Bidwell at the back post, but it doesn’t reach him.
19 min: Raya dives low to his left to make an excellent one-handed save from Gallagher. Then Brentford race down the other end. Benrahma cuts in-field from the left and cracks a low right-footed shot … off the post! A close shave at either end within a matter of 40 seconds!
17 min: Grimes boots the ball downfield after a corner by Brentford momentarily sparks mayhem in the Swansea box. Brentford look minded to finish this tie in the first half.
GOAL! Brentford 2-0 Swansea (Marcondes 15) (agg: 2-1)
Brentford strike again! They’ve overturned the first leg deficit! Swansea are on the ropes. Marcondes darted into the box to get on the end of a well aimed cross from Benrahma and was left totally free to head into the net from 10 yards.
15 min: Watkins’ goal has done Brentford a power of good. They’re pinging the ball around with extra pizzazz now. They smell blood.
14 min: Jensen’s cross is blocked by Ayew’s arm. Freekick to Brentford in a useful crossing position on the left. Actually, Benrahma thinks a shot is on … and he fizzes a curler several yards over the bar.
GOAL! Brentford 1-0 Swansea (Watkins 11) (agg: 1-1)
What a counter-attack from the corner! Raya caught the corner and then threw the ball out quickly to Jensen, who spotted Watkins run and quickly played him in. The striker kept his cool as he raced towards the box and then placed a precise low shot past Mulder. It’s up for grabs now!
11 min: Swansea freekick near the right-hand corner flag. It’s curled towards the back post. Raya leaps to claim.
10 min: Dalsgaard booked for thoughtless tackle from behind in opposing territory. He was never going to get the ball and deserves his yellow.
8 min: Three Brentford players position themselves around the keeper as they await Jensen’s corner. But Jansson blocks Bidwell to relieve the pressure on the visitors by giving them a freekick.
7 min: After a ropey clearance by Mulder, Brentford have a throw-in near the corner flag. Dalsgaard chucks in a long one. It’s headed behind by Guehi for a corner.
5 min: Excellent tackle by Van der Hoorn near mid-way to stop Benrahma in his tracks.
4 min: Marcondes has a pop fro 30 yards. The ball swerves all over the place so Mulder decides to take no chances and punches it to safety.
3 min: Norgaard tracks back to rob the ball off Brewster as he forward began to make his way to within shooting range.
2 min: No sign of Swansea sitting on their lead. They’re started in enterprising fashion. The managers’ promises of an open game looks like it’s going to be fulfilled.
1 min: Swansea kick off. One of these teams are on their way to the playoff final!
The teams enter the arena to a rousing welcome from the stadium announcer, who’s undeterred by the lack of spectators. The Bees are in their usual red and white stripes with black shorts. Swansea are also in stripes – black and turquoise – with turquoise shorts and socks.
“I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know many of the names on the team sheets but I’m pretty sure all the players on both sides know what they’re doing,” reveals Simon McMahon with the sort of intricate analysis that could earn him a job at Griffin Park, once it’s demolished and turned into houses. “May the best team win. On closer inspection I did, however, notice that Swansea have a Brewster and a Van Der Hoorn in their starting XI. Now, as any Dundee United fan will tell you, Craig Brewster scored the winner when United won the Scottish Cup for the first time in their history in 1994, and Freddy Van der Hoorn was at the club then too, though didn’t play in the final. Any Swansea fans know if either of their current first team namesakes are related?” The Brewster in action today is 20-year-old Rhian Brewster, whom Liverpool fans will tell you is on loan from Anfield and a very promising attacking talent. I don’t think he’s related to Craig but am not sure. Mike van der Hoorn is a defender and I know even less about his family tree.
Thomas Frank’s preview
“We need to win. Of course we will attack. We are playing against a very good side that gave us a very good game three days ago. I’m pretty sure Steve is coming to attack too. So we will see a very open match. If we can win it by two in normal time, then great. If not, we are prepared to go to extra-time and penalties if needed.” He concludes with a prophesy: “I’m pretty sure that one of the BMW is going to score tonight.”
Steve Cooper’s pre-match thoughts
“We’re going to set up normally. It’s difficult to play for a draw. We have a vision for how we want the game to go: we want to score goals and we want to keep a clean sheet. I really believe in the players; I think we can win every game we play … I thought the first leg was a very good game with both teams playing attacking football with good tactical ideas. I think this will be the same. The game is in the balance. We have an advantage from the first game but its only an advantage if we use it well.”
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Jensen, Norgaard, Marcondes; Benrahma, Watkins, Mbeumo
Subs: Canos, Daniels, Da Silva, Dervisoglu, Fosu, Jeanvier, Valencia, Zamburek, Rasmussen
Swansea: Mulder; Naughton, Van der Horn, Guehi; Roberts, Fulton, Grimes, Bidwell; Gallagher; Brewster, Ayew
Subs: Cabango, Celina, Cullen, Dyer, Dhanda, Garrick, Gould, Kalula, Rushesha
Referee: C Kavanagh
Hello. One hundred and sixteen years ago Griffin Park staged its first competitive match, a 1-1 draw between Brentford and Plymouth Argyle in the Western League. Today the dear old ground hosts its last game and if things go as the home side hope, then Brentford will be a step closer to the Premier League. So today is about a farewell and a potential happy return for a club who have been estranged from the top-flight since 1947. But Swansea want to get back there, too, and they have the advantage of a 1-0 lead from the first leg thanks to André Ayew’s goal and Rico Henry’s sending off. The red card has been rescinded but it’s up to Brentford to overturn the score.
Brentford certainly have the firepower to do it. They were the highest scorers in the Championship thanks mainly to their celebrated “BMW” strikeforce (Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins). But no member of that trio has scored in their last three matches, all of which Brentford lost, just as promotion seemed theirs for the taking. And if you want to talk about form, let’s also mention Brentford’s ominous playoff record: they’ve been in playoffs eight times in various divisions and never emerged with promotion.
Swansea, meanwhile, took this route to the Premier League as recently as 2011 and, to get back to more relevant times, have hit form at just the right time, sneaking into the playoff places thanks to a 4-1 away victory on the final day of the regular season (and a Nottingham Forest collapse), which they followed up with that 1-0 first-leg win. We have ourselves a proper showdown, folks. Let’s be having you!