Brentford 1 (Toney 71) Wolves 2 (Moutinho 48, Neves 79)
Wolves continued their stunning start to 2022 as Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves’ strikes earnt the side all three points in a game which ended almost 150 minutes after it began.
In a first visit to the Brentford Community Stadium, Wolves claimed the three points, as the side made it four wins from four to start the new year, in a dramatic game which was not devoid of incident.
Two length stoppages in the first-half saw almost 30 minutes of time added on, before the game came to life in the second-half as Moutinho and Neves both struck from the edge of the penalty box, either side of an Ivan Toney effort which would have earned a point for Brentford, moments after a red card for Toti Gomes was rescinded after going to VAR.
Adama Traore thought he had made it three goals in three consecutive matches for Wolves, but his powerful drive in added time was overturned for offside.
Bruno Lage made two changes from the side which began the previous weekend’s victory over Southampton, as Fabio Silva replaced the injured Raul Jimenez and Ruben Neves made it a three-man midfield as Francisco Trincao dropped to the bench.
The first-half was quite an eventful affair, despite not much goalmouth action on the pitch, with the whistle finally being blown 27 minutes after it should have been due to two lengthy stoppages.
Firstly, Brentford saw Rico Henry and Mathias Jensen have to be taken from the pitch on 21 minutes when the pair clashed heads when they attempted to cut out a long ball from Jose Sa, with the keeper looking for Silva.
Play only resumed for less than 10 minutes until we saw a break in play due to an unofficial drone flying over the stadium. Due to Premier League regulations, the players had to be taken off the pitch and back into the stands before the drone was eventually removed 15 minutes later and play could resume.
The actual 45 minutes of football on the pitch was quite unremarkable, with neither team truly testing their opposite goalkeepers. Wolves were limited to pot shots from far out, with Nelson Semedo and Silva having chances that didn’t trouble Jonas Lossl in the Brentford goal.
At the other end of the pitch, Sa had very little to do, with Wolves defending staunchly and trying to catch the hosts out on the counter, with the defence only coming under pressure from Ethan Pinnock long throws, which were headed clear without the need for the goalkeeper’s attention.
Silva had the best opportunity of the half when he was played in over the top of the Brentford defence, before chesting the ball down and firing wide, while Bryan Mbeumo could only find the Wolves wall when the hosts were rewarded a free-kick late in the half.
Half-time | Brentford 0-0 Wolves
The second-half burst into life straight from the off, as Wolves took the lead minutes after the break. Semedo played a clever one-two with Moutinho, who curled an unbelievable effort with the outside of his boot into the back of the net.
Both sides were posing much more of a threat in the second period, and it appeared that Wolves’ afternoon was going to turn on its head when Gomes was shown a red card for a lunge midway inside his own half.
But referee Peter Bankes was advised to look at the pitchside screen and overturned the decision, showing the defender a yellow card instead.
However, Brentford did make Wolves pay for the foul, as the resulting free-kick found its way to Toney at the far post, and he struck a sweet volleyed effort beyond the reach of Sa.
The hosts’ lead didn’t last long, with Neves putting Wolves back in front just seven minutes later following a swift team move. Daniel Podence played Semedo between the Brentford defence, and his cut across goal found Ait-Nouri.
The wing-back cut inside to Moutinho, who in turn laid the ball to Neves to fire a stunning low drive into the bottom corner of the net.
Wolves were hoping to hang on as the game entered seven added minutes but could have further extended their lead through substitute Traore. The winger was found by a defence splitting pass from Neves and having taken a touch, he smashed a shot past Lossl. However, Wolves’ joy was short-lived, as VAR overturned the goal due to offside.
The visitors were doing everything they could to see the game out, and at 5.28pm, almost two-and-a-half hours after the game began, the victory was secured.
Full-time | Brentford 1-2 Wolves
Brentford | Lossl, Canos, Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock, Jensen (Baptiste 27, Forss 79), Norgaard, Janelt, Henry (Roerslev 26, Wissa 59), Mbeumo, Toney.
Unused subs | Fernandez, Ghoddos, Bidstrup, Sorensen, Stevens.
Wolves | Sa, Semedo, Kilman, Coady, Gomes, Ait-Nouri, Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Podence (Trincao 90), Silva (Traore 75).
Unused subs | Ruddy, Hoever, Marcal, Giles, Cundle, Jordao, Chiquinho.
Referee | Peter Bankes