BEES COULD YET STING TOP TWO
Brentford boss eyes automatic promotion
MARK WARBURTON has urged Brentford to make a push for automatic promotion after seeing feeble Fulham crumble at Craven Cottage on Good Friday.
There were panicky moments for Brentford, particularly when Ross McCormack’s second-half penalty gave Fulham life after they had fallen behind to a Stuart Dallas double.
And it was only in injury time that Alan Judge and Jota sealed the win for the visitors.
But with just six games to go Warburton insists his side should not give up hope of reaching the top two after handing out a harsh lesson to their lowly neighbours.
“There are 18 points left to play for now and we’re looking and thinking where would 87 points take you now? If no team puts a run together, 85 points might be enough for the top two,” said the Bees boss.
“Even if they do, due to the nature of this division and the fixtures coming up, it means that other teams will have to drop points, so if we were to win our remaining games, we’d go up.
“However, the way the Championship has been this season, we could also lose all six games, so we have to be wary of that.
“We have to focus solely on Brentford, there’s no point in thinking about what’s happening around you. The players have six games to do themselves justice, because they deserve to be where they are.”
Alexander Kacaniklic had the first chance of the game, turning both Moses Odubajo and Harlee Dean, but his effort from a narrow angle was saved superbly by David Button.
Brentford only mustered their first shot on target in the 20th minute when Dallas’s rasping drive from the edge of the box was well saved by Marcus Bettinelli.
Four minutes later, Dallas picked the ball up from the exact same position and hit a similar drive. This time, Bettinelli was stranded as the ball drifted into his bottom left-hand corner.
Fulham responded well, but Seko Fofana was denied a 38thminute equaliser by Dean’s goal-line clearance. Just before the hour, Dallas let fly from the same position he scored his first goal and the ball flew into the net once more.
Andre Gray then missed an open goal that would have put the game to bed and Fulham responded immediately. McCormack sending Button the wrong way from the spot after James Husband was fouled in the box.
Fulham probed, but failed to find a leveller despite the chances created, much to the annoyance of boss Kit Symons who keeps seeing his side make the same mistakes.
“It’s a bit of a recurring theme that’s become a little frustrating. We’re playing the football, creating the chances, but then not making it count,” he said.
“At the end of the game, 4-1 looks like a hammering, but the fact is that it wasn’t. I thought the boys put in a great shift, but we let ourselves down by not taking the chances we created.”
He certainly had a point, as Brentford were under pressure before being rescued by two second-half stoppage time goals.
First, it was Judge’s stunning free-kick, then Jota’s sweetlystruck volley that made the 6,000 travelling fans chant: “We are going up!” in unison.
Fulham, meanwhile, were booed off and the defeat means they have been dragged back into a fight for their survival.
“We just lost our local derby and people were frustrated, especially given the situation we were in. It’s part of football, we understand that,” Symons added.
“We’re not out of it, with Millwall winning it’s still open and we know we have to go and do the job ourselves.”
FOURSOME: Brentford’s Jota celebrates his late strike that capped a convincing win
OFF THE MARK: Stuart Dallas gets the ball rolling with Brentford’s first goal