SMITH FUMES AT AS OWLS ROMP

Un­moved Car­val­hal says ref was right

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Dunlavy

AN­GRY Brent­ford boss Dean Smith took aim at ref­eree Scott Dun­can af­ter his side were forced to play with ten men for al­most 90 min­utes.

A bright Bees’ start was left in ru­ins when French de­fend­erYoann Bar­bet was dis­missed fol­low­ing a tangle with Gary Hooper.

Hav­ing blown for a foul with Bar­bet last man, Dun­can had no choice but to pull out the red and Wed­nes­day duly cap­i­talised, with goals from Fer­nando Forestieri, Hooper, Kieran Lee and Lu­cas Joao send­ing the Owls to within four points of se­cond place.

For Wed­nes­day boss Car­los Car­val­hal, the de­ci­sion was clear. “Hooper was through, he was fouled, it is a red card,” he said.

For Smith, how­ever, it was less clear cut. “From the po­si­tion he’s in, I don’t be­lieve he can make that de­ci­sion,” said the Bees boss.

“As far as I’m aware, no ref­eree can see through bod­ies. He’s di­rectly be­hind the in­ci­dent, 40 yards away. He’s just bro­ken into our half and the ‘foul’ hap­pened on the edge of our box. He’s guessed.

“I went in to see him and said ‘if you talk to the lines­man and he’s given it, that I can ac­cept. But you can’t make that de­ci­sion’.

“I don’t think Hooper ever had the ball un­der con­trol. He’s taken a big touch, prob­a­bly felt the pres­ence be­hind him and gone down eas­ily. By the time he hit the ground, the ball was in my keeper’s arms. It was a poor de­ci­sion.”

Had Brent­ford held out for hal­fan-hour, who knows? Bet­ter sides than Wed­nes­day have been driven to dis­trac­tion by a bel­liger­ent backs-to-the-wall job.

Sadly for Smith and his men, their re­sis­tance lasted barely five min­utes, Daniel Pudil’s de­flected cross glanced home by Forestieri.

Blood scented, Wed­nes­day put the burn­ers on, their quar­tet of mid­field tech­ni­cians rev­el­ling in the space and time af­forded by Brent­ford’s nu­mer­i­cal hand­i­cap.

Barry Ban­nan was in­stru­men­tal in a deep-ly­ing role, a pint-sized Pirlo who col­lected the ball from his back four be­fore find­ing ev­ery gap in Brent­ford’s de­pleted ar­moury.

Yet for all the slick build-up, the se­cond was lit­tle more than an old- fash­ioned hoof. Keiren West­wood lamped a goal-kick up­field, Jack O’Con­nell mis­judged the bounce and, as the ball dropped over his head, Hooper un­leashed a stu­pen­dous 20-yard half-vol­ley that seared into David But­ton’s net.

Hooper, the Cham­pi­onship’s Jan­uary player of the month, has scored ten goals in as many games and was again in­volved as Wed­nes­day made it three.

The for­mer Celtic striker – a £3m sign­ing from Nor­wich in Jan- uary – beat O’Con­nell to nod into the path of Lee, who bun­dled Har­lee Dean aside be­fore slid­ing past But­ton.

Whether it was com­pla­cency or sim­ply a bit of ten­der­ness on Valen­tine’s, Wed­nes­day’s sav­agery did re­lent.

In­deed, the re-shaped Bees could have pulled one back when hard-work­ing mid­fielder Nico Yen­naris clipped over the bar.

But with the dan­ger­ous Alan Judge stymied by im­posed de­fen-

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