Brentford powered to a 5-0 victory against Preston
DEAN SMITH believes Brentford can get even better despite seeing his side cruise to victory over Preston and move up to fifth.
A Scott Hogan hat-trick, a captain’s contribution by Harlee Dean and a Chris Humphrey own-goal condemned the visitors to their heaviest defeat under Simon Grayson.
The Bees however, are unbeaten in eight home league games and have picked up impressive results on the road at Brighton and Aston Villa recently too.
“I enjoyed the result and the last 16 minutes, but before that I thought we were actually quite average. I didn’t think we started both halves very well at all,” said Smith.
“We probably looked a little bit safe in the first half, on the ball. You see the last 16 or 17 minutes we played a lot quicker with some good one-touch football.
“Scotty’s hat-trick goal was fantastic goal, great play.
“At 0-0 and 1-0 it was very tight and we’re thankful to Daniel Bentley for a great save at the start of the second half because saves and goals change games.
“The second goal was the important one for us today. We relaxed a little bit after that.”
Preston carved out the first chance of the game 15 minutes in. Callum Robinson produced some good play down the left and picked out Jordan Hugill with a diagonal but Bentley smothered.
Just as North End were looking comfortable however, Hogan was slipped through by Romaine Sawyers and finished low into the bottom right-hand corner to give Brentford the lead with 34 minutes on the clock.
Grayson’s men threatened an equaliser two minutes after the break when Eoin Doyle met Aiden McGeady’s cross on the half-volley but Bentley pulled off a stunning save.
They found themselves two behind after 74 minutes, when Hogan met a corner at the back post and nodded down for skipper Dean to stab home from close range.
Preston’s Simon Makienok kicked fresh air when in front of goal six minutes later, before Hogan latched onto a poor Daniel Johnson header, rounded Anders Lindegaard and slammed home for Brentford’s third.
Within two minutes, the Bees added a fourth when Humphrey turned a Josh Clarke cross into his own net; the result of poor communication in the Preston backline.
The rout was complete less than 60 seconds later, as Hogan finished off some superb one-touch interplay with a powerful left-foot finish high into the net.
Grayson reproached his players for not taking responsibility, and Preston now languish in 20th with only six points from eight games.
He said: “A lack of responsibility right the way through the team has cost us. At 74 minutes, you never saw that game coming.
“A player doesn’t take responsibility from a corner, they get the second, and then from then on it was a kamikaze performance from the players.
“You’ve got to play with your head as well as your heart and you’ve got to make sure you stay in games. Even at 2-0 we had a chance to get back into it.
“We’re throwing bodies forward when we didn’t need to, we’re down to 10 men. Sometimes you’ve got to accept that you’re going to lose but lose in a manner that doesn’t affect you.”
SKIP TO IT: Captain Harlee Dean wheels away after scoring Brentford’s second while, inset, Scott Hogan gets the third
STAR MAN SCOTT HOGAN Brentford