It was advantage Bournemouth in the first-leg of their Championship play-off semi-final as they secured a vital 1-0 win over Brentford at the Vitality Stadium.
A second half goal from the lively Arnaut Danjuma sealed the victory for the south coast side as they head to the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday for the second leg, with the edge.
Jonathan Woodgate and his Cherries side were no strangers to the threat that the Bees posed, as it was only a few weeks ago that Thomas Frank’s side picked up a 1-0 victory at the Vitality, but this time it was roles reversed.
As expected, it was a fairly open first-half in which the home side enjoyed the lion’s share of the chances in front of goal.
Though, Bournemouth got their first taste of the prolific Ivan Toney after just four minutes as the Bees nearly carved out an early opening.
Tarique Fosu showcased some neat footwork and sprayed an inch-perfect crossfield ball onto the chest of Toney who managed to worm his way into some space in between the Cherries’ centre-backs, but his touch was slightly too strong and it ran through to Begovic.
It was Bournemouth though that looked the more likely to score and they had a solid opportunity to in the 10th minute.
Sergi Canos was in the right place at the right time as he put in an important block from a David Brooks header which was directed towards the Bees goal. From the follow-up, Jefferson Lerma found some room just outside the box and flashed a volley towards goal, but it narrowly crept over from 25 yards.
Moments later, some tidy work down the right from David Brooks and Adam Smith saw the right-back pull the ball back to Phillip Billing, but he didn’t seem to connect properly with the ball and blazed his effort wide.
As the Cherries continued to pile the pressure on the Bees’ goal, they nearly opened the scoring just before the 20 minute mark with their best opportunity of the first-half.
Lloyd Kelly whipped in a fierce cross which Cherries attacker Dom Solanke met, but his effort struck off the post and bounced behind for a goal kick
As the first-half edged closer to a conclusion, Jonathan Woodgate’s side had two chances in the space of two seconds.
Steve Cook rose highest to head an effort on goal from a corner but it was well saved by Raya, David Brooks was on the follow-up but his low effort was blocked at the final moment by Toney.
With the second half not even 10 minutes old, the home side took the lead.
The Cherries sprung a counter attack from inside their own half as David Brooks picked up the ball and drove forward, he thread a perfect ball through to Arnaut Danjuma on the left, he took his time and proceeded to cooly slot the ball past Raya in the Brentford goal to secure his 16th goal of the season, and to send the Cherries faithful into raptures.
Brentford tried to rally and had got close to levelling proceedings when substitute Emi Marcondes found space in the Cherries area but Begovic raced expertly off his line and blocked Marcondes’ effort on goal.
The Bees should have equalised in the 77th minute but substitute Bryan Mbeumo missed a gilt-edge chance.
Jensen pinged a ball through to Norgaard who then whipped in a low cross from the right, but somehow Mbeumo slid it just wide on the stretch at the back post.
Bournemouth nearly extended their lead with five minutes to go, as Danjuma forced an excellent save from Raya, after he struck a free-kick from 20 yards which was heading for the top corner.