Brentford clinched promotion into the Premier League, as they beat ten-men Swansea City in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.
First-half goals from Ivan Toney and Emiliano Marcondes proved to be enough for Thomas Frank’s side, with Swansea having Jay Fulton sent-off in the second-half, for a strong challenge on Mathias Jensen.
Promotion into the top flight ends a 74-year absence from the Premier League for Brentford, and they’ll be hoping they can adjust to life amongst the best clubs in the country next season.
The Bees came into the game looking to win promotion back into the top flight for the first time in 74 years, whilst Swansea were keen to return to the Premier League relatively swiftly, having last been in the top flight in the 2017/18 season.
The Swans beat Barnsley in their play-off semi-final, whilst Thomas Frank’s side booked their spot at Wembley with a win over AFC Bournemouth on aggregate.
Swansea could count themselves fortunate that they weren’t reduced to ten men early on, when midfielder Matt Grimes fouled Sergi Canos, after overrunning the ball. The Swans captain was only shown a yellow card for his troubles, although replays later showed that he could have easily been shown a straight red card for a high challenge on the Brentford winger.
Brentford took lead after just ten minutes, as Ivan Toney kept his cool from the penalty spot, after Swansea City goalkeeper Freddie Woodman brought down Bryan Mbeumo in the penalty area, after a well-weighted through ball from Sergi Canos.
Thomas Frank’s side wasted no time in scoring their second on the day as well, as a swift counter-attacking move saw Mbeumo break upfield, before he found Mathias Jensen, with the midfielder crossing the ball to the back post, where Emiliano Marcondes fired home clinically into the bottom corner to give Woodman no chance in the Swansea goal.
Swansea looked rattled by Brentford’s fast start to the game, and almost conceded a third just minutes after Marcondes’ goal, as Toney chested the ball, before volleying the ball goalwards. His effort beat Freddie Woodman, but came crashing off the crossbar and to safety, as the score remained 2-0 to the Bees.
Steve Cooper’s side grew into the game after that though, as they looked to find a way back into the contest at Wembley. Despite controlling the majority of the possession, their first notable chance came shortly before the half-time whistle, as Andre Ayew beat Brentford goalkeeper David Raya to the ball from a Conor Hourihane free-kick, but his header could only loop onto the top of the crossbar.
Brentford went into the break two goals ahead, and knew that they were just 45 minutes away from earning promotion into the Premier League, whilst Steve Cooper will have known that his team-talk heading towards the second-half would have been the most significant of his time in charge of the club to date.
Swansea got themselves on the front foot from he first whistle in the second-half, and almost halved the deficit just two minutes into the half, as Andrew Ayew headed narrowly wide from six-yards out, after a delightful cross from the right-hand side by Connor Roberts.
Chances from then on were hard to come by for both sides, but Swansea’s chances of snatching their first goal on the day were dealt a sizeable blow after 65 minutes, as midfielder Jay Fulton was shown a straight red card for a strong challenge on Brentford’s Mathias Jensen.
Replays showed that the Swans man slipped whilst going into the challenge, although he still went in on the Danish international relatively strongly.
Ivan Toney had a good chance to net his second of the game late on, but his effort was blocked well by Swansea’s Jake Bidwell, as Brentford pushed to find their third on the day at Wembley.
Brentford held on to win 2-0 on the day, which clinched their promotion into the Premier League, with the club’s supporters delighted to see their side go one better than last season, after being beaten by Fulham in last year’s play-off final.
Swansea City are condemned to another season in the Championship though, and Steve Cooper will be hoping he can guide his side to within another chance of winning promotion into the top-flight next term.