BY MAX HALL
Millwall more than matched their slick-passing hosts during a real clash of philosophies in the first half at Griffin Park, but had no answer after falling behind to a Sergi Canós goal three minutes after the break, with substitute Ollie Watkins capping a comfortable home win late on.
Millwall started brightly but had a let-off in the 19th minute, when the ball spun up off Nico Yennaris in their area and hit Shaun Hutchinson on the arm.
With referee Simon Hooper unimpressed, the visitors went down the other end from a crossfield ball by Murray Wallace that Jake Cooper headed back to the edge of the area for Mahlon Romeo’s drive to be deflected over. Hutchinson’s looping header, from Shaun Williams’ flag-kick, was then clawed over by Dan Bentley, at full stretch.
And the Lions went close again in the 26th minute, when Cooper should have got more of his head onto another dangerous delivery from Wallace wide on the left, but instead glanced it wide of the far post.
Brentford fired a warning in the 29th minute, when the influential Saïd Benrahma sent a swerving, dipping effort from the left of the D onto Ben Amos’ crossbar. And the same player had Amos scrambling across goal five minutes later, with a free-kick from 25 yards that went inches wide of the left-hand post.
The visitors started the second-half positively, with Ryan Leonard heading wide from a Jirí Skalak cross from the right, but it was the Bees who went ahead – in the 48th minute – Neal Maupay threading a beautiful ball between Cooper and Hutchinson to put Canós through on goal, and the wide man kept his cool to fire it around a horribly exposed Amos.
It was almost 2-0 four minutes later as a bouncing effort from Benrahma, to the left of goal, skipped up just in front of Maupay as the forward slid in, and there was another appeal for handball, this time against Wallace, as he completed a clearance in the 57th minute.
Jed Wallace, a 63rd-minute replacement for Skalák, was off target from two free-kicks for the Lions, but the hosts almost doubled their lead in the 72nd minute, when Henrik Dalsgaard headed goalwards and, with Amos beaten, Maupay headed against the left-hand angle of post and bar from a yard out under pressure from Romeo, who may have had the final touch.
The Bees went close again eight minutes from time, Maupay dancing around Hutchinson to the left of goal only to send a low effort narrowly wide of the right-hand post.
Another perfect sliderule ball from Maupay, five minutes from time, sent second-half substitute Watkins through with the simple task of sliding the ball under the onrushing Amos.
Millwall (4-4-2): Amos, Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, M Wallace (Bradshaw, 79), Skalák (J Wallace, 63), Leonard, Williams, Ferguson, Elliott (Morison, 57), Gregory. Subs not used: Archer (GK), Meredith, Tunnicliffe, O’Brien.
Brentford (4-1-4-1): Bentley, Dalsgaard, Konsa, Mepham, Odubajo, McEachran (Dasilva, 88), Canós (Watkins, 73), Yennaris, Sawyers, Benrahma (Judge, 82), Maupay. Subs not used: Daniels (GK), Clarke, Barbet, Carroll.
IMAGE BY BRIAN TONKS