Brentford secure play-off place

Date published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 2:24

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Alex Pritchard, Jota and Andre Gray were on target to secure a 3-0 win over relegated Wigan, while results elsewhere played right into the Bees’ hands.

Having kicked off in seventh place, they needed a little help from their friends, and Reading – their neighbours from just along the M4 – obliged by beating Derby while former Brentford loanee Jordan Rhodes was on target as Blackburn sank Ipswich.

Therefore the Bees, famously denied automatic promotion from League One by Marcello Trotta’s penalty miss two seasons ago, were on the right end of events for a change to secure fifth place and keep their Barclays Premier League dreams alive.

It also keeps Mark Warburton in a job for another couple of weeks at least, with the manager leaving at the end of the season even if he guides them to back-to-back promotions. For now, Middlesbrough await in the two-legged semi-finals.

Ipswich actually took the lead before Brentford had even kicked off, but moments later news of Reading’s goal at Derby filtered through.

Warburton had insisted his players would not be distracted by what was happening elsewhere, but try telling that to Pritchard as he asked fans by the touchline for score updates.

The Bees made a edgy start, though, and Wigan had the ball in the net first after 18 minutes.

But Gaetan Bong had dribbled the ball out of play before cutting in back for Marc-Antoine Fortune to tap home.

Gray could have settled the nerves when he was played through by Pritchard but Jason Pearce got back to block the striker’s shot.

However, the breakthrough came after 25 minutes when Gray was fouled some 30 yards from goal.

Pritchard took aim and his fierce, curling effort flicked a head in the Wigan wall before crashing into the top corner of the net.

Gray had another chance before half-time from another probing Pritchard pass but could only poke his shot wide from six yards.

Yet Brentford did not have to wait long after the break to double their advantage, Moses Odubajo feeding Spanish midfielder Jota to slot the ball past Lee Nicholls and into the net.

The hosts, knowing goal difference could still be crucial, piled forward with Nicholls saving well from Alan Judge and James Tarkowski firing against the crossbar.

But it was results from further afield which suddenly mattered more with news of Blackburn and Reading goals celebrated almost as wildly as Jota’s.

Gray wrapped up the victory when he tucked in Jota’s through-ball 10 minutes, and Tarkoswski could even afford to miss a last-minute penalty.

Unlike two years ago, it did not matter as Brentford celebrated prolonging their campaign – and Warburton’s Bees career – for a bit longer yet.

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