Brentford 2 Wigan Athletic 0

A controversial sending-off for skipper Sam Morsy rubbed salt in the wounds as Wigan Athletic were deservedly and well-beaten 2-0 at a very impressive Brentford side.

Saturday, 15th September 2018, 5:01 pm
Updated Sunday, 16th September 2018, 1:22 pm
The melee that followed Sam Morsy's collision with Yoann Barbet that saw him sent off

A controversial sending-off for skipper Sam Morsy rubbed salt in the wounds as Wigan Athletic were deservedly and well-beaten 2-0 at a very impressive Brentford side.

Morsy saw red just before the hour mark at Griffin Park after what appeared to be a clash of heads in midfield with Yoann Barbet, who got to the ball a split-second before the Egypt international.

Brentford were already one up at this point, thanks to Neal Maupay’s 24th-minute opener.

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And it was effectively game over on 63 minutes when Maupay doubled the Bees advantage, less than five minutes after Morsy’s departure.

The winning margin could and perhaps should have been even more emphatic, with Latics goalkeeper Christian Walton pulling off a string of outstanding saves to keep the home side at bay.

At the other end, Nick Powell had Wigan’s best effort on goal in the first half, a Rolls Royce of a snap-shot that Dan Bentley in the Brentford goal tipped over the bar.

Yet again, Latics return from an international break to a negative result, although boss Paul Cook will be relieved - as he admitted after the game - that his team won’t be up against a side as good as Brentford every week.

Right from the off, Dean Smith’s highly-rated charges had the bit between their teeth and were asking questions of a Latics outfit sporting one change, James Vaughan in for Will Grigg up top.

Maupay found himself clean through in the opening exchanges, holding off Chey Dunkley and firing in a low drive that forced Walton into an utterly stupendous save a point-blank range.

The ball then rebounded out towards Maupay, but Walton showed equally impressive reflexes to leap to his feet and regather, at the expense of a boot in the face for his trouble.

Wigan’s first chance for Latics saw Powell fire in an effort from nowhere, which forced a brilliant tip-over by Bentley in the Brentford goal.

From the resultant corner, Powell thought he was being held as he tried to reach Lee Evans’ delivery, but referee Darren England was unimpressed.

Powell was quickly back to his feet and, after the ball was played back in, laid it off for Vaughan, whose shot was well wide.

With Latics looking like they had a foothold in the game, they were rocked on their heels just after the midway point in the half when Maupay rifled home from close range, with Walton this time helpless.

The French striker was causing all sorts of movement for Dunkley and Cedric Kipre with his movement, and had another shot well saved by Walton, who was also able to deny Lewis Macleod from the rebound.

Brentford upped the ante and should have scored a second goal six minutes before the break, when a cross from Josh McEachran - who spent time on loan with Latics in 2013-14 under Uwe Rosler - saw Ollie Watkins somehow miss his kick from bang in front.

The rebound fell to Maupay, whose goalbound shot was superbly blocked by Reece James out to Barbet, who lashed goalwards only for the defence to scramble the ball away.

Latics managed to hold on for half-time, and actually started the second period in more positive fashion.

Vaughan was clearly taken out in the air after a long ball from the back, but Callum Connolly read the situation and looked to be in on goal.

However, with Powell racing up in support, the on-loan Everton man tried to cut back on himself, and lost the ball under his own feet - much to his dismay.

Walton was called upon again on 54 minutes when Maupay raced clean through and, after giving the goalkeeper the eyes, looked to have slotted home at the near post.

However, Walton adjusted his body in mid-air, and stuck out a left leg that diverted the ball just wide of the upright.

Wigan’s cause wasn’t helped when Morsy departed stage right on 58 minutes for a midfield collision with Barbet that immediately brought several players from both sides racing over to have their say, before the red card was brandished.

And before Latics could regroup, Brentford scored their second goal with Maupay ramming home at the second attempt, after his first shot had been scrambled off the line.

Powell and Vaughan made way for Darron Gibson and Joe Garner, with Callum McManaman joining them on the field with 10 minutes to go, the ineffective Josh Windass making way.

But it was only ever going to be damage limitation in the final quarter, with Walton denying Macleod and Brentford a third goal they undoubtedly warranted with another superb fingertip save.