English Premier League

Brentford defeat Everton

Brentford defeat Everton. Ivan Toney coolly slotted in a 24th-minute penalty, awarded after Andros Townsend’s high challenge on Frank Onyeka was reviewed by referee Darren England on the pitch-side monitor, as Brentford ended their own five-match wait for a Premier League win.

Everton manager Rafael Benitez says he understands the frustrations of supporters but believes his side can rediscover their early season form after defeat at Brentford left them winless in seven games.

“We can understand the frustration of the fans but we are also frustrated,” Benitez said. “Today you cannot complain about the effort and intensity the players put in. We didn’t deserve to lose but the reality is the team is giving everything on the pitch and you can see the togetherness of the players,” he added.

“It is a question of confidence, missing players – but you could see what we were capable of doing at the beginning of the season. When we have everyone available, I am confident we will do it again.”

Toney’s spot-kick ignited a largely uneventful start to a meeting between the two clubs rooted to the bottom of the Premier League’s form table.

Salomon Rondon was denied an immediate equaliser by Bees goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez at close range and Abdoulaye Doucoure produced a superb tackle to thwart Vitaly Janelt at the other end moments later.

Everton dominated following half-time but Rondon – replacing the suspended Richarlison in attack – saw an attempt blocked and Iwobi shot straight at Fernandez as the visitors chased an equaliser to no avail.

Brentford climbed to 12th in the table after surviving intense late pressure at the Brentford Community Stadium, above Benitez’s side who slip to 14th. Both sides had managed to claim only a single point from their past five league matches – two fewer than any other side in the division.

Winless in their last 35 away league games when trailing at the break, a stuttering Everton side were unable to launch a second-half comeback and consequently find themselves on their longest winless run since April 2016.

Their dip in form has been stark. Benitez’s men were fifth in the table after taking 13 points from their opening six fixtures, however they have earned just two more since then.

Doucoure’s intervention to halt Janelt’s progress gave his side hope for the second half, but in the continued absence of star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin they were unable to make their superiority count after the interval.

They registered 14 shots and more than twice as many touches in their opponent’s box than Brentford, but Iwobi’s tame effort wasted the visitors’ best chance.

The defeat – their fifth in six league games – will further increase the pressure on former Liverpool manager Benitez ahead of a meeting with their bitter Merseyside rivals on Wednesday. The table paints a far rosier picture for Brentford following this result. Having put an end to a four-game losing run with a draw at Newcastle last time out, the promoted side sit seven points clear of the relegation places heading into December.

It is the Bees home form in particular which will have concerned manager Thomas Frank before kick-off, with just four points to show from six games since promotion.

Yet, despite failing to win in front of their own supporters since beating Arsenal on the opening day, Toney oozed confidence as he stepped up for his penalty – the 25-year-old taking two steps and maintaining eye contact with Pickford as he rolled the ball into the bottom left corner.

It proved to be Toney’s only touch in the Everton box all afternoon, but it was enough to put the game beyond a toothless opposition. “We hadn’t won in five. We deserved more in those games and everyone knows it but to get the win you need to defend well and we got back to top-level defending today,” Frank said.

He added: “Finally we got the home win we have been searching for and fighting very hard to get. It was a fantastic atmosphere and especially at the end, so for many reasons it was a vital win.”

Source – Sport365

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