Joe Bryan won’t be forgetting yesterday’s play-off final at Wembley in a long time. He scored his first-ever career brace to send Fulham into the Premier League.
After a drab first 90 minutes of action, the game went into extra time as both sides were evenly matched throughout normal time. The forwards from both sides huffed and puffed but all to no avail. Quite remarkable that the three goals scored on the day were all scored by defenders. Henrik Dalsgaard halved Fulham’s two-goal lead given to them by Joe Bryan’s double.
The Fulham left-back opened the scoring deep into the first half of extra time. A cheeky freekick which caught David Raya unaware established a lead for Scott Parker’s men. The win was sealed three minutes from time when Bryan exchanged passes with Mitrovic before finishing with his right foot underneath Raya. There was still time for Dalsgaard to pull one back but it was too late for the Bees who will have to do it all over if they are to return to the top flight of English football.
Brentford suffer play-off heartbreak once again
Prior to yesterday’s game, Brentford had failed to progress from eight previous play-off attempts. Lightening however struck as the familiar story unfolded once again. The Bees currently possess the worst playoff record of any side in English football. This was a situation they might have avoided if they had been more clinical in front of goal against Barnsley in the final game of the regular season. Too late for redemption now as they are headed back into the Championship ahead of next season.
Fulham continue impressive play-off final record
The Cottagers also secured promotion into the Premier League two years ago via the play-offs, defeating Aston Villa on that occasion. Mitrovic, Kamara, Ream, Cairney, Odoi, Christie all featured that day too so Fulham went into yesterday’s game with loads of experience in the side. Ultimately, it proved useful for them as they secured their second play-off promotion to the Premier League in three years, joining Leicester City to become just the second team to do so.
What next for Brentford?
After yet another play-off defeat, Brentford will now be faced with the challenge of keeping its best players in order to aid their promotion next year. Ollie Watkins impressed throughout the tournament and will surely be eyed by some of the bigger clubs. Despite an off-day at the final, Said Benrahma remains Brentford’s best player and won’t be short of suitors either. If Brentford manages somehow to keep these guys, then it shouldn’t be long before we see them back in the Premier League for the first time ever in their 131-year history.