Yoane Wissa’s first-half double inspires Brentford to emphatic win at Luton

yoane wissa’s first-half double inspires brentford to emphatic win at luton

Yoane Wissa doubles Brentford’s lead in first-half stoppage time. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images/Reuters

They still have the final stretch in front of them, but it feels like Luton are running out of runway. Yoane Wissa’s double, headers from Ethan Pinnock and Keane Lewis-Potter and a late strike from Kevin Schade gave Brentford a 5-1 win at Kenilworth Road, leaving their hosts a point from safety with four games left to play.

While Rob Edwards, the Luton manager, refused to be drawn into talk of must-win games before the match, nor did he seek to downplay the significance of this fixture to his side. His players knew that, with Everton hosting Nottingham Forest tomorrow, a win would lift them out of the relegation zone and ratchet up the pressure on their nearest rivals.

Brentford, seven points and three places above Luton at kick-off, arrived on the back of a four-match unbeaten run, their longest since the opening four games of the season. If easing their own relegation fears had reduced their sense of urgency, they didn’t let it show: they went after Luton in the early stages, pressing them into several mistakes in possession including one which allowed Mikkel Damsgaard to thread through Lewis-Potter to fire wide with only Thomas Kaminski to beat.

Luton responded with an attempted counterpunch, Alfie Doughty testing Mark Flekken from a tight angle after a whirlwind attack up the left. The game began to swing like a pendulum: Sergio Reguilón worked the space on the opposite side before curling a cross to the back post, where Lewis-Potter’s close-range header was saved by Kaminski and just about scrambled clear.

The match swung towards Brentford on the 25-minute mark, Bryan Mbeumo slipping in Wissa who scooped a dipping shot over Kaminski from distance. It made little difference to the rhythm of the first half, the hosts roaring straight back and almost forcing an equaliser after a low cross from Issa Kaboré caused chaos in the area.

The two sides went at each other like wild-eyed boxers, throwing long hooks, swarming furiously, neither able to impose control. Lewis-Potter let another good chance pass him by, lashing over from the edge of the box, but Luton continued to maraud around the visitors’ final third even if a killer ball eluded them. Just before half-time, however, Brentford tilted the match even more heavily in their favour. Having rattled the crossbar with an ambitious effort moments earlier, Mbeumo funnelled a cross into the box from the right, Reece Burke squandered two attempts to clear and Wissa poked in from five yards.

Luton threw themselves back into battle defiantly after the break, but their resolve soon crumbled. Pinnock made it three with a towering header at a corner on 62 minutes, before Lewis-Potter finally got on the scoresheet with a stooping header after another superb ball from Mbeumo. It hasn’t happened often this season but, after an initial burst of frustration, a resigned hush fell over three sides of the ground. Kristoffer Ajer, back from injury, almost made it 5-0 with another headed effort, but Kaminski made a desperate dive and managed to claw it away.

When the fifth did come with four minutes to play, it was met with little more than a shake of the head by most of the home fans. Luton’s defence went to pieces, Vitaly Janelt ghosting in behind before teeing up Schade, on as a substitute, to thunder a shot into the back of the net unchallenged. The home fans were given something to cheer when, in injury time, a poor back pass allowed Luke Berry to steal in and nab a consolation. Ironic chants of “we scored a goal” went up in the Main Stand, scattering a few smiles among the grim faces.

For Brentford, it was an excellent win which only confirms that, despite their mid-season slump, they fully deserve to remain in the Premier League for another year. For Luton, it was a disheartening result which at least provides perfect clarity. If Luton are relegated, they will go down knowing they have survived far worse as a club and should be in a strong position to bounce back. If they are to preserve their top-flight status, they will most likely need to finish the season with 12 points from a possible 12.

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