Two goals either side of half-time at Griffin Park from the head of Marcello Trotta and a composed finish from Adam Forshaw condemned Crewe to their first defeat in three games. Further goals from George Saville and two from our former forward Clayton Donaldson in the second half well and truly put the Railwaymen completely out of sight in the capital as we collapsed in a glut of Brentford goals.
Before Trotta had reacted quickest to powerfully head home a clearance following a free-kick a couple of minutes before the interval, Crewe had defended reasonably well and had survived an early glaring miss from Trotta to be very much in the game. The two goals either side of the half time break, seemed to deflate any confidence we had and for a 20-minute period we couldn’t contain Uwe Rosler’s promotion hopefuls at all.
The home side doubled their advantage barely a minute into the second half when Forshaw was allowed to waltz into our penalty area and calmly slot his shot past Martin.
Our former forward Clayton Donaldson should have scored to make it 3-0 after a shot from Jonathan Douglas had hit the post and fell invitingly at his feet, but he could only lift his shot over the top of the crossbar. He would certainly make up for it though, with the fourth goal after he had raced in to take a chance on a lifted ball from Jonathan Douglas. He simply waltzed in, flicked the ball over Alan Martin to tap home. He would score a second too after being put clear by substitute Farid El Alagui.
Just before Donaldson’s first goal against his former club, George Saville had curled home a killer third goal after he had tricked his way past George Evans on the edge of the box.
Crewe Alexandra boss Steve Davis made one change to the side that drew 1-1 at Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup. Midfielder Bradden Inman returned to the starting line-up for Vadaine Oliver with the tactical switch seeing Chuks Aneke moving into a more forward role.
Harry Davis captained the Railwaymen for the first time this season ahead of Adam Dugdale and club captain Abdul Osman who again had to settle for a place on the substitutes’ bench.
Both sides settled into an early passing rhythm with Crewe trying to exploit the pace and runs of wide men Byron Moore and Max Clayton.
Adam Dugdale conceded a dangerously positioned free-kick after pulling Marcello Totta back, as he threatened to make inroads into the Crewe penalty area. Thankfully, the compact wall stood firm as Adam Forshaw hit his first shot into it and Alan Martin was well behind his follow up effort.
George Evans was booked after just nine minutes after letting a throw-in roll across his body and with ball escaping away from him, he clattered into Forshaw. It was an obvious caution and Evans had to tread carefully.
Crewe had been defending their box reasonably well but after a through ball from Jonathan Douglas had found Kadeem Harris, his forceful run was halted by a stretched out leg by Harry Davis, but the ball squeezed out invitingly towards Trotta. The Brentford striker opened his body up from no more than seven yards out but leaned back to sent his shot well over the crossbar. The same player then stole in behind Harry Davis from an acute angle couldn’t lob the advancing Martin.
Brentford were certainly beginning to apply some concerted pressure inside the Crewe half of the field and when in possession but on the break we had a couple of good opportunities to feed the ball into Clayton but over hit the passes at the crucial moment.
Forshaw collected a bouncing ball to shoot a yard or so over Martin’s crossbar before Davis read a situation perfectly to intercept a Forshaw pass aiming to pick out the run of Donaldson. Moore sprung into life on 25 minutes with a dazzling, burst of a run but his shot took a deflection to spin away for a corner.
Brentford’s attack minded full-back Jake Bidwell produced a fine cross to pick out the run of midfielder George Saville but he couldn’t quite direct his header on target to trouble Martin.
Crewe continued to get into some promising positions in the final third but it was just that final ball into the in-coming Clayton and Moore that was truly lacking.
Martin was called into serious action on 35 minutes though and he produced a fine one handed save to push away a header from Trotta after the cross had come in from Forshaw via a free-kick.
Another decent move from the Alex found Moore in space down the right and after Aneke and Clayton had tried to get a grip of possession inside a crowded box, the ball fell to Inman, but a little off balance, he couldn’t guide his curling shot into the corner of the net.
Two minutes later, Crewe finally fell behind. A free-kick from Forshaw was initially headed out of the box by Harry Davis, but an alert Trotta raced onto it to powerfully head past Martin. It was some header to beat the Crewe goalkeeper from the edge of the penalty area and his reaction time had given him the change to get to the loose ball first. It was a poor goal to concede though from a Crewe perspective but Trotta deserved great credit for his inventiveness.
The supporters had barely taken their seats for the second half before Forshaw nipped around Evans and Dugdale and calmly passed it beyond Martin. From defending well and looking reasonably comfortable, the Alex found themselves 2-0 down at Griffin Park. It signalled a dramatic collapse.
Brentford boss Uwe Rosler made the first change of the afternoon with Will Gregg replacing Kadeem Harris and soon after it really should have been 3-0. Douglas was rather unfortunate to see his drive take a deflection and smack the post but our former forward Donaldson should really have converted the rebound from close range. You would have backed Donaldson to have scored from such an easy chance but it was a poor miss by his high standards.
Trotta continued to be a handful and a low cross nearly found Donaldson coming in at the far post.
The points were sealed just before the hour mark with another well taken finish. George Saville tricked his way past Evans to curl his shot beyond Martin, although the Crewe goalkeeper may have got his fingertips to it.
Minutes later, Jake Bidwell struck a free-kick that Martin had read clearly to move across and make a reasonably comfortable save.
Crewe were finding it increasing difficult to contain a Brentford side, who had seemed to step up a gear following the half-time break. It seemed to be wave after wave of attack from the Bees and the fourth goal wasn’t long in coming.
On 62 minutes, the Alex defence were caught static as Douglas lifted the ball over a collection of bodies and completely unopposed Donaldson raced into yards of space to lift the ball over Martin and tap home. Crewe must have been waiting for a flag that never came.
Steve Davis made a double change with Aneke and Evans making way for Oliver and young Nolan. Oliver’s first touch saw him head into the gloves of Martin.
Brentford’s substitute Farid El Alagui, who had replaced Trotta, created the fifth goal with his first contribution. He stole possession from Grant and fed Donaldson who raced away to slot past Martin for his second goal of the afternoon. He didn’t over celebrate again much to his credit.
With frustration beginning to take hold, Moore was booked for kicking the ball away before the impressive Forshaw was handed a rest for Jake Reeves.
Crewe’s best chance of the entire game saw Oliver go close again to applying a decisive touch inside the six-yard box, but the covering Alan McCormack did superbly to get it off the line.
Our final change of the afternoon saw Osman replace Inman. Crewe needed the whistle with Grigg trying his luck to try and get on the score-sheet but Martin dived to his right to make the save. Crewe also survived a late appeal for a penalty for handball but it would have been harsh.