LATICS 2 - 1 BRENTFORD
Two first half goals in four minutes blitzed Latics to a deserved third consecutive victory, which also saw Warren Joyce’s side climb out of the relegation places at the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table.
Sam Morsy, fresh from signing his new deal at the club earlier this week, was the architect of both goals, scoring one in sublime fashion, then seeing a second shot skewered into the net by Brentford skipper Harlee Dean.
Latics could have made it even more convincing and made light of the absence of the injured Yanic Wildschut, creating several more good chances either side of the break.
Jota’s late consolation for the visitors did make for a tense finish but Latics held on convincingly to record a great win.
There was one change for Latics, Wildschut did not recover in time from the hamstring strain which forced him to come off early against Burton, allowing for the welcome return of David Perkins who had missed the last five games, also with a hamstring injury. Marcus Browne and Ryan Tunnicliffe both featured on the bench after signing for the club in time to feature.
Latics went in at the break two goals to the good after a half in which they took time to warm up but eventually thoroughly deserved their advantage.
Callum Connolly came close to making it a home debut to remember after he was the unlikely hero at Burton last week, meeting Michael Jacobs’ 15th minute corner from the right with a good header which the referee judged had gone out of play before Daniel Bentley got finger tips to it. He had a second chance after 22 minutes, meeting Stephen Warnock’s deep cross but the angle was tight and he could only head straight at Bentley.
Morsy followed that up after 27 minutes with a mazy run which eventually saw him strike a great shot which beat Bentley but came rattling off the keeper’s left hand upright. Then came the goal and what a beauty it was.
The former Chesterfield man picked up the ball in midfield and ran through the heart of the Bees defence before unleashing a brilliant 20-yard strike, this time to Bentley’s opposite side and the ball nestled just inside the post.
Brentford were reeling and a great move followed four minutes later where neat interplay eventually saw Will Grigg find space in the box to get his shot away, Bentley saved but the ball fell to Jacobs, who was able to feed Morsy, and he engineered space to shoot across goal, the ball struck Dean and - in the Brentford skipper’s attempt to clear - he was only able to slice the ball over the line.
Grigg had a chance three minutes later, but he was inches away from meeting Warnock’s cross from the left and Jacobs also was able to find space to shoot in added time, Bentley saving.
The visitors’ best effort before the break came on the half hour mark when Tom Field met Maxime Colin’s right wing pull-back and his effort flew a yard over.
Brentford came out of the traps quickest after the break and had a chance when John Egan turned swiftly in a crowded box on 49 minutes, but the effort was wide.
However, Latics looked dangerous on the break, Dan Burn had an effort over, Grigg just failed to reach another dangerous Warnock cross and Andreas Bjelland was on hand to head away Morsy’s dangerous cross after 68 minutes.
Bjelland had seconds earlier been denied by Jakob Haugaard’s fine save, tipping away a close-range header after Lasse Vibe’s shot had been deflected for a corner.
Tunnicliffe made his return to Latics when he replaced Perkins after 74 minutes as Latics looked to see out the game.
Brentford were taking risks in pushing men forwards and almost paid the price on 80 minutes when MacDonald fed Jacobs on the left side, he cut in and placed a curling effort a yard wide of the far post.
Brentford did score when substitute Jota pounced on the ball after Haugaard wasn’t able to hold onto fellow substitute Philipp Hofmann’s shot, to set up a nervy last few minutes.
As four minutes’ added time were announced, Grigg had the chance to make things safe on the break, he was able to shoot from an angle but hit the side netting.