Toney penalty heaps pressure on Benitez ahead of derby

Ivan Toney's 24th-minute penalty secured Brentford a first Premier League win in six games as Everton slumped to a 1-0 defeat on Super Sunday. Toney struck from the penalty spot to decide a contest st

Toney penalty heaps pressure on Benitez ahead of derby

Ivan Toney's 24th-minute penalty secured Brentford a first Premier League win in six games as Everton slumped to a 1-0 defeat on Super Sunday.

Toney struck from the penalty spot to decide a contest starved of quality after Andros Townsend was penalised for a high boot on Frank Onyeka upon VAR review. It was a sweet moment for Toney, who spoke in midweek of having not been given a fair chance under Rafael Benitez when the pair were at Newcastle in 2018.

Everton fought valiantly in search of an equaliser with Salomon Rondon missing two presentable opportunities either side of half-time, but their search for a first league win since September 25 continues, with second-placed Liverpool visiting Goodison Park on Wednesday.

Ivan Toney of Brentford celebrates after scoring their side's first goal from the penalty spot
Image: Ivan Toney celebrates after scoring Brentford's winner

The result moves Brentford above Everton into 12th place, with the Toffees slipping to 14th, six points above the relegation zone.

Ivan Toney keeps his cool to slot from 12 yards
Image: Toney keeps his cool to slot from 12 yards

Player ratings

Brentford: Fernandez (6), Goode (6), Jansson (7), Pinnock (7), Canos (6), Janelt (8), Onyeka (7), Norgaard (6), Henry (7), Mbeumo (7), Toney (7).

Subs: Wissa (n/a), Baptiste (6), Roerslev (n/a).

Everton: Pickford (6), Coleman (5), Godfrey (6), Keane (6), Digne (6), Gordon (6), Doucoure (6), Allan (6), Iwobi (6), Townsend (5), Rondon (5).

Subs: Gray (6).

>Man of the match: Vitaly Janelt.

How Bees ended sticky patch

Brentford had lost three of their previous four league meetings with Everton, with this their first such game since a 6-1 away loss in the second tier in February 1954, but neither side arrived into this encounter with any confidence.

It showed during an opening 20 minutes low on quality and goalmouth action but that changed midway through the opening period when Onyeka was quickest to react to Jordan Pickford's punch from a corner to be caught by Townsend's high boot inside the box.

Pontus Jansson had a chance in the build-up to the penalty award
Image: Pontus Jansson had a chance in the build-up to the penalty award

Roy Keane told Sky Sports: "I think it was the right decision, dangerous play. If you look at Andros' face, he knows straight away they're going to check it. It's an attacking player's tackle, and if you raise your foot in the box - it's a penalty."

Referee Darren England initially waved play on but upon consultation from VAR Jon Moss, a spot-kick was awarded and Toney kept his composure to send Pickford the wrong way.

This was the first meeting between Brentford and Everton in any competition since September 2010, in a League Cup match. Following a 1-1 draw at Griffin Park, the Bees progressed 4-3 on penalties that evening, but the visitors very nearly found an instant response when Rondon collected Lucas Digne's low cross to draw a smart save from Alvaro Fernandez.

Everton had won five of their last six Premier League games in London, as many as they had in their previous 32 visits to the capital in the competition, however they nearly fell further behind when Ethan Pinnock rose to meet Sergi Canos' corner but his header was straight at Pickford.

Andros Townsend and Frank Onyeka battle for possession
Image: Andros Townsend and Frank Onyeka battle for possession

Everton's intricate build-up play lacked punch, and they were nearly punished on the break with five minutes of the opening period remaining when Toney's cross was inadvertently headed into the path of Bryan Mbeumo by Digne but Pickford read his intentions to make a simple save down to his right.

Digne's wild free-kick from a good position summed up Everton's half, sparking a mass exodus from the away end in search of warmth, but they had a penalty appeal turned down when Charlie Goode appeared to have a chunk of Rondon's shirt moments before the break.

Everton finally exerted some pressure 10 minutes after the restart as Rondon's shot from the edge of the box was blocked by a throng of Brentford bodies in the area. Moments later, Abdoulaye Doucoure skied Seamus Coleman's cross but the ball fell kindly for Alex Iwobi to test Fernandez low to his right.

Midway through the second period, Pontus Jansson clashed with Digne as the Bees' captain expressed his anger when Everton refused to kick the ball out of play with Rico Henry down injured. It resulted in Rondon and Jansson both seeing yellow with Benitez soon turning to Demarai Gray as the Spaniard's desperation heightened.

Gray brought greater urgency as his devilish cross evaded Gordon at the far post moments after a snapshot was blocked by Pinnock, while Rondon's header from a Coleman cross was planted a yard wide. Everton continued to probe but Brentford stood firm to register a first clean sheet in eight Premier League games.

Analysis: Panic stations compound Everton's problems

Sky Sports' Ben Grounds at the Brentford Community Stadium:

"Everton arrived in west London with their troubles at defending set-pieces well documented in light of Brentford's prowess from corners and throw-ins, but, in conceding the penalty which decided a contest low on quality, the visitors' sense of panic contributed heavily to their latest demise.

"Andros Townsend has been one of Everton's most consistent performers this term, but his challenge on Frank Onyeka was never likely to go by unpunished even if referee Darren England initially waved play on. It was a panicked decision borne out of an awareness of his own team's fragility.

"Ironically, it was Jon Moss stationed as VAR when Everton were recently on the wrong end of a penalty decison in the stalemate against Tottenham, a game in which Mason Holgate also had a yellow card upgraded to a red.

"But Benitez could hardly blame the match officials here as his side's second-half resurgence ultimately fell short. There was no lack of endeavour, but until the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina and Richarlison are back available, Everton look set to remain on this downward spiral."

What's next?[2]

Brentford go to Spurs on Thursday in the Premier League at 7.30pm, while Everton host Merseyside rivals Liverpool at 8.15pm on Wednesday. Free highlights from both games will be available on the Sky Sports website, App and YouTube channel.

References

  1. ^ November 28, 2021 (twitter.com)
  2. ^ What's next? (www.skysports.com)