Early goals from Ollie Watkins and Emiliano Marcondes settled Brentford nerves and laid the platform for a 3-1 victory over Swansea City on Wednesday to seal a place in the English Championship playoff final next week.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg of the semifinal, Brentford bossed the match from the start in their last ever fixture at Griffin Park, the club’s home since 1904, and added a third goal early in the second half through Bryan Mbeumo.
Rhian Brewster pulled one back for Swansea 12 minutes from time to set up a nail-biting finish, but the hosts hung on to win 3-2 on aggregate and edge closer to a top-flight return for the first time in 73 years as they prepare to move to their new Brentford Community Stadium home for the 2020-21 campaign.
Brentford await the winners of the other semifinal between Fulham and Cardiff City on Thursday (1:40 p.m. ET, stream on ESPN+ in the U.S.), with the London side leading 2-0 from the first leg.
The victory was the first in 12 playoff matches for Brentford who made the perfect start when leading scorer Watkins netted his 26th goal of the campaign, profiting from a perfect through-ball by the impressive Mathias Jensen.
The home side were ahead in the tie inside 15 minutes as Marcondes drifted between the Swansea centre backs to head a pin-point Said Benrahma cross into the net.
Benrahma also hit the post in a dominant first-half display from Thomas Frank’s side, who moved further ahead within a minute of the second half.
Jensen released left back Rico Henry into space and his cross was volleyed into the net by Mbeumo with a sublime finish.
Swansea gave themselves a chance when Pontus Jansson’s mistake allowed Brewster to chip David Raya in the home goal, but they could not find a second goal to level the tie.