Ivan Toney continues to fight distractions to keep Brentford rolling
Ivan Toney was on target again to give Brentford’s slim chances of securing a place in Europe a boost following a 2-0 Premier League win at struggling Southampton.
The Bees had a 12-match unbeaten run that bolstered the aspirations broken by a 1-0 defeat at Everton but bounced back on a wet day on the south coast.
Toney poked the ball into the net from a corner for his 16th goal of the season in a game with few clear-cut chances, before Yoane Wissa wrapped up all three points with a second in second-half stoppage time.
The result ensures Saints remain rooted to the foot of the table, despite a recent improvement in fortunes including a draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Brentford started the brighter of the two sides, forcing Gavin Bazunu into action to deny Bryan Mbeumo, with the hosts also struggling to create space going forwards.
It was the visitors who took the lead after a cagey opening half-hour, capitalising from a free-kick, with Toney in the right place at the far post to tap the ball home following a headed flick-on from Christian Norgaard.
The forward rewarded the faith of his manager Thomas Frank, who ahead of the game said Toney was capable of partnering Harry Kane for England.
However, questions had been raised over whether he should still be allowed to take the field as Toney is still waiting for a Football Association verdict after being charged with 262 breaches of FA gambling rules, with a lengthy suspension possible.
Carlos Alcaraz tried his luck from distance as Southampton tried to level the match, but his drive was always rising and went just over the crossbar.
The hosts almost drew level at the start of the second half, responding after being booed off by some sections of their fanbase at the break.
Kyle Walker-Peters drove into the box and cut the ball back for Che Adams, but his shot was cleared off the line by Aaron Hickey.
James Ward-Prowse also came close for Southampton from a free-kick just outside the area, but his curled strike was just wide of the target.
Tempers were frayed from both sides – with 33 fouls – before Brentford added a second in the nine minutes of stoppage time, with Wissa beating the offside trap before slotting the ball into the back of the net.