Ivan Toney broke the individual scoring record for a Championship season with his 31st goal, as Brentford finished the regular campaign with a victory.
Toney, who equalled the record against Watford last week, pounced just before the hour mark when a Marcus Forss shot deflected into his path, and he rounded ex-Bees goalkeeper Daniel Bentley to slot into an empty net to beat Glenn Murray’s eight-year-old record.
Brentford dominated possession in the first half, but made few chances. However, Toney’s goal seemed to relax them and the attempts began to flow, with substitute Bryan Mbeumo doubling the lead with a brilliant second after a sweet passing move, and Sergi Canos sweeping home the third.
City, who had only won three of their previous 20 games, did force David Raya into a couple of decent saves and hit a late consolation. They didn’t hold back on their tackles – earning four yellow cards – but other than that it was another comfortable afternoon for the Bees, who are unbeaten in 12 games going into the play-offs, where they will face Bournemouth in the two-legged semi-final.
As promised last week, Thomas Frank fielded a full-strength side, with the main aims for the match to maintain the unbeaten run, for Toney to break the scoring record and to avoid any injuries or red cards.
The Bees dominated possession in the first half but carved out few chances. Forss twice came close with a shot just past the far post and another which curled just wide, but no chances fell Toney’s way. The Bees’ top scorer was, however, booked after a clash with defender Alex Scott.
In fact it was City who came closest to breaking the deadlock on the stroke of half-time, but David Raya brilliantly tipped away a Kasey Palmer shot.
Ethan Pinnock, who had taken a knock in the first half, was replaced at the interval by Mads Bech Sorensen. Toney had his first chance in the 51st minute from a pinpoint Mathias Jensen pass, but he could only fire into the side-netting from a tight angle – but his big moment arrived six minutes later.
He was substituted by Mbeumo soon afterwards, as the Bees made a raft of changes, and it was the Frenchman who made it 2-0 by driving the ball into the roof of the net after absolutely brilliant build-up play.
Canos hit the third – sweeping the ball home at the far post after Mads Roerslev’s cross just evaded Saman Ghoddos.
Louis Britton replied for the hosts, shooting through Raya’s legs after a free-kick was headed on for the first goal Brentford have conceded from open play in eight games.
But the Bees will be very pleased with their afternoon’s work and now have nine days before the first leg of their semi-final at the Vitality Stadium.
Brentford: Raya, Jansson, Norgaard, Pinnock (Sorensen 45), Roerslev, Jensen, Janelt (Bidstrup 81), Fosu (Marcondes 72), Canos, Forss (Ghoddos 65), Toney (Mbeumo 65).