Brentford warmed up for their Carabao Cup quarter-final clash against Newcastle with an emphatic 3-1 win over Sky Bet Championship play-off rivals Reading.
Mathias Jensen and a Bryan Mbeumo brace gave the Bees a first-half cushion, with Sone Aluko’s first-touch goal was merely a consolation.
Both sides were missing key players through injury and suspension, but the Bees settled quickest.
They took the lead on 11 minutes when Sergi Canos cut in from the left and teased a ball into the path of Jensen, whose shot squirmed through keeper Rafael Cabral and over the line.
Reading had to wait until the 16th minute for a sniff of goal, Alfa Semedo finding a yard but sending in a tame effort that rolled into the hands of Bees keeper David Raya.
The Royals came close to levelling after 20 minutes when Ovie Ejaria’s free-kick sailed through a sea of legs only to be cleared by Canos.
And from the resulting corner former Brentford loanee Liam Moore stung the fingers of Raya.
It was only a temporary glimmer of hope for the visitors though as Brentford stretched their lead minutes later, Mbeumo curling home from the edge of the area after a defence-splitting 45-yard pass from Josh Dasilva.
Six minutes later it was three, a slick four-man move ending with Mbeumo turning sharply on the edge of the box and slotting into the bottom far corner.
Reading rallied before the break but the closest they came to finding a foothold in a one-sided first half came when former Brentford academy player Josh Laurent’s powerful drive forced a good stop from Raya.
That gave Reading hope and Raya had to be alert at his near post to keep Michael Olise’s cheeky free-kick out almost on the whistle.
Reading thought they had pulled one back just after the restart when Ejaria fired in a first-time drive but it was brilliantly tipped wide by Raya.
The Bees suffered a scare when Jensen was poleaxed by a forearm smash from Michael Morrison, but returned to the fray after five minutes of treatment.
They almost made it four just before the hour when Mbeumo played in substitute Dominic Thompson, who squeezed his shot just past the far upright.
Reading pulled one back when Olise whipped in a cross to the unmarked Aluko who headed home three minutes after coming on.
That gave the visitors hope and they enjoyed a good spell of possession without ever really testing Raya.
Former Liverpool man Ejaria cut in from the left with 10 minutes to go and fired in a rising drive which Raya did well to punch clear.
Ivan Toney almost got his customary goal minutes later but his glancing header from a Vitaly Janelt corner bounced just past the far post.
Substitute Marcus Forss fired in a long-range effort that flashed over as the Bees saw out Reading’s spirited fightback.
Tariqe Fosu came close to putting the outcome beyond doubt in the 90th minute when his weaving run ended with an angled drive that was always rising just over the angle.
Toney smashed an added-time header against the bar and Charlie Goode’s follow up was blocked as Brentford had the final say in an entertaining affair.
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