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Jim Levack looks back at a frustrating afternoon in West London and a match that Wolves showed off their full repertoire of time wasting expertise.

For a couple of glorious minutes Wolves reminded us of the side that stormed the Championship with some of the most exquisite football that division had seen.

The prodigiously talented Reuben Neves, who broke Brentford hearts with a delicious free kick at Molineux back then, did it again… this time casually stroking home a beauty from 25 yards.

It was a moment of quality that left Brentford fans wondering why their once illustrious visitors had dragged the game past the gutter and into the sewers for the other 88 minutes.

Except it wasn’t a standard game. It was 113 minutes of the most grim, grisly and shameless gamesmanship that brought the game itself and the Premier League into disrepute.

Sure Brentford, reduced to 10 and 2-0 up, did similar in the Black Country last season with David Raya the main culprit. But at least there was football played.

This latest fixture was a farce with Wolves players feigning injury wherever they could, leaving referee Robert Madley in an invidious position.

Again, the critics will say Brentford need to learn how to break this kind of Grade A sxxxhousery down, but it ain’t easy when you can’t get any rhythm in the game. The crowd fall quiet because the product was dire, and it was a downward spiral from there.

The baffling thing is that Wolves have serious talent in their squad. In the few minutes they actually tried to play the game they looked half decent. So should we take their gameplan as a massive compliment?

Irrespective of the answer to that, I was left with a dead feeling in the pit of my stomach after this debacle. The only antidote was that few sides will be as drab and cynical as the one led by football’s answer to snooker’s ‘Boring’ Steve Davis.

A four-hour round trip to watch a physio refusing to take the quickest route off the pitch, a keeper suddenly struck down by a sniper’s bullet (conveniently while dirty Diego was getting treatment) when he hadn’t been involved for minutes, Neves repeatedly looking like he’d suffered career ending injury. Embarrassing for a great club like Wolves to have to stoop so low.

Devious Daniel Podence undergoing treatment then hopping off on one leg circus-style was the final smirk to referee Madley that they were refereeing this game – and there was nothing he could do about it but add the time on.

I tweeted Lineker and Co on MotD asking for them to highlight the time-wasting shenanigans. No interest. Newcastle and Spurs both won and Brentford-Wolves is nothing more than a contractual obligation.

But if they, and the Premier League, genuinely care about the product they need to act soon to stop keepers dropping to the floor after routine catches, players kicking the ball away (which was once a yellow card offence, perhaps still is) and flagrant dithering over goal kicks before it’s too late.

How many keepers have had two yellows for time-wasting? It’s a brave ref that breaks the mould for the good of the game, but as it stands one yellow for taking three minutes over a goal kick will always stay at one yellow.

For the first time – no second actually, as I felt the same at Villa where their players kicked the ball away even at 4-0 – I’m starting to have serious doubts about the way the game is run at the highest level.

If a Premier League official had been at the G-Tech on Saturday then surely action or at least a memo to someone senior in the organisation would have ensued.

People travel many miles, often across continents, to watch Brentford these days. Had the Wolves anti-football match been a West End show, the audience would be entitled to their money back under the Trades Descriptions Act.

The main issue here was that Wolves broke no rules. They simply did what they could to disrupt the game and were rewarded with a point. It might have been three in the minutes added on for their time-wasting.

With the ball in play for 44% of the game the Premier League must act to ensure paying customers actually get to see some football. The only solution is to move to a rugby style timer to guarantee 70 minutes of ball in play.

That way there will be no hiding place for clubs like Wolves, who stunk West London out and left Bees fans taking some solace from the “’if you can’t win, don’t lose” philosophy.

Another point towards safety, some decent football played and on another day Ivan slots or heads home, Josh’s drive flies in and the moral becomes “cheats never prosper”.

It’s just that in the Premier League they sometimes can.

Jim Levack