CHERRIES’ promotion dream went up in smoke as Brentford staged a dramatic comeback to book their spot in the Championship play-off final.

Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Cherries doubled their advantage through Arnaut Danjuma in west London, only for Ivan Toney to pull one back from the penalty spot.

Disaster then struck for Cherries when Chris Mepham was sent off for hauling down Bryan Mbeumo inside the first 30 minutes.

Penned back, Cherries were unable to keep the Bees out with second-half goals from Vitaly Janelt and Marcus Forss sealing a 3-1 win on the day and putting Thomas Frank’s side through to Wembley 3-2 on aggregate.

Jonathan Woodgate was forced into one change to his XI from the success in the first leg. Captain Steve Cook missed out with the knee injury which saw him withdrawn against the Bees on Monday, meaning Mepham came in to start against his old club. Ben Pearson was passed fit to start after a minor hip problem, while Gavin Kilkenny was added to the list of substitutes.

Thomas Frank made three changes to his Bees side which lost at Vitality Stadium with Henrik Dalsgaard, Emiliano Marcondes and Bryan Mbeumo all in from the start. Christian Norgaard was forced to miss out after picking up an injury in the warm-up.

Around 4,000 Bees fans created a rocking atmosphere ahead of kick-off, but they were soon silenced as Cherries got off to a dream start.

Brentford threw all 10 outfield players forwards for a corner in the fifth minute, but when the ball broke for Cameron Carter-Vickers, he hacked clear the danger. And that in turn set Danjuma scampering away. The Dutchman controlled the ball with his head before racing away with the whole half to himself, making no mistake in tucking home when faced one-on-one with goalkeeper David Raya.

However, Cherries’ two-goal cushion in the tie was quickly wiped out.

Brentford continued to attack and earned the chance to level from the penalty spot when Emiliano Marcondes’s cross struck the outstretched arm of a sliding Lloyd Kelly.

Despite protests from Cherries, the penalty was awarded by referee Jarred Gillett and up stepped the Championship’s top scorer Toney, to slot past stand-in skipper Asmir Begovic.

Both players were subsequently booked for a scuffle after the ball struck the net as the fiery atmosphere reached fever pitch.

Bees boss Frank was stirring up the support, complaining of timewasting whenever Cherries slowed the game down.

And things went from bad to worse for the visitors just before the half hour. Mepham dallied on the ball and was dispossessed by Mbeumo, who raced through on goal. However, former Bees defender Mepham grabbed the feet of the Frenchman to stop him progressing and, as last man, was duly given his marching orders.

Woodgate instantly turned to his bench, bringing on Diego Rico with David Brooks sacrificed.

Brentford sensed blood and should have taken the lead, as Sergi Canos crossed to the back post, but Toney nodded wide.

Dalsgaard then headed on a long throw and with Begovic beaten, substitute Rico was on hand to provide a vital last-ditch clearance.

Cherries saw a strong penalty claim waved away by Gillett when the ball struck the arm of Ethan Pinnock in the box, as a chaotic half ended level on the day, with Cherries still ahead on aggregate.

Frank made an attacking switch at half-time, introducing forward Forss in place of defender Mads Roerslev.

And Brentford were level in the tie five minutes after the restart. Mathias Jensen’s free-kick was only half cleared by Pearson, allowing Janelt to run onto the loose ball and fire into the top corner, giving Begovic no chance.

Cherries were well and truly on the ropes, almost picked off again after a mix-up at the back between Rico and Carter-Vickers allowed Mbeumo in, but Brentford were unable to convert.

The visitors managed to stem the flow of Brentford’s attack, without looking too threatening themselves, but were almost carved open with 20 minutes to play when a cross from Mbeumo was met on the volley by Toney, but he swiped his effort over the bar.

Woodgate turned back to his bench for the second time with Jack Stacey brought on and Dominic Solanke withdrawn.

But back came the Bees, Marcondes lining one up from 20 yards, but Begovic got across to save.

However, the comeback was completed as the game entered its final 10 minutes. Marcondes delivered low from the left for Forss, who nipped ahead of Carter-Vickers and turned in at the near post.

Woodgate threw on Shane Long for the closing stages, but Cherries could not find a way back and are now facing up to second season in the Championship.

Cherries: Begovic; Smith (Long, 82), Carter-Vickers, Mepham, Kelly; Lerma, Pearson; Brooks (Rico, 30), Billing, Danjuma; Solanke (Stacey, 75).

Unused subs: Kilkenny, Wilshere, Riquelme, Anthony, Surridge, Travers (g/k).

Booked: Begovic, Lerma, Stacey.

Sent off: Mepham.

Brentford: Raya; Roerslev (Forss, h-t), Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock; Jensen, Janelt (Ghoddos, 64); Mbeumo (Bidstrup, 90), Marcondes, Canos (Fosu, 79); Toney.

Unused subs: Goode, Reid, Stevens, Daniels (g/k).

Booked: Toney, Jansson.

Sent off: None.

Referee: Jarred Gillett.