Westbrooke and Mepham strike in narrow defeat
Brentford B lost 3-2 to Manchester City at The Etihad Campus this afternoon. B Team captain Zain Westbrooke and Chris Mepham scored the goals as The Bees suffered a narrow defeat in the North West.
The starting lineup showed four changes from the United States match last weekend. Dominic Kurasik was in goal, while Ilias Chatzitheodoridis replaced Tom Field at left-back. After his double at Jersey Road, Jan Novak was also recalled to the eleven.
The opening 20 minutes were close as neither team did much to threaten the opposition goal. When the game finally got going, it was City who could have taken the lead. Kurasik had to be alert to tip a deflected shot over the crossbar as it clipped a Brentford player on the way through his penalty area.
Four minutes later, Brentford could have had th lead themselves. A deep cross from the left was met by Herson Alves, who headed the ball down for Novak to volley a few feet over the bar from close range.
Not long after that, the hosts hit the post. Working the ball across the box, they caused chaos in Brentford's back line. Kurasik came out but didn't reach the pass in time, allowing City a free shot at the target. They promptly wasted the opportunity, clipping the left post of an empty net.
Kurasik made a strong save to deny the home side with 42 minutes gone. Breaking down the centre, City used a three on two to work some space on the left. Sprinting out to meet the winger, Kurasik saved the shot with his feet.
From this, The Bees countered. Chatzitheodoridis played the ball inside before collecting the second pass to race forward at goal. He cut to the right and shot at goal but it was caught by the goalkeeper.
With just a minute to go until half time, the home side took the lead. A quick break started when a long pass, which looked incredibly close to being offside, caught Brentford out at the back. The ball was squared across the box and somehow the striker found among the defenders to sneak a shot into the bottom corner.
After the break, City got their second reasonably quickly. Another counter attack saw City on the front foot, this time Brentford had bodies back. It didn't matter, as the quality of the shot from distance was enough to see the ball find the very bottom right corner of the net. 2-0.
On the hour mark, Brentford had a goal back. Lukas Talbro played Justin Shaibu in behind the defence and he showed good strength to hold the ball away from his marker. A neat pass laid it back to Westbrooke on the right edge of the box, who needed one touch to get it out of his feet before curling it into the top left corner of the net.
City didn't let this setback halt their momentum and were back into a two-goal lead quickly. Another quality strike from distance found the bottom corner in a similar fashion to their second.
73 minutes in, Brentford's trialist was played in across the box but saw his low shot saved by the keeper. At the other end, Kurasik was down low to block a shot from City to keep his team in with a chance.
The back four in front of him were also putting themselves in the way of further chances from their opponents. Mepham then Chatzitheodoridis, then Mepham again blocked shots from close range as the minutes ticked by.
Brentford had to wait until the 88th minute to get their second. Westbrooke sent in a corner, won by Shaibu on the counter attack, and Mepham headed home at the far post. His powerful nod was sent back across into the opposite corner of the net.
Deep into stoppage time, Brentford could have rescued a draw. Shaibu looked up on the break and slid the ball right across the box to substitute Marc Rio at the far post. Rio hit his shot first time but sent it narrowly wide of the left post.
The final whistle brought an end to a tight encounter, Kevin O'Connor's side left frustrated by a match that could have gone either way. The B Team face Manchester City at Griffin Park on Monday 15 May, with free entry for spectators, giving the side a chance to reverse today's result.
Brentford B: Dominic Kurasik; Lukas Talbro, Chris Mepham, Jarvis Edobor, Ilias Chatzitheodoridis; Zain Westbrooke (c), Trialist Z, Raphael Assibey-Mensah (sub Marc Rio 81 mins); Jan Novak (sub Luke Dunn 78 mins), Justin Shaibu, Herson Alves