The Bees battle through tough American encounter
Brentford B drew 0-0 with the United States Under-20s this morning at Jersey Road. Neither side could find a way to the net after 98 minutes in the blazing sunshine.
Kevin O'Connor, who will be in London later to receive the Sir Tom Finney Award from the EFL, included both Philipp Hofmann and Tom Field in his side. Despite the First Team presence, the match ended in stalemate.
The first half was an even encounter, both sides creating a few openings.
The opening 20 minutes passed in the blink of an eye, neither side taking the game to the other. Instead, both teams were happy to sit back and wait for their opponents to make the first move.
Brentford's best chance came soon after this tight opening. Some neat passing play from the midfield allowed The Bees to find space on the wing. A low cross was nearly turned in at the near post by Hofmann, but it was blocked by a defender and swerved inches wide of the goal.
The away side had the ball in the net shortly after, however the assistant referee had raised his flag for offside. As the American forward collected the ball he was ruled to have been behind centre-backs Chris Mepham and Jarvis Edobor before slotting the ball home.
After the restart, Brentford had the ball in the net themselves but once again the referee had blown his whistle. This time he had seen a foul on the American goalkeeper as it was swept in at the far post.
There was a stop in play after 55 minutes, Reece Cole the victim of a late challenge that required some treatment. The 19-year-old got back to his feet a few minutes later and was soon back to clear a deep cross away from his own net.
The USA almost had the breakthrough with an hour gone. First they saw a fizzing shot skip past the post, then Ellery Balcombe made a smart save to his left to deny them scoring from distance.
Five minutes later they had another clear cut chance to open the scoring. This time, it was a deep ball in met acrobatically on the volley that soared narrowly over Balcombe's crossbar.
Not long after, Herson Alves had a great chance to do damage at the other end. Zain Westbrooke slid the ball across to Reece Cole, who then played Alves in behind. The Portuguese took a touch before blasting the ball over from close range.
The US were forced into a change with 12 minutes to go. Justin Shaibu had raced in towards goal in search of a chance, getting his shot away but then colliding with the American goalkeeper. The latter was forced off, while moments later Balcombe was involved in a similar incident. Collecting the ball in mid-air, the Englishman took a knock to the face but carried on until full time.
Substitute Raphael Assibey-Mensah was back smartly to clear the ball off the line with only five regulation minutes to go. A long cross was met at the far post by a US forward, dipping over Balcombe it was Assibey-Mensah who nipped in to nod it away.
The German midfielder could have turned provider in the fifth minute of added time, crossing low for Alves. With the winger a fraction of a second away from connecting with the ball just a few yards in front of goal, it was taken off his toe by a last ditch tackle from one of the American centre-backs.
Brentford B: Ellery Balcombe; Lukas Talbro, Chris Mepham, Jarvis Edobor, Tom Field; Zain Westbrooke (C), Reece Cole, Trialist Z (sub Raphael Assibey-Mensah 74 mins); Justin Shaibu, Philipp Hofmann (sub Jan Novak 64 mins), Herson Alves
Subs not used: Dominic Kurasik (GK), David Titov, Danny Parish, Luke Dunn, Marc Rio