Brentford B were beaten 3-2 by Reading Under-23s at Hogwood Park on Tuesday afternoon. Joe Hardy and Reece Cole scored to put The Bees in control by half-time, before they were stunned by a three-goal comeback from The Royals in the second period.
Head Coach Kevin O'Connor was able to give Moses Odubajo his first full 90 minutes since returning to the Club over the summer. Jaakko Oksanen made a return to the side, while Jan Zamburek started his first game for the B Team, having appeared off the bench in the last two matches.
The first five minutes were cagey, with neither side settling quickly. The hosts were the first to create a real chance. Garath McCleary set the ball inside from the right for Adam Liddle, who took a touch into the box and fired a shot at goal. Patrik Gunnarsson was easily able to clutch the ball to his chest, getting up quickly to try and start a counter-attack.
Hardy scored with Brentford's first shot of the match, and it came from a Reading mistake. Tom Holmes played a loose pass across his penalty area, which wasn't collected by Andre Burley. Instead, it was controlled by the Trialist who squared for Hardy to slam into the net from close range.
The strike could have had a second after 18 minutes. A loose clearance from Burley saw the ball drop at Hardy's feet from about 10 yards out, but he couldn't make a proper connection and the ball was hammered away by Holmes.
Straight down the other end, Cameron Green blocked a Canice Carroll clearance and that allowed Liddle to break towards goal. Gunnarsson spread himself bravely to block the shot with his knee.
With 20 minutes on the clock, the Trialist was fouled right on the left edge of the box. Cole stepped up to take the free-kick but sent his effort soaring over the crossbar.
Ten minutes later, Cole got a second chance from a similar distance but closer to the centre of the pitch. Moses Odubajo cut in from the right before being dragged to the ground by Andy Rinomhota. Cole once again tried his luck, this time dispatching it into the top left corner of the net.
Just before half-time, Carroll needed to be replaced after suffering what looked like a hamstring injury when running back to defend. His replacement saw a debut for Manchester City loanee Charlie Oliver in the back four.
It took The Royals just 41 seconds after the restart to get their first goal of the game. Ethan Coleman struck from 30 yards out in the middle of the park and it soared past Gunnarsson into the top left corner.
The first chance for Brentford to restore their two-goal cushion came after 54 minutes. Oksanen swung a free-kick just over the bar from 20 yards out to the right of the box.
Four minutes later, a defensive mix up almost cost The Bees another goal. Gunnarsson came out to collect a cross from Burley, Odubajo headed it over him but luckily Oliver was on hand to clear off the line behind the Icelandic stopper.
Reading levelled things after 59 minutes. Oksanen was caught on the ball by Rinomhota, Liddle collected it on the edge of the box and clipped the ball into the top right corner of the goal. All square.
With 66 minutes gone, O'Connor made a triple change in the hope that it could breathe some life into his team. David Titov, Ali Coote and another Trialist all came on hoping to change things. It was a Reading sub that did.
Josh Barrett fired a warning shot at Gunnarsson on 68 minutes, latching on to a cross from Jamal Balogun before looping the ball inches wide of the right post from the left wing.
Another link up between the same players added Reading's third after 78 minutes. Balogun chipped a ball from the right wing over everyone in the middle, arriving at the far post was Barrett to rise above Odubajo and nod home the winner.
Moments later, Gunnarsson was brave to come out and gather a cross under pressure from Liddle. Both players hit the deck after colliding in midair but the keeper clutched the ball and wouldn't let go.
Jazz Wallace found the head of Barrett once again with a deep cross after 84 minutes. He nodded it down to Ademola Shokunbi, who flicked the ball over Gunnarsson and it hit the far post before Oksanen cleared ahead of the onrushing Liddle.
Two minutes later, Brentford had a great chance to level things when Matej Majka threaded the ball down the wing towards the sub Trialist. He drilled the ball low across the face of goal but neither Titov nor Oksanen could get close enough to sweep it home.
Final Score: Reading U23 3-2 Brentford B
Brentford B: Gunnarsson; Odubajo, Carroll (sub Oliver 44), Sorensen, Kirk; Oksanen, Cole, Zamburek (sub Coote 66); Finnsson (sub Titov 66), Hardy (sub Majka 78), Trialist-FW (sub Trialist-FW 66)
Subs (not used): Trialist (GK), Dasilva, Edobor, Mitchell
Reading U23: Driscoll; Balogun, Burley (sub Odimayo 78), Holmes, Green; Coleman (sub Shokunbi 78), Rinomhota; McCleary (sub Wallace 78), Clement, Nolan (sub Barrett 54); Liddle
Subs (not used): Andresson (GK), Omalabi