Brentford B made it through the first stage of their defence of the Middlesex FA Senior Challenge Cup with a penalty shoot-out win over Hanwell Town. The Bees battled back from 2-0 down and overcame a red card shown to Kane O’Connor to win 4-2 on spot kicks after a 2-2 draw. Patrik Gunnarsson saved two in the shoot-out and Jayden Onen chipped home the winning penalty to ensure Brentford progressed.
That looked a long way from certain for much of the afternoon. The home side deserved the 2-0 lead they held seven minutes in and although Brentford battled back to level as Jaakko Oksanen and Christian Tue Jensen scored, they did not have it all their own way. Hanwell had chances in the later stages – after O’Connor had been sent off – to get the win but ten-man Brentford B held firm and then held their nerve to win the shoot-out.
The game could barely have started in a worse fashion for The Bees. They were a goal down inside 75 seconds, two down before seven minutes had elapsed and the game could have been over with the other chances created by the hosts. It was a bonus for Brentford that they were still in the contest 15 minutes in.
The first goal came before Brentford had touched the ball. A free kick was awarded on the left side after Josh Clarke let a long ball bounce and Japhet Sery Larsen fouled Harvey Killeen. The ball was delivered, and Dwayne Duncan rose highest to flick a header in off the far post.
It was two five minutes later when Mads Roerslev slipped on the Brentford left and allowed Gianni Crichlow to race forward in to acres of space with The Bees committed to attack. Crichlow’s low cross picked out Harry Rush and he steadied himself before lashing low under Gunnarsson from 18 yards. The Bees were two down, deservedly so, and had hardly put together an attacking move.
Gunnarsson saved high to his left from Crichlow to prevent it becoming 3-0 and then stopped a low shot from Killeen as Hanwell pressed. The intensity from the home side was causing Brentford problems. There was no time for Julien Carre or Oksanen in the centre of midfield and centre forward Gareth Chendlik was a nuisance. Brentford were in a battle.
But an injury to Clarke allowed a reshuffle and the game changed. Roerslev moved to right back with David Titov shifted to the left and Onen introduced to the right side of the front three. There was a noticeable improvement in Brentford’s attacking output with Oksanen more involved and Carre dictating play. Joe Adams also started to come in to the game on the left.
Adams could have scored when he cut inside but curled a shot just over and a deflected Oksanen header flew wide soon after. Hanwell goalkeeper Hugo Sobte saved well from a lofted Oksanen shot after Gustav Mogensen had fed the ball in to his path. But a goal was coming and arrived seconds later. Adams got away on the left and his low cross bounced invitingly for Oksanen to arrive and finish from ten yards. A couple of deflections helped the ball both to Oksanen and in to the net but Brentford deserved to be back in the contest just past the half hour.
And they could have been level before half time. Mogensen headed a Roerslev cross powerfully wide and Onen looped an effort over the bar. Onen then clipped the outside of a post with a shot after Adams had linked up well with Jensen and Sobte saved a deflected effort from Mogensen just before the break as Brentford pressed forward.
The interval gave the home side a chance to regroup and while Brentford continued to hold the upper hand in the second half, they were creating fewer openings. Hanwell were deeper and more compact and Brentford played in front of them for long periods of the second half, unable to get Onen and Adams around the back as they had done before the break. And Rush had a sight of goal just after the break, volleying well over.
Most of the action was at the other end but Hanwell tried to counter-attack when they could and that meant The Bees could not over-commit. Mogensen was denied a far post tap in from an Onen cross by a fine Duncan tackle and then could not convert when Jensen met another cross with an overhead effort that fell to him. Sobte saved a low shot from the increasingly influential Jensen as the game entered its final quarter.
Mogensen should have levelled when a corner dropped to him, but he lashed over at the near post. The equaliser did, however, arrived soon after. A free kick was awarded on the left after a good run by Adams and Jensen caught Sobte out by curling it in to the near post. The goalkeeper was motionless as the net rippled and the game was all square with 16 minutes left.
That should have given The Bees a platform to go on and win it, but the game swung Hanwell’s way soon after. O’Connor was sent off for bringing down Callum Woodcock on the edge of the penalty area. The foul itself did not appear worse than many that had gone before but referee Neil Morrison deemed it to be a red card offence, perhaps feeling Woodcock was in on goal.
That foul came just after Titov had escaped with a yellow card for a foul on Killeen that caused him to limp from the field of play and there were other offences later in the game that could have led to further dismissals had Mr Morrison deemed fit. Jonny Mitchell was brought on to play centre half and Hanwell sniffed their chance to win the game. That came after Adams had a chance to put Brentford in front after they broke quickly but his shot was saved.
The free kick after the red card was drilled low by Rush but saved by Gunnarsson and although the loose ball was poked in, the whistle had been blown. Gunnarsson then made a superb double save, firstly to keep out a Rush shot and then recovering quickly to deny Jeremiah Maja. With Gunnarsson lying injured, Woodcock let fly with a shot that Oksanen blocked. The resulting corner reached Andy O’Brien at the far post but his headed bounced up against the crossbar and away.
Gunnarsson denied Maja again as Hanwell pressed, diving superbly to his left, and the follow up was blocked by Mitchell with the home players claiming – incorrectly – handball. With the home side committing men forward, Brentford should have won it in the seven minutes of stoppage time. Play was allowed to go on after Mogensen came together with Kieron Cathline and Adams went through one-on-one. Adams should have scored but Sobte saved and the Hanwell keeper did so again from Jensen’s shot.
That ensured penalties and Brentford took the upper hand when Gunnarsson saved from Tayshan Hayden-Smith. Jensen and Adams scored but Oksanen hit the post to leave it 2-2 after three penalties each. Mogensen scored well and Gunnarsson saved from Dave Thomas to give Onen and chance to win it. He lofted his spot kick over Sobte to send Brentford B through.
Hanwell Town: Sobte; Cathline, Duncan, O’Brien, Thomas; Taylor; Crichlow (sub Woodcock 69 mins), Hayden-Smith, Rush, Killeen (sub Julienne 78 mins); Chendlik (sub Maja 60 mins)
Subs (not used): Singh, Tamplin
Bookings: Chendlik (52 mins), Cathline (74 mins), Taylor (90 mins)
Brentford B: Gunnarsson; Clarke (sub Onen 16 mins), Larsen, O’Connor, Roerslev (sub Tsaroulla 67 mins); Oksanen, Carre (sub Mitchell 86 mins), Tue Jensen; Titov, Mogensen, Adams
Subs (not used): Andersson, Majka
Bookings: Titov (76 mins), Tsaroulla (90 mins)
Sent Off: O’Connor (79 mins)