A Marcus Forss penalty inside the final 15 minutes was enough to give Brentford a pre-season friendly win over Wycombe Wanderers. The Bees dominated most of the match but had to wait until the closing stages to find a way through. Trialist Moses Odubajo, who is training with The Bees as he looks for a new club, won a penalty that Forss converted and Brentford had the win.
It was a win Brentford deserved on an evening when they produced a performance that will provide encouragement with just over two weeks to go until the start of the season. The home side had a spell at the start of the second half, after a tactical change, when they held the upper hand but Brentford spent most of the evening attacking. They created plenty of chances, particularly in the first half and after a series of substitutions with 20 minutes remaining, and the only concern would be that they did not take more of them.
It was also a useful evening for The Bees as they build-up up to the start of the Sky Bet Championship season on 4 August. Luke Daniels got 90 minutes in the Brentford goal and ten outfield players got 70 minutes under their belt. As well as goal scorer Forss, Brentford B players Luka Racic, Mads Bech Sørensen and Reece Cole were also involved and got some time on the First Team pitch as the season looms.
The game was even and closely fought in the opening stages and Wycombe had the ball in the net inside the first ten minutes, Michael Harriman battled his way down the right and one of Wycombe’s trialists finished from close range but was in an offside position and the goal was ruled out. That could have been a boost for the hosts but instead stirred Brentford in to life and The Bees started to take control.
For most of the first period, Brentford were on the attack. Josh McEachran linked the play in midfield with Romaine Sawyers and Lewis Macleod finding pockets of space. Alan Judge and Sergi Canós floated across the front line with Neal Maupay dropping in and allowing the wide players to go past him. With full backs Josh Clarke and Tom Field also adding their support, Brentford attacked with eight at times and it was all hands on defensive decks for the hosts for much of the opening half.
But Wycombe did keep Brentford out. Good chances came and went with defender Anthony Stewart and goalkeeper Yves Ma-Kalambay, in particular, rising to the challenge. Stewart made an important header to prevent Macleod arriving late to head in and the same man then made an important block when Canós released Clarke in behind after a fine move. When Maupay released Judge on the left the Irish international weaved his way inside and saw a shot well saved. Judge then returned the ball to Maupay and a clever back heel was blocked.
Sawyers, Field and Macleod saw efforts blocked as Brentford probed for an opening on the edge of the penalty area and Maupay then blasted over after a sweeping attacking move involving half a dozen players and many passes. Daniels saved from Adebayo Akinfenwa but most of the action was at the other end. Ma-Kalambay saved from Judge and Maupay saw a shot blocked before Sawyers fed Canós and got the ball back via a superb back heel, the midfield man looked set to find the bottom corner but the Wycombe goalkeeper again won the battle.
Maupay had another shot blocked and Canós curled over as the half came to a close while, at the other end, Harriman shot wide from the edge of the box and another effort from the trialist was blocked. The hosts should have taken the lead at the start of the second half, just after they had made nine changes. A corner was played deep, one trialist headed down and another lashed the ball over on the turn from four yards. It looked easier to score for the Wycombe man and was not the impression he would have wanted to make when looking to earn a contract.
Wycombe changed their shape at the interval. They brought on two strikers – Nathan Tyson and Craig Mackail-Smith – and played with a narrower midfield. That meant Brentford had space on the flanks to exploit when they could get the ball out of the congested central areas. Canós pulled a shot wide early in the half but Wycombe probably had the upper hand early in the second half and Tyson headed on to the roof of the net as they pressed.
But as the half wore on, Brentford regained the initiative. Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop made a fine save when Maupay shot on the turn and saw his effort deflect towards the top corner. The French striker then pulled an effort wide after weaving his way past two men.
The Bees had control before they made a series of changes with 20 minutes to go. And after they made the substitutions, there was only one team in the game. Odubajo, on at left back, provided impetus and linked superbly with Ollie Watkins in front of him throughout his cameo. The pair worked together soon after their introduction and Watkins saw a shot blocked. The next time Odubajo got going, Brentford had their penalty.
The former Hull City man burst in to the box and went down under the challenge of Harriman. There was no argument from the home side as Forss grabbed the ball. His spot kick was low and hard to Allsop’s right and beat the Wycombe keeper to put Brentford in front. The Finnish striker had another effort blocked soon after as Brentford pressed forward.
A Watkins shot deflected wide and Chiedozie Ogbene failed to head in a Cole cross when he snuck in at the far post soon after. Another Watkins shot was blocked and Emiliano Marcondes Camargo Hansen, who set up that chance, then put Forss through but his shot was weak and saved by Allsop. Emiliano then saw a shot deflect over before a Watkins effort from the resulting corner was blocked and just eluded Ogbene.
There was a chance for Wycombe to grab an equaliser at the death when Sam Saunders worked a corner short and then cross for Tyson but the striker headed over. That goal would have been unjust on Brentford, who deserved their win and got it thanks to Forss.
Wycombe Wanderers: Ma-Kalambay (sub Allsop h/t); Harriman, Stewart (sub Trialist h/t), El-Abd (sub Trialist h/t), Jacobson (sub Jombati h/t); Bean (sub Gape h/t), O’Nien; Trialist (sub Saunders h/t), Bloomfield (sub Thompson h/t), Freeman (sub Tyson h/t); Akinfenwa (sub Mackail-Smith h/t)
Brentford: Daniels; Clarke (sub Yennaris 70 mins), Konsa (sub Racic 70 mins), Barbet (sub Sørensen), Field (sub Odubajo 70 mins); McEachran (sub Mokotjo 70 mins); Canós (sub Ogbene 70 mins), Sawyers (sub Cole 70 mins), Macleod (sub Emiliano 70 mins), Judge (sub Watkins 70 mins); Maupay (sub Forss 70 mins)
Attendance: 1,315 (418 Bees fans)