Brentford were beaten by Premier League West Ham United in a behind closed doors friendly at the London Stadium. The Bees had the better of much of the contest and were level the break as Marcus Forss scored his second goal in two friendly matches. But the home side got the winner in the second half in a match where both teams used a wide range of players two weeks before the start of the Premier League and Sky Bet Championship seasons.
Brentford made a bright start to the game and dominated the opening 20 minutes but found themselves a goal down. West Ham took the lead seven minutes in when they broke quickly through the centre of the pitch, Pablo Fornals picked out Andriy Yarmolenko in the inside right channel and he lifted a shot over Luke Daniels and in to the net. There may have been a case for offside against Yarmolenko, but the West Ham man seemed to have timed his run to perfection and the finish may have flicked off Rico Henry but was perfectly judged.
That was, however, the only time West Ham got deep in to Brentford territory in the first quarter of the contest. The Bees dominated possession and had control of the midfield area with Josh Dasilva full of running and stretching the home side. Bryan Mbeumo and Sergi Canós held positions on the flanks to give The Bees space to play and West Ham were pushed back.
The Bees should probably have been ahead before West Ham scored. They had a great chance when Canós burst from deep, he cut in off the left, beat Łukasz Fabiański with a curling shot and was unfortunate to see it hit the post. Forss was on the spot but couldn’t finish from close range. Dasilva then fired just wide from the edge of the box as The Bees pressed but West Ham struck first moments later.
That did not, however, knock The Bees out of their stride. Canós had a shot saved after getting on to a Dasilva pass, although Henry may have been better placed for a pass. And The Bees then came close when a corner was half cleared, Henry knocked it back in, Henrik Dalsgaard challenged and when the ball dropped loose, a shot from Ethan Pinnock deflected over the crossbar.
West Ham went close at the other end when Fornals curled a free kick straight at Daniels and then tested the Brentford goalkeeper with a low shot and the home side appeared to be coming in to the game around the half hour. The midfield was more evenly contested, with Fornals closer to Mark Noble and Jack Wilshire and Dasilva was closely shackled. But that seemed to take a lot out of them and towards the end of the half, The Bees resumed control.
They levelled the game when Canós found space on the left, picked a perfect return pass to the charging Henry and when the cross came in, Forss headed home. The final interchange was slick and incisive and Fabiański could not get to the header from Forss, which bounced in off the crossbar. Henry had gone close just before after linking again with Canós and Brentford’s left side was proving effective.
Brentford thought they had gone ahead when space was created for a shot from Mathias Jensen, the fierce low shot hit Forss and broke to Mbeumo, but the offside flag was up. Mbeumo may not have been offside but Forss probably was and the goal was ruled out. Jensen shot wide soon after and a Henry effort deflected as Brentford held the upper hand at the break.
The home side made seven changes at the interval, including a complete switch of the midfield and attack. That enabled them to start the second half brightly and the game was mostly played in Brentford territory just after the break. They were not, however, able to create anything and it was The Bees who came closest to goal in the early second period exchanges. A Dasilva run was unfairly halted but Jensen released Mbeumo on the right, after a dart inside he fed Forss and the resulting shot was fierce but straight at Fabiański.
Pontus Jansson could have scored soon after for The Bees when a Jensen corner caused confusion. The ball dropped and Jansson turned on it, but his shot flew wide. And, instead, West Ham got the next goal. Michail Antonio found space on the left and bundled his way in to the penalty area, he fed the ball to Tomáš Souček and he took a touch before firing past Daniels.
That goal came on the hour and Brentford immediately made a series of substitutions. They replaced all ten outfield players and almost equalised immediately. Joel Valencia fed Emiliano Marcondes and when the cross came in from the right, Gustav Mogensen turned it wide at the near post. There was an even better chance soon after when a Jan Žambůrek free kick dropped loose inside the penalty area, Charlie Goode got on to it, but his effort lacked the power to beat Fabiański.
The home side had to withdraw Antonio, who limped off, and without a focal point to play through, they seemed to lose their momentum. Daniels made a save from Manuel Lanzini but most of the action was at the other end. Paris Maghoma and Žambůrek linked well in midfield and The Bees had control of the contest, without creating many chances. Žambůrek had one effort after he weaved inside following a long spell of possession, but he smashed over from 20 yards.
Daniels saved from Felipe Anderson late on and The Bees should have equalised at the death. Valencia measured a cross from the right, Mogensen peeled off the central defenders and found space to head down, but his effort bounced inches wide. Fabiański was beaten and that would have given The Bees a draw, but West Ham took the win.
West Ham United: Fabiański; Fredericks (sub Johnson 58 mins), Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell (sub Masuaku h/t); Noble (sub Cullen h/t), Wilshire (sub Souček h/t); Yarmolenko (sub Bowen h/t), Fornals (sub Lanzini h/t), Diang (sub Felipe Anderson h/t); Haller (sub Antonio h/t (sub Snodgrass 74 mins))
Brentford: Daniels; Dalsgaard (sub Roerslev 62 mins), Jansson (sub Goode 62 mins), Pinnock (sub Sørensen 62 mins), Henry (sub Thompson 62 mins); Jensen (sub Marcondes 62 mins), Nørgaard (sub Maghoma 62 mins), Dasilva (sub Žambůrek 62 mins); Mbeumo (sub Valencia 62 mins), Forss (sub Mogensen 62 mins), Canós (sub Fosu 62 mins)