Brentford booked a place in the Second Round of the Carabao Cup with a penalty shoot-out win in their first game in their next home. The Bees looked like they would make progress in 90 minutes as they held a 1-0 lead thanks to an Ethan Pinnock goal and were well on top inside the final 15 minutes. But a defensive mistake gifted Wycombe a goal and the tie went to penalties.
It could have been worse for The Bees as Wycombe came close to winning it late on, but the hosts never looked like losing the shoot-out. Ivan Toney, Jan Žambůrek and Sergi Canós scored and even though Mathias Jensen hit his spot kick over the bar, a save from Luke Daniels from Scott Kashket gave Marcus Forss the chance to win it. Forss lashed his penalty home to put The Bees through.
The opening day at the new stadium was an unusual one. A 12noon kick-off in a Carabao Cup tie in front of no spectators was not what was envisioned when the stadium was built. But the Sky cameras brought the game to a wider audience and Brentford found a way to win the tie, if not the game.
There was a very even start to the game. There was lots of competition in the central areas of the pitch and neither team was really able to get the ball out of that area often enough to create clear-cut openings in the first quarter of the contest. Brentford had more of the ball in those opening exchanges but largely played in their own territory while Wycombe looked to have their players high up the pitch when they were out of possession. It meant few chances in the first part of the game.
Neither goalkeeper was called upon to make a save in the first half hour. Brentford tried to get the ball moving through Žambůrek in midfield and predominately played to the left where Tariqe Fosu and Dominic Thompson linked well. Emiliano Marcondes, Canós and Rico Henry tried to form a similar triumvirate on the right side with Jensen in the central midfield role. The Bees tried to work the ball in and out of that central area but Wycombe’s doggedness, which often transgressed the laws of the game meaning a lot of free kicks and a stop-start contest, made that difficult.
Wycombe had the first effort on goal when Josh Parker headed a Joe Jacobsen free kick over and there were a few dead balls for The Bees to defend. Parker then almost set up a goal but Alex Samuel but the drilled ball across the box was too strong. Matt Bloomfield also shot wide for Wycombe after a nice turn in midfield.
Brentford could have scored when Marcondes and Canós linked on the right, the ball came across but Fosu miss-kicked when well placed and dragged his shot wide. Toney headed a Canós cross wide soon after when Fosu was unable to get a shot away after Henry had burst forward from right back and found himself in the penalty area. Both teams had pressed without creating much so the opening goal just past the half hour came almost out of nothing.
Brentford won a free kick when referee Charles Breakspear penalised one of the many Wycombe fouls in central areas. Jensen floated the ball over the Wycombe backline and in to space in the penalty area, Pinnock ran on to it and planted a header past Ryan Allsop and in off the far post. It was a perfectly placed header and unstoppable once The Bees had executed their free kick.
Daniels was called in to action just after Brentford’s goal, getting down well to save a snap shot from Samuel and then recovering to get on to the loose ball. Dominic Gape also had a shot blocked as Wycombe continued to test Brentford’s resolve from dead ball situations, but The Bees ended the half slightly the stronger. They looked to be full of running as the half ended and could have got further ahead.
Toney flicked a header wide from a Canós cross and there was another good chance when Thompson sent Žambůrek away down the left soon after. The cross came in and Canós was crowded out but Fosu got a shot away that Allsop tipped over. Allsop was in action again soon after when Marcondes got on to a Canós pass and delivered a teasing cross that the Wycombe goalkeeper clawed away.
The Bees had the lead and the initiative at the break and three minutes after the re-start they had a man advantage. Žambůrek and Gape challenged for a ball in midfield and the Wycombe man went in firmly with his studs slightly off the floor, catching his opponent. While there may have been contact with the ball, Žambůrek was caught heavily and Mr Breakspear decided a serious offence had been committed and sent Gape off.
Wycombe were forced to pull Parker deeper to reinforce their midfield and that further reduced their attacking options. The Bees had started the second half brightly and went looking for the second goal that would give them breathing space. It took a great tackle from David Wheeler to stop Toney finishing off a quick break that involved Fosu and Canós. Toney was set to shoot from ten yards with only Allsop to beat and would have expected to score. He then met the resulting corner but headed wide.
A clever turn after a quick throw left Canós inside the six-yard box but he couldn’t get a shot off or find Toney in position to score. Canós then put Fosu away and he looked set to be one-on-one with Allsop, but Anthony Stewart made a brilliant tackle. The Wycombe defence were working overtime as their midfield was stretched further and further across the pitch. Brentford made the most of their extra man and moving the ball with increasing pace, taking complete control of the game.
Henry shot wide after joining in the attack and Fosu was crowded out after being found inside the penalty area by Canós. Allsop saved well from Toney after Canós had failed to connect with a Marcondes cross. Canós then cut in off the left and beat Allsop with a curling shot that clipped the outside of the post on its way wide.
It looked as if it was a matter of time until Brentford got a second, but Wycombe almost snatched an equaliser from nowhere. Parker got on to a long ball down the left and let fly with a snap shot that Daniels had to palm wide at full stretch. That was, however, a rare attack from Wycombe and while they put men forward for set pieces, they did not have enough of them to overly worry The Bees from them.
Indeed, the visitors, were far busier at the other end. A short corner was worked to Žambůrek and his cross was met by Charlie Goode, but the header was blocked. Wycombe failed to clear, and the ball was worked to Canós inside the box, but his shot was blocked. Marcondes had an effort blocked from the third phase and a Canós shot then deflected wide as Wycombe’s defenders threw their bodies in the way to keep The Bees out.
And that defending showed its value as the visitors got a goal from nowhere. Pinnock failed to connect with a pass across his penalty area and Kashket got on to the ball. He set up fellow substitute Daryl Horgan to drill past Daniels and in to the net. Daniels got something on the ball but could not keep it out and Brentford had given Wycombe an equaliser.
It could have got worse for The Bees moments later when Jacobsen lined up a free kick from 22 yards but could not been the defensive wall with the shot. Forss was unable to get enough on a Jensen free kick to put The Bees back in front and Wycombe nearly won it inside the final five minutes. A square pass from Canós was seized on by Horgan and he burst forward, Fred Onyedinma provided support on the left and the shot was pushed away by Daniels.
Brentford put more attacking players on to the pitch with Forss supplemented by Joel Valencia, introduced as a right back. They looked to push on but that left more space for Wycombe, even a man down. Kashket got in to the penalty area and tried to round Daniels but the ball ran away and when the Wycombe man went down, Mr Breakspear decided no offence had been committed. A late header from Goode was gathered by Allsop, who collided with Canós and the post as he fell but recovered enough to take part in the shoot-out.
But it was Daniels who made the one save in the penalty competition. Nick Freeman blazed his penalty over for the visitors and Jensen did the same to leave it 2-2 after three each. Canós squeezed his penalty home and Daniels then saved to leave Forss to win it.
Brentford: Daniels; Henry, Good, Pinnock, Thompson (sub Valencia 84 mins); Marcondes (sub Baptiste 72 mins), Jensen, Žambůrek; Canós, Toney, Fosu (sub Forss 77 mins)
Subs (not used): Balcombe, Stevens, O’Connor, Maghoma
Wycombe Wanderers: Allsop; Grimmer, Stewart, Charles, Jacobsen; Gape; Wheeler (sub Onyedinma 75 mins), Bloomfield, Freeman; Samuel (sub Horgan 65 mins), Parker (sub Kashket 65 mins)
Subs (not used): Tafazolli, Phillips, Thompson, McCarthy
Sent Off: Gape (48 mins)