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20 July 2013

Bees have better of friendly but end up beaten

Scottish Premier League Champions Celtic came from behind to win a pre-season friendly at Griffin Park.

Brentford went ahead in the first half when Adam Forshaw, justifiably named Man of the Match at the end of the game, chipped in but Celtic responded.

They scored two goals against the run of play and were indebted to goalkeeper Łucasz Załuska for a series of fine saves that gave them the win.

The visitors started well and could have been ahead inside the first five minutes.

Tom Rogić shot over after a run from deep, Jack Bonham kept out a low Tony watt shot and Amido Baldé headed wide.

But Brentford soon got in to their stride and began to impress.

They moved the ball in the way that has become a trademark in the last two years, slick interchanges in midfield and runners from deep getting in to attacking positions.

Martin Fillo headed a Shaleum Logan cross and with ten minutes on the clock, the home side went in front.

The ball was worked, after a series of passes to Forshaw; he placed a quick one-two with Hayes, burst in to the box and chipped over the advancing Załuska and in to the back of the net.

Załuska made a fine save from a Tony Craig volley to prevent the defender making it two as Brentford dominated.

The home side had the better of possession and territory but were hit by a sucker punch from the visitors.

The ball was thrown in to the box, Baldé wriggled free and got off a shot that went through a crowd of legs, flicked at least one of them, wrong-footed Bonham and rolled in.

Watt headed wide for Celtic and then blasted well over but Brentford still had the ascendency, with Forshaw pulling all the strings.

Sam Saunders curled a free kick narrowly wide and then crossed for Paul Hayes to flick a header over the bar.

Logan then crossed for Saunders to head wide before Załuska tipped a low Forshaw effort around the post.

A low Craig shot hit Saville and flew wide before Celtic missed a gilt-edged chance to lead at the break.

A long ball forward released Baldé in behind, Bonham stopped, started and found himself in no-man’s land as the ball was lobbed over him, it hit the crossbar and bounced down for Watt to hit a shot in to the ground and again against the crossbar before Harlee Dean scrambled it away and the danger was cleared.

Załuska saved well from George Saville before the break and then kept out a fierce Forshaw shot while Baldé headed over at the other end.

Rogić shot over in the early stages of the second half for Celtic but Brentford once again took the initiative after the break.

Hayes headed over when he should have scored and Saville shot wide after good work down the right.

Załuska saved well from a curling Saunders effort as Brentford continued to press.

But they were hit by another goal on the break from Celtic.

Watt found space on the right and managed to squeeze a cross over, Brentford failed to clear and it reached Callum McGregor, he cut inside and curled the ball past Bonham and in to the far corner.

Brentford tried to find a response – Załuska saved from Hayes before Alan McCormack blasted over and substitute Jake Reeves shot in to the side netting.

But Celtic almost made the game safe when Michael Miller crossed from the left, Liam Henderson headed down and Rogić failed to connect with a shot, substitute Bahrudin Atajić followed-up but Jake Bidwell cleared the shot off the line.

Reeves and Stuart Dallas failed to capitalise when they found space from a Forshaw cross and Emmanuel Oyeleke blasted over from close range as Brentford pressed for a leveller.

Forshaw shot narrowly over and an Oyeleke header was deflected wide off a Brentford man as the chances came and went.

Hayes had a golden one when a Josh Clarke cross flew across the six-yard box but he failed to make a good enough connection.

A deflected Dallas shot was palmed wide by Załuska and the goalkeeper then went full stretch to tip away a Forshaw shot in stoppage time and give his team the win.

Brentford: Bonham; Logan (sub Venta 73 mins), Dean (sub O’Connor 50 mins), Craig, Bidwell; Forshaw, McCormack (sub Reeves 65 mins), Saville (sub Oyeleke 73 mins); Fillo (sub Clarke 79 mins), Hayes, Saunders (sub Dallas 65 mins)

Celtic: Załuska; Fisher (sub Waters 82 mins), Mouyokolo, Irvine (sub Herron 81 mins), Miller; McGeouch (sub Henderson 43 mins), Ambrose, McGregor; Rogić; Watt (sub Atajić 65 mins), Baldé

Attendance: 8,253

By Chris Wickham

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