Bees beaten at home in Under-21 clash
Brentford’s Development Squad suffered their third straight loss as they were beaten by Crystal Palace at Griffin Park.
A Martin Fillo header put The Bees in front in the Under-21 Professional Development League Two South clash late in the first half.
But Palace equalised soon after and then struck a second half winner against the run of play.
Brentford had more of the ball and dominated territory but could not find a way to convert their possession in to goals and ended on the wrong end of the result, as they had been in recent games against Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City.
Brentford started brightly and it was two minutes before Crystal Palace had a touch of note.
By that time the Palace defence had already got bodies in the way to deflect a Shaleum Logan shot wide and cleared a dangerous Fillo cross.
Josh Clarke had a shot deflected wide after a nice one-two with Charlie Adams and from the resulting corner, Aaron Pierre found space and headed wide.
The Bees were dominating possession and territory but Palace were well-drilled in defence.
They made it hard for Brentford to make an impact when they had the ball and a number of crosses and through balls were snuffed out.
They also began to break with pace on the counter-attack and had chances of their own.
Palace almost profited when a Ben Nugent clearance hit Sulaiman Kaikai in the face but the ball flew wide of the post with Jack Bonham stranded.
Kyle De Silva shot wide and Ibra Sekajja missed the target with a header when well-placed before a low Kaikai free kick curled wide.
By the half hour mark Brentford appeared to have got the measure of the visitors.
The passing became more crisp and quick and Palace were not able to restrict The Bees in the same way.
A shot free kick almost led to the opening goal when Logan’s shot was blocked, Paddy McCarthy made a remarkable tackle to deny Clarke and Pierre’s follow-up was blocked by Ryan Inniss.
Adams, starting to become more influential, then went on a mazy run that took him past three or four defenders before his shot was blocked.
The opening goal eventually came ten minutes before half time.
Inniss made a mess of trying to a clear a Jake Reeves pass and Will Grigg found space on the right, he was able to deliver an inch-perfect cross for Fillo, who nodded home.
But Palace reacted better to the goal.
Pierre blocked a Hiram Boateng shot before Kaikai darted down the left and crossed for Sekajja, his shot was deflected wide by Logan.
From the resulting corner, however, Palace were level.
Brentford’s zonal marking let them down as De Silva delivered from the left and the diminutive Connor Dymond nodded home from eight yards as no defender got a head on it.
Once again, the team that conceded reacted better to the goal.
Grigg had a shot blocked before a looping Fillo header was cleared off the line by Jerome Binnom-Williams.
As half time approached Logan had a shot blocked and a Reeves free kick hit the wall before the midfield man fired the loose ball towards the top corner and David Gregory had to go full stretch to tip it over.
Brentford continued to hold the upper hand at the start of the second half and Grigg fired over after Reeves had burst through.
Grigg then shot wide before Palace struck against the run of play.
Sekajja let fly from 25 yards and his shot nestled in the bottom corner.
Brentford again reacted well.
Reeves headed an Adam corner wide when well-placed and Palace somehow kept their goal in tact from a scramble soon after.
Raphaël Calvet burst in to the box on the right, his cross found Fillo, who was crowded out before Reeves was tackled when preparing to shoot, Clarke’s fierce drive was tipped on to the crossbar by Gregory and Grigg’s follow-up deflected wide.
Palace had chances to wrap it up when Sekajja shot over and De Silva failed to convert after racing through and rounding Bonham.
But they were largely playing on the counter-attack and Brentford were on top.
Substitute Fabian Rowe saw a shot deflect inches wide after intercepting a ball across defence and Calvet had an effort blocked after bursting from deep.
Reeves weaved his way past four defender before firing over and Calvet and Logan had shots blocked from a late corner as Brentford tried without success to find an equaliser.
Brentford Development Squad: Jack Bonham; Raphaël Calvet, Ben Nugent (sub Alfie Mawson 73 mins), Aaron Pierre, Shaleum Logan; Jake Reeves, Joe Maloney; Martin Fillo, Charlie Adams, Josh Clarke; Will Grigg (sub Fabian Rowe 63 mins)
Subs (not used): Melvin Minter, Kieran Morris
Crystal Palace Development Squad: David Gregory; Alistair Gordon, Paddy McCarthy (sub Alex Wynter h/t), Ryan Inniss, Jerome Binnom-Williams; Jermaine Udumaga (sub Luke Croll 90 mins), Hiram Boateng, Connor Dymond; Kyle De Silva, Sulaiman Kaikai, Ibra Sekajja (sub Derek Tieku 88 mins)
Subs (not used): Ross Fitzsimons, Nabil Guedioura
By Chris Wickham
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