Bees bow out despite late fightback
Brentford were knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy by Sky Bet League One pacesetters Peterborough United.
The Bees run in the competition was ended at the Southern Section Second Round stage on a mild evening at London Road by the side currently second in the third tier.
The hosts scored a goal in each half, the first an own goal by Martin Taylor and the second a Grant McCann penalty.
Brentford pulled one back through Ben Nugent but could not find a leveller.
Peterborough had started better and deserved their lead but Brentford responded well and could have been level at half time.
The Bees also ended very strongly after the home side scored their second but were not able to take the game to penalties.
The home side’s front trio – Paul Taylor, Britt Assombalonga and Danny Swanson – were at the heart of most of their play and their incisive movement and intricate passing posed questions for Brentford’s defence.
The Bees did, however, answer most of them.
An early Taylor shot deflected wide and Swanson also missed the target from distance before McCann fired a free kick in to a defensive wall and an Assombalonga effort was blocked.
McCann volleyed over for the hosts after good work by Taylor soon after and 18 minutes in they went ahead.
Danny Kearns fed the ball on to Taylor, he cut inside and fired in a shot that flummoxed David Button, the Brentford goalkeeper could only palm it in to the legs of central defender Taylor and the ball dribbled over the line.
There was no doubt Peterborough were in charge at that point but Brentford fought back.
They almost equalised immediately when Sam Saunders curled a free kick inches wide and Jonathan Douglas had a shot blocked soon after.
Marcello Trotta looped a header on to the roof of the net as Brentford continued to press.
Raphaël Calvet and Jake Bidwell in the full back positions were pushing on while Saunders and Martin Fillo supported Trotta.
The game opened up as half time approached and Brentford were well in it.
Peterborough, however, had more sights of goal.
Swanson chipped over from the edge of the penalty area and a Taylor shot was saved by Button before the Brentford goalkeeper again denied the Peterborough striker.
Swanson shot over again in the dying seconds of the first half but the tie was still evenly poised with 45 minutes remaining.
The home side started the second half brightly but could not get the second goal that would have given them breathing
Right back Mark Little shot in to the side netting after a burst forward and then had a shot blocked after good work by Taylor.
Taylor himself went close soon after when he got away from substitute Ben Nugent but his shot from 20 yards flew just wide of the post.
Brentford came close to levelling when a Toumani Diagouraga shot from a half cleared corner was blocked inside the six-yard box and a Trotta shot was blocked soon after.
Peterborough appeared to have made the game safe with 20 minutes remaining.
Substitute Nathaniel Mendez-Laing picked up an Assombalonga lay off with his first touch and raced in to the box, Calvet made a sliding tackle that referee Andy Davies deemed as unfair, despite the ball clearly moving in the direction of the tackle, and a penalty was awarded.
McCann lifted it in to the net over the diving Button to give the hosts a two-goal lead.
Brentford, though, refused to believe the game was gone.
Trotta headed wide when well placed before George Saville volleyed straight at Bobby Olejnik in the home goal from ten yards when either side would surely have seen the net bulge.
Trotta should have pulled one back when he met a Saville corner with a high volley rather than a header and put it wide from six yards.
The Bees were, however, back in it with just over ten minutes remaining.
Trotta took a quick throw and Diagouraga lifted the ball in to the box, Nugent got there ahead of Olejnik and headed home to halve the deficit.
Brentford had the momentum and went for it in the final stages.
There were chances at both ends as the game opened up.
Button saved from Assombalonga and Jaanai Gordon had a shot blocked for the hosts while Taylor stung the palms of the Brentford goalkeeper with a fierce shot.
Nugent turned a corner wide and Saville forced Olejnik in to a save after a sharp turn.
Douglas headed over, Trotta had a shot blocked and Nugent blasted wide as time ticked down.
Gordon had an effort blocked and Mendez-Laing shot over before Trotta forced Olejnik in to a save with the last kick of the game.
The Peterborough goalkeeper stood firm, made the save and ensured his team progressed.
Peterborough United: Olejnik; Little, Zakuani (sub Brisley h/t), Bostwick, Alcock; Kearns (sub Mendez-Laing 68 mins), Payne (sub Gordon 73 mins), McCann; Swanson; Taylor, Assombalonga
Subs (not used): Day, Barnett
Bookings: Swanson (82 mins)
Brentford: Button; Calvet, Taylor (sub Nugent 61 mins), Craig, Bidwell; Diagouraga, Douglas, Saville; Fillo (sub Clarke h/t), Saunders (sub El Alagui 71 mins); Trotta
Subs (not used): Logan, Reeves
Bookings: Douglas (69 mins), Calvet (69 mins), Bidwell (85 mins)
Attendance: 5,261 (149 Bees fans)
By Chris Wickham