Brentford exit Capital One Cup
Brentford’s Capital One Cup run came to an end at the Second Round stage as they were beaten by Fulham at Griffin Park.
Ross McCormack scored the only goal for the visitors in the second half to give them a place in the Third Round.
Brentford had chances, particularly in the first half, but could not find a way through and had to suffer defeat to their West London rivals.
The derby atmosphere was clearly in the air in the early stages, albeit more off the pitch than on it.
Griffin Park rocked as the teams went toe-to-toe in midfield, both sides choosing to pack that area of the pitch.
Fulham played with a diamond in the centre of the park and looked to limit the time on the ball and influence of Marcos Tébar, playing deeper for The Bees.
When they pressed Brentford they were able to get the ball in dangerous areas and had openings in the first ten minutes.
Tim Hoogland, playing at the base of Fulham’s diamond but with licence to step forward, fired high over the bar and Cauley Woodrow headed over after a well-worked short corner.
But Brentford had the better of the first quarter of the match.
They certainly had the best chance, Jota forcing Marcus Bettinelli in to a good save high to his right after a clever short free kick.
Harlee Dean had an early header blocked and Jon Toral nodded over as Jota’s set pieces caused the Fulham defence problems.
As the game moved towards the half hour mark it started to open up.
Fulham had a couple of very good chances to edge in front, firstly Woodrow turned a Kay Voser cross over from ten yards and then McCormack shot weakly at David Button from 15 yards.
Button also denied Hoogland as the visitors pressed but Brentford responded.
Stuart Dallas fired wide after cutting inside and Bettinelli saved from Nick Proschwitz after Moses Odubajo had burst forward from right back.
Proschwitz was then just unable to reach a low Tommy Smith cross after Toral had spread the play and when Jake Bidwell set Dallas in behind Dan Burn had to make a desperate clearance inside his six-yard box.
Button saved from Chris David and held on to a McCormack header while Ryan Williams lashed over from distance.
Brentford ended the half positively – a Dallas shot deflected wide and, from the resulting short corner, Jota’s effort was palmed on to the post by Bettinelli before Dallas blasted the loose ball high and wide.
But Fulham came out of the blocks quicker at the start of the second half.
James Tarkowski had to make an important tackle within 30 seconds of the restart to prevent Woodrow scoring and Button saved from David after a quick break soon after.
Button also denied Konstantinos Stafylidis after Dallas ceded posession in his own defensive area.
McCormack did have the ball in the net on the hour mark but the celebrations of the visiting fans were cut short by an offside flag.
Brentford had chances in the first part of the second half as well – an Odubajo cross flew just behind Proschwitz, Smith had a shot blocked and Dallas headed wide.
Bettinelli also denied Proschwitz but Fulham had the upper hand as the game entered the final quarter and Bidwell had to make a vital block to prevent David finishing off a move on the left.
They were not to be denied soon after, however.
McCormack fed the ball inside and got on to a fine pass from Williams; he placed the ball underneath Button from a tight angle to put Fulham in front.
Brentford tried to respond and Jota shot wide from distance before boss Mark Warburton introduced strikers Scott Hogan and Andre Gray.
But Brentford’s attacking intent left holes at the back.
Button made a save to deny David and McCormack’s follow-up was blocked before Woodrow fired just wide of the far post.
Dean then made a vital headed clearance to prevent McCormack heading a second from a Stafylidis cross.
Hogan and Smith both went close with shots from the edge of the box but Fulham’s defensive solidity was making it hard for Brentford to penetrate.
Dean headed wide late on but Brentford couldn’t find a way through and exited the Capital One Cup.
Brentford: Button; Odubajo, Tarkowski, Dean, Bidwell; Tébar; Dallas, Toral (sub Diagouraga 63 mins), Jota (sub Gray 73 mins), Smith; Proschwitz (sub Hogan 73 mins)
Subs (not used): Bonham, O’Shaughnessy, Reeves, Moore
Fulham: Bettinelli; Voser, Hutchinson, Burn, Stafylidis; Williams, Hoogland, Parker (sub Fotheringham h/t (sub Eisfeld 69 mins)); David (sub Bodurov 86 mins); Woodrow, McCormack
Subs (not used): Joronen, Roberts, Dembélé, Chihi
Bookings: Voser (44 mins)
Attendance: 7,563 (1,564 away fans)
By Chris Wickham