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26 July 2014

Two for Alex Pritchard as Brentford beat OGC Nice in pre-season friendly

Two goals from Alex Pritchard, added to an early one from Andre Gray gave Brentford their third win from three in pre-season.

The Bees beat French side OGC Nice 3-2 on a hot afternoon at Griffin Park and were worth the win, to add to victories against Boreham Wood and Barnet.

Brentford could hardly have started better, ahead inside 70 seconds through Gray

The visitors hit back immediately but Pritchard curled in a free kick and then scored a third as half time approached.

Nice again responded, pulling it back to 3-2 but Brentford did enough in a less thrilling and more even second half to get the win.

The first goal came from a lucky ricochet in midfield when Moses Odubajo made an aerial challenge, Gray raced on to it, headed through a gap in the Nice defence and slotted past Yoan Cardinal.

But that lead lasted less than four minutes.

Eric Bautheac fired in a free kick and swerved and dipped and David Button could only palm it out, the follow-up effort from Lucas Rougeaux was cleared off the line by Tony Craig but Neal Maupay was there to finish it off.

The visitors could have turned it around completely soon after but Alexy Bosetti fired over when well-placed and Brentford started to take control.

The Bees spent most of the first half on the front foot.

Pritchard, Alan Judge and Odubajo linked well and Gray tested the Nice defence with his pace in behind.

Pritchard had two good early chances – first he sliced wide from 15 yards after Judge had put Odubajo away on the right and he then forced Cardinal to save to his left.

Albert turned a Marcos Tébar cross just past his own post and a low deflected Pritchard shot was saved.

At the other end, Maupay volleyed a half-cleared corner over the bar before Bautheac smashed a free kick well over.

But Brentford were the team in control.

A 25-yard effort from Judge bounced wide and, after a poor kick from Cardinal, Odubajo lifted an effort narrowly over from 40 yards.

Brentford’s pressure eventually turned in to goals late in the half.

They almost got one from a half cleared corner but Odubajo was crowded out after being set up by Jonathan Douglas and Gray.

However, Craig was fouled as the ball bounced around on the edge of the penalty area and Pritchard stepped up to curl home the free kick from 20 yards.

Gray had a low shot saved after turning well and Bautheac volleyed a long cross field pass from Lloyd Palun wide at the far post before Brentford got their third.

The Bees harried the visiting defence before Odubajo won the ball on the right; Pritchard was there to support and, after getting past a defender, scored at the second attempt.

But Nice refused to lie down and got one back before the break.

They worked it well on the left with Bosetti feeding Bautheac, his cross was turned home at the far post by Palun, up from right back.

Palun had the ball in the net second after the re-start as well, following up after Valentin Eysseric had curled a shot against the far post, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Gray headed a Jake Bidwell cross off target after Cardinal had come but not made contact and the Nice goalkeeper saved at the feet of Odubajo soon after.

There was a drop in pace after the break and once the substitutions came past the hour mark, it became more stop-start.

Saïd Banrahma had a shot blocked and Pritchard sliced an effort from a short free kick before Craig fired well wide.

Judge chipped a ball across the face of goal after exchanging passes with Odubajo and Gray lashed a Bidwell cross over the bar soon after.

Bautheac had an effort blocked after a short corner before Eysseric fired high and then wide from outside the penalty area.

Nice were ending the match the stronger and Niklas Hult had a sight of goal but sot wide following good work by Franck Honorat.

Toumani Diagouraga lifted an effort over on the stretch after he was put through by Judge and at the other end Timothée Kolodziejckzak met a Jérémy Pied corner and Button turned the effort on to the crossbar and over.

A Pied shot was blocked soon after as Nice continued to push and Jordan Amavi shot over when well-placed after good work by Hult and Paulin Puel.

Hult had a shot blocked in the dying seconds but Brentford held on to their half time lead and got the win.

Brentford: Button; Yennaris, Tarkowski (sub Calvet 68 mins), Craig, Bidwell; Tébar (sub Diagouraga 60 mins), Douglas, Pritchard; Odubajo (sub Dallas 60 mins), Gray (sub Hogan 60 mins (sub Clarke 84 mins)), Judge

OGC Nice: Cardinal; Palun, Gomis, Rougeaux, Kolodziejckzak; Albert (Koziello 80 mins); Banrahma (sub Honorat 65 mins), Bautheac (sub P. Puel 78 mins), Eysseric (sub Amavi 78 mins); Bosetti (sub Pied 65 mins), Maupay (sub Hult 72 mins)

Attendance: 2,168

By Chris Wickham

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