Brentford beaten in Under-21 Professional Development League match despite goal from Josh Clarke
Diego De Girolamo scored a 13-minute hat-trick for Sheffield United’s Development Squad as Brentford were beaten in Yorkshire.
The Bees were beaten 4-1 in an Under-21 Professional Development League Two game that was closer than the score line suggests.
Josh Clarke scored a fine goal for Brentford to bring them level just past the hour and The Bees appeared to have the momentum after falling behind late in the first half.
But defensive errors cost them dear and the home side took the points.
A physical encounter started in an even fashion, Brentford goalkeeper Nik Tzanev was called in to action early on, tipping a De Girolamo shot over the bar, and there were good chances at both ends.
Tyrell Miller-Rodney had a low shot saved when Charlie Adams had created space and Emmanuel Oyeleke shot wide.
Clarke also missed the target after cutting inside while, at the other end, a Ben Whiteman corner fizzed across the face of goal.
Tzanev saved from Otis Khan and then held a weak Jamie McDonagh effort while Adams had a shot blocked.
Sheffield United were content to sit in for long periods and invite Brentford forward, the home side then broke with pace and in numbers when they could.
They should have scored from a Brentford corner when they counter-attacked quickly but Whiteman shot wide and when they had another break soon after Tzanev saved from De Girolamo when a ball square to one of four waiting men would have resulted in a goal.
When The Bees got men in attack they created chances, albeit they left themselves a little open at the back.
Raphaël Calvet was particularly keen to get up from defence.
He helped set up Miller-Rodney for a good chance but Iain Turner saved and the French defender then had an effort deflected wide.
Turner also held on to a Kieron Morris header soon after.
The home side went ahead late in the first half when a Whitehead delivered a corner from the left, it may have been heading in anyway but Tzanev’s poor punch only diverted it in to the far corner.
The hosts swarmed forward looking for a second – Tzanev tipped a McDonagh header away and Kyle Scarisbrick nodded the resulting corner over from close range.
Tzanev then produced a great save to deny McDonagh, who was put through by Whiteman, and De Girolamo missed the target with an acrobatic follow-up.
Brentford weathered the storm and could have levelled late in the first half when Sam Berry diverted a Clarke cross just past his own post.
The Bees also started the second half bright, dominating posession and territory.
Daniel O’Shaughnessy had a volley blocked and Turner saved at the feet of Miller-Rodney before Calvet shot over from distance.
Jason Paling, up from right back, had a couple of efforts blocked for the hosts but most of the action was at the other end.
Clarke fired wide from distance before, just past the hour mark, he found a leveller.
He received a pass from Calvet and skipped past Scarisbrick; he darted in to the box and fired a low shot across Turner and in to the corner.
The Bees appeared to have the momentum but Sheffield United quickly tuned it round and, after a couple of efforts were blocked, were back in front seven minutes later.
Paling was the architect with a fine run down the right and his cross was converted from close range by De Girolamo.
Brentford tried to find a response and had loud appeals for a penalty turner down by referee Steven Meredith when Miller-Rodney tumbled in the box.
The Bees, however, appeared to switch off when the official decided no offence had been committed and when a long ball was played down the field Calvet’s header caught Tzanev out, the goalkeeper dashed back and kept the ball out but he could only push it in to the past of De Girolamo, who gleefully fired it in.
Bradley Clayton had a shot blocked but De Girolamo had his hat-trick moments later, albeit in controversial circumstances.
Jermaine Udumaga was brought down in midfield but Mr Meredith waved play on and Tzanev had to get down to keep out a low shot from McDonagh but De Girolamo reacted quickest to tap the loose ball home and complete his treble.
The home side continued to press forward, McDonagh shot wide and then diverted a Paling cross away from goal.
Clayton had a shot blocked at the other end after a short corner but Brentford’s chances of getting something from the game had long gone by that point.
Sheffield United Development Squad: Iain Turner; Jason Paling, Julian Banton, Sam Berry, Kyle Scarisbrick; Otis Khan, Ben Whiteman, Connor Dimaio, Joel Coustrain (sub CJ Hamilton 42 mins); Jamie McDonagh, Diego De Girolamo
Subs (not used): Willis, Cockerline, Evans, Calvert-Lewin
Bookings: Scarisbrick (89 mins)
Brentford Development Squad: Nik Tzanev; Raphaël Calvet, Kieron Morris, Daniel O’Shaughnessy, Aaron Greene; Louis Hutton; Josh Clarke (sub Lionel Stone 88 mins), Emmanuel Oyeleke (sub Jermaine Udumaga mins), Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Charlie Adams (sub Tom Field); Bradley Clayton
Subs (not used): Jordan Carey
Bookings: Morris (63 mins)
By Chris Wickham