Young Bees exit FA Youth Cup at Third Round stage
Tyla Bell came off the bench to settle a pulsating FA Youth Cup tie at Griffin Park as Leeds United ended Brentford’s participation at the Third Round stage.
Brentford had twice fallen behind only to level through Kyjuon Marsh-Brown and then Zach Birse either side of half-time.
However Bell, who had only been on the pitch for seven minutes, finally put the tie to bed with a quarter of an hour to play sliding home from close range to finally break The Bees resistance.
In terrible conditions at Griffin Park it was Jon De Souza’s side who started the first half very much on the front foot. Josh Bohui shot over the angle of post and bar from 12 yards after Reece Cole played him through and then the latter drove an effort straight at Theo Richardson.
The opening quarter of an hour belonged exclusively to Brentford with Cole, in particular, at the heart of a lot of The Bees good work. They thought they had their reward when Marsh-Brown drove through the yellow shirted defence and played in Bohui to slot home but the joy was short lived as the linesman’s flag went up.
Brentford continued to create and Julius Fenn-Evans was denied by Richardson from close range and from the resulting corner Cole again the tested the handling of the United stopper in the difficult conditions.
After being in command of the early stages Brentford started to let Leeds back into the game as they delayed the killer pass and become more deliberate and predictable in their attacking play. Leeds, with a powerful, direct side suited to the wet conditions, began to force Brentford back and cut off the space out wide which The Bees had been exploiting early on.
Lewis Knight shot narrowly over after a nice through ball by Ronaldo Vieira but a minute later they were ahead as Cole’s clearance went up rather than out and Mallik Wilks let fly from 35 yards, a huge deflection taking the shot over Cameron Greaves and into the back of the net.
The balance of the game has shifted and it was a much more open, end to end affair as it headed towards the break. Seth Owens shot wide from 30 yards and Greaves did well to smother a low Vieira attempt that skipped up off the wet pitch.
Wilks fired an effort high and wide and then an attempted Fenn-Evans shot landed at the feet of Marsh-Brown but he could only prod the ball wide first-time. Leeds could have doubled their advantage five minutes before the interval as Greaves hesitated allowing Knight to get his shot in but a combination of Greaves hand and Chris Mepham’s goal-line clearance averted the danger.
With the final action of the half Richardson again showed good handling to smother Parish’s low drive before The Bees striker thumping header whistled past the post
Clearly fired up by their half-time team talk Brentford started the second-half well and were level five minutes in. The Bees switched the ball well from right to left and Marsh-Brown skilfully rolled his marked and then curled home from 18 yards.
The goal gave De Souza’s side renewed heart and Bohui passed up a brace of chances to complete the turnaround, the first well held by Richardson, the second bobbling wide from the edge of the box.
As with the first half however Leeds began to gain control as the period continued: Knight shot wide from 15 yards, Rollinson blazed over when well placed and with 20 minutes to play they went back ahead. Rollinson’s low shot rolling straight though Greaves and into the back of the net.
The setback didn’t affect The Bees and they struck straight back almost straight away as Cole’s driven corner was taken down by Birse and the defender showed the composure of a seasoned striker to smash home.
De Souza’s side barely had time to savour the equaliser before they again found themselves behind as substitute Tyla Bell timed his run perfectly to poke home Matty Downing’s inch-perfect cross.
Brentford threw everything forward in the closing stages but were nearly caught out as Bell made it in behind but Greaves came to the rescue with a fine save and Tom Pearce whistled a shot over from 25 yards.
Greaves made another fine block to push behind Wilks late effort but it mattered not as Leeds set up a Fourth Round tie at home to Manchester City.
Brentford: Cameron Greaves; Zach Birse, Chris Mepham, Seth Owens, Tyrick Mitchell (sub David Titov 46 mins); Reece Cole, Julius Fenn-Evans; Kyjuon Marsh-Brown (sub Kinsgley Eshun 67 mins), Ian Carlo Poveda (sub Giovanni McGregor 46 mins); Danny Parish
Subs not used: Ellery Balcombe, Pablo Gonzalez
Leeds United: Theo Richardson; Jake Croft, Jack Vann, Mike Taylor, Matty Downing; Callum Nicell (sub Jamie Shackleton 90 mins), Henry Rollinson; Tom Pearce, Ronaldo Vieira, Lewis Knight (sub Tyla Bell 67 mins); Mallik Wilks
Subs not used: Will Huffer, Max Hill, Jack Turnbull