Two goals for Gray and one for Jota in friendly win
Two goals from Andre Gray and a spectacular one from Jota gave Brentford their second 3-0 win of pre-season, this time against National League Premier side Boreham Wood.
Brentford used 21 players on a warm Hertfordshire afternoon.
Two of them – Courtney Senior and Aaron Greene – played after featuring for Brentford’s Development Squad in the win over Biggleswade United yesterday.
There were extended run-outs for Toumani Diagouraga, Gray and Jota, who all got 70 minutes under their belts while Andreas Bjelland, Josh McEachran and Stuart Dallas got their first match time of the campaign so far.
After a slow start Brentford took control and were well worth their 3-0 half time lead.
The second half was not as fluent, particularly as The Bees ended with ten, but the final result was never in doubt.
The home side started well and Billy Clifford curled an effort over early on after nice interplay on the edge of the penalty area.
Clifford was involved soon after with Harry Crawford and the pair set up a shooting chance for Ricky Shakes but the effort flew wide.
A Graeme Montgomery shot was deflected wide and, from the resulting corner, David Button saved a Shakes header.
The home side played with high intensity in the opening exchanges, working hard to prevent Brentford finding space.
The Bees were able to move the ball but were being harried and were forced in to playing their passes slightly quicker than they would have liked.
However, once the Sky Bet Championship side got in to their stride, the hosts were left chasing shadows.
Dallas had a sight of goal after picking up a long Alan Judge ball and then exchanging passes with both Jonathan Douglas and Judge but his effort was blocked.
From the resulting corner, played short, Jake Bidwell fired in a shot that flew just wide and was narrowly out of the reach of Yoann Barbet.
When Brentford went ahead it was presented on a plate by the home side.
Gray got on to a long ball and, after failing to connect with a shot, was weighing up his options when Ben Nunn went straight through the back of him leaving referee Chris O’Donnell with little option but to award a penalty.
Gray took it himself and sent James Russell the wrong way from the spot.
With Diagouraga directing operations from a deep midfield role and Judge and Jota finding pockets of space, Brentford started to move through the gears.
Jota had a shot blocked after weaving in to the box, Russell saved from Judge and a Gray effort was also stopped by the defence after a clever dummy from Dallas.
The half hour mark saw Mr O’Donnell halt play for a water break but it did not break Brentford’s momentum.
They scored a second when Douglas dummied a Jake Bidwell pass and Jota let fly with a shot from 25 yards that whistles past Russell and in to the top corner.
Button saved from Montgomery and Clifford curled a free kick over but the attacks from the hosts were becoming fewer and further between.
Russell denied Judge with a full length save from a curling free kick but Brentford did add a third at the end of the first half.
Judge played a ball deep towards the far post and Dallas capitalised on some poor defending to bring it down and square for Gray to tap in with Russell stranded.
The half time break halted Brentford’s momentum and the home side started the second half well.
The hosts made fewer changes at half time and had the better of the opening exchanges, as they did in the first half.
They did not, however, really look like scoring.
A Shakes shot was blocked and Luke Howells pulled an effort wide before Clifford curled a shot over the bar.
Jota cut inside and had an effort blocked for The Bees but their football wasn’t as incisive as it was before half time.
They had lots of possession but Boreham Wood were more compact after the break and prevented Brentford moving the ball through them as they had done.
Senior was showing promise in an attacking left side role and when he got on to a Diagouraga pass he burst in to the box before being crowded out.
Gray could have sealed his hat-trick when he got on to a Moses Odubajo ball but his effort was well saved by substitute goalkeeper Preston Edwards.
Brentford played the last 20 minutes with ten men as Mr O’Donnell would not allow them to bring on the already substituted Nico Yennaris.
With Gray, Jota and Diagouraga coming off only Greene and James Tarkowski could come on and The Bees decided to play a man short.
Boreham Wood should have taken advantage when the ball was worked to Shakes ten yards out but he smashed his shot over.
Senior curled an effort over for The Bees and Clifford missed the target for the hosts but the game meandered to a finish.
Brentford had control and kept the ball while playing a man short to ensure they followed up a 3-0 win over Sporting Club Farense on Tuesday with another a little closer to home.
Boreham Wood: Russell (sub Edwards h/t); Nunn, Hill (sub Doe h/t), Reynolds, Woodards; Shakes, Thomas (sub Howells h/t), Cox, Montgomery (sub Wichelow h/t); Crawford (sub Morais h/t (sub Garrard 67 mins)), Clifford
Brentford: Button (sub Bonham h/t); Yennaris (sub Odubajo h/t), Bjelland (sub Dean h/t), Barbet (sub O’Connell h/t), Bidwell (sub McCormack h/t); Douglas (sub McEachran h/t), Judge (sub Kerschbaumer h/t), Diagouraga (sub Tarkowski 70 mins); Jota (sub Greene 70 mins), Gray, Dallas (sub Senior h/t)
By Chris Wickham