Brentford secured their first win of the season at home to Preston North End on Saturday. After going behind in the first half, goals from Lasse Vibe and Marco Djuricin turned the score line in favour of Marinus Dijkhuizen’s team.
The visitors attacked from the first whistle and went ahead inside the first minute. With 34 seconds on the clock, a square ball across the box found Stevie May but he was thwarted at close range by David Button. Daniel Johnson finished the loose ball into the roof of the net.
The Bees responded with a chance of their own a few minutes later. Alan Judge switched possession down the right for Vibe, the Danish international paused only to gain control then slipped a pass to Konstantin Kerschbaumer. The low shot that followed was caught and held by Jordan Pickford. May was handed another chance to strike at goal when Preston were awarded a free-kick after 11 minutes. The Scot struck a powerful swerving drive at Button, and this time the goalkeeper took no chances when parrying the ball firmly away to safety.
Brentford gathered momentum as the half went on. Djuricin, making his home debut, almost found Judge lurking at the far post but his cross was cut out. He then linked up with Toumani Diagouraga and Kerschbaumer as the trio forced a corner. Yoann Barbet thought he had levelled the score when he connected with Vibe’s cross from the left. Pickford showed superb reflexes to get down quickly and claw the ball around the post. He also had to be sharp to hold onto Jake Bidwell’s near-post flick from the next set piece moments later.
At the other end, Button showed a similar amount of class when he got up to tip Joe Garner’s header north of the crossbar. Bidwell was clearly unhappy with Eoin Doyle late in the half when the forward crumbled to the floor after chasing a ball into the box from the right wing. Referee Tim Robinson waved away the protests from the Lilywhites.
Dijkhuizen’s men nearly notched an equaliser with the last action of the first half. First, Vibe couldn’t get a proper connection on Bidwell’s cross. Then Djuricin sent Kerschbaumer clear on goal, only to see his shot saved by Pickford. After the break, Brentford continued to look for a way back into the match. Vibe had a shot deflected wide in the early stages before Judge sent a free-kick narrowly close to the apex of the opposition goal.
Just after an hour of football, Josh Clarke was withdrawn for loan signing Sergi Canós and the youngster made an immediate impact. A one-two with McCormack down the right sent the Spaniard flying into the box, he took one touch before drilling it square for Vibe to sweep into the net. A second goal followed three minutes later. Djuricin turned his marker putting a fine touch to Bidwell’s pass to set himself clear on goal. Breaking into the penalty area, he drilled his shot into the bottom corner.
Preston threatened to get an instant reply when Doyle crossed from deep but Bidwell watched it carefully and nodded the ball behind. Will Keane headed the resulting corner over the bar. The home side accelerated into the closing stages of the half. Judge was instrumental in creating chances for both Djuricin and then Kerschbaumer. The small forward couldn’t direct his shot towards Pickford and the second chance was blocked.
Canós continued to surge forward whenever possible, latching onto anything McCormack sent over the top of the North End back four. With nine minutes to go, the pair linked in similar fashion to their opening goal, this time Canós slid the ball to substitute Jermaine Udumaga. His shot was blocked right on the edge of the six yard box by Paul Huntington.
The visitors tried desperately to get back into the game as regulation time, and then nine added minutes for injuries and stoppages, went by. Brentford remained resilient and held on for their first win at Griffin Park this season.
Brentford: Button; Clarke (sub Canós 61), Dean, Barbet, Bidwell; McCormack, Diagouraga; Vibe (sub O’Connell 90+7), Kerschbaumer, Judge; Djuricin (sub Udumaga 79)
Subs (not used): Bonham, Tébar, Woods, Williams
Bookings: McCormack (38 mins) (third of season), Djuricin (66 mins), Canós (67 mins)
Preston North End: Pickford; Vermijl, Clarke, Huntington, Cunningham; Browne (sub Brownhill 84), Kilkenny (sub Keane 72), Johnson; May (sub Humphrey 65), Garner, Doyle
Subs (not used): Kirkland, Wright, Woods, Welsh
Bookings: Daniel Johnson (24 mins), Garner (35 mins), Huntington (75 mins), Humphrey (90+6 mins)