Bees finish runners-up in Dale Farm Milk Cup Vase
Brentford’s Milk Cup campaign ended on a disappointing note as a smash and grab raid from Sheffield United saw them pick up the Dale Farm Milk Cup Vase after a 1-0 win at Anderson Park in Coleraine.
Rodney Bruce scored the only goal of the game with 11 minutes to go as he collected Hugo Warhurst’s long punt forward and lobbed the ball over Nana Frimpong.
The Bees, who had dominated the game from the off, threw everything forward trying to get a leveller in the closing minutes but failed to unduly test Warhurst.
In truth Brentford should have had the game wrapped up long before half-time.
With Ian Carlo Poveda, Taymar Fleary and Harry Francis rotating in advanced roles with Rachid Balde and George Hunt in behind The Bees bossed the middle of the pitch in the first-half.
United, fresh from a 2-1 win over Plymouth Argyle in Thursday’s Semi-Final, were compact in the opening stages and looked to frustrate Brentford.
In possession they looked to get the ball forward as quickly as possible with Bruce their main outlet.
It took a while for Brentford’s possession to lead to chances but when they did begin to create chances they should have found the back of the net.
Francis shot straight at Warhurst and The Blades’ stopper pulled off an even better save to turn behind a fierce effort from Balde as The Bees ended the half well.
Showkat Tahir then passed up a glorious chance to put Azeez Akinbolu’s side ahead as he latched onto Hunt’s inch-perfect through ball but his powerful shot was wonderfully turned over the bar by Warhurst.
Tahir was denied again by Warhurst a minute before the break as the half-time whistle came to the rescue of The Blades.
The second-half started in a similar vein with Hunt shooting tamely at Warhurst from 10 yards and Tahir thundering a shot against the bar from close range after a clever ball from Fleary.
Balde pulled a shot across the face of goal from the edge of the box, Poveda’s shot was deflected into the hands of Warhurst and United’s keeper got the better of Tahir again from close range.
Brentford’s wastefulness in front of goal came back to bite them with 11 minutes to go as a Warhurst punt was allowed to bounce and Bruce nipped in to lob the stranded Frimpong to put The Blades 11 minutes away from The Vase Trophy.
The Bees threw men forward in the dying stages looking to at least take the match to penalties.
Poveda pulled an effort wide and his next shot lacked any power to beat Warhurst.
United could have settled the match with four minutes to go but Jordan Doherty fluffed his lines and shot way over the bar from just outside the six yard box.
Poveda’s deflected shot was easy for Warhurst and then, two minutes into injury time, The Blades keeper ensured victory for his side as he turned Dylan Hill’s shot behind.