Brentford defeated in Under-18 Professional Development League Two finalJoshua Umerah’s early goal was enough to settle the Under-18 Professional Development League Two final as Charlton Athletic withstood a late Brentford barrage to lift the trophy.
The game was barely six minutes old when The Addicks’ striker struck as his first-time shot flew past Nik Tzanev and into the bottom corner.
As the game wore on Brentford took control of proceedings but it took until the final ten minutes for The Bees’ dominance to tell.
Josh Bohui hit the side netting, James Ferry shot straight at Dimitar Mitov and Seth Owens couldn’t quite get his head on a Zain Westbrooke cross as Charlton hung on to be crowned League Two champions.
Jon De Souza was able to name Courtney Senior and Tom Field in his starting XI, both of whom had missed last month’s 2-1 Semi-Final win over Huddersfield Town.
Charlton named almost the same side that had been beaten at Jersey Road back in November, with Aaron Barnes the only player to come into the team from that day.
The Addicks matched The Bees in formation with Ademola Lookman, George Lapslie and Brandon Hanlan lining up behind the lone striker Umerah.
It was the visitors, who pipped Brentford to the league title on the final day, who started far the brighter with their pace on the break hurting The Bees in the early stages.
Jon De Souza’s side didn’t help themselves with a number of sloppy passes that invited the Charlton counter-attack.
Samuel Bone struck a free-kick straight at Tzanev after three minutes but it took only three more minutes for the visitors to go ahead.
Again it came about as Brentford lost possession and the ball was fed in to Umerah whose early shot was through the un-set Tzanev before the keeper had time to react.
Brentford hadn’t really posed an attacking threat in the opening stages but after a strong run by Senior Herson Rodrigues Alves’ had a shot blocked and then Senior was denied by a good tackle from Ezri Konsa.
Charlton’s front three had caused real problems for Brentford and, after they had once again combined, Hanlan mistimed his jump and headed over from close range.
As the half ticked over it’s midway point Brentford began to gain a foothold in the game and in particular Westbrooke began to come to the fore.
The midfielder had a shot blocked on the edge of the box while Bradley Clayton shot over from 15 yards and Jeremiah Kamanzi's mis-hit effort rolled tamely into the arms of Mitov from the edge of the box.
Westbrooke then fired wide from distance and at the other end Lookman passed up a presentable chance to make it 2-0 as he blasted wide of Tzanev’s near post when he should have gone across the tall goalkeeper.
Brentford had been in control of the closing stages of the first-half and they continued that dominance into the second-half.
Charlton were penned back inside their own half as Westbrooke in particular took control of the match.
The midfielder was everywhere and meant that Charlton saw very little of the ball as Brentford probed for a way through.
For all their patient play The Bees could have fallen further behind as Charlton broke quickly after Clayton had been dispossessed but Tzanev was out quickly to save at the feet of Hanlan and then the tall-goalkeeper was up quickly to deny Lookman.
Westbrooke had Mitov flying across his goal with a flashing drive that fizzed just the wrong side of the upright.
Mitov looked to have that Westbrooke shot covered but he was nowhere near Rodrigues Alves’ drive that crashed into the advertising boards before the visiting keeper had moved.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes Charlton sank deeper and deeper and invited more sustained Brentford pressure.
Westbrooke, captain for the night, was inflicting a death by 1000 cuts on the Charlton backline as he probed looking for the final, telling blow.
Josh Bohui hit the side netting from 18 yards after good play by the Brentford captain and then James Ferry passed up a good chance as he shot weakly at Mitov from 12 yards.
A Konsa clearance hit Bone and deflected narrowly over the bar before Westbrooke delivered a sublime cross that an unmarked Owens just failed to connect with.
Substitute Chris Mepham saw a shot deflected just wide from 25 yards before, deep into added time, Owens just failed to turn home a bobbling ball from the edge of the six yard box.
At the final whistle the contrast was stark as the Brentford players slumped to the ground having given it their all while their South London opponents bounced with delight inside the centre-circle as they were crowned Under-18 Professional Development League Two Champions.
Brentford Youth Team:- Nik Tzanev; Audrius Laucys, Gradi Milenge, Seth Owens, Tom Field; James Ferry, Zain Westbrooke; Courtney Senior (sub Courtney Austin 58 mins), Bradley Clayton, Jeremiah Kamanzi (sub Josh Bohui 72 mins); Herson Rodrigues Alves (sub Chris Mepham 81 mins)
Subs not used:- Cameron Greaves, Giovanni McGregor
Charlton Athletic Youth Team:- Dimitar Mitov; Aaron Barnes, Sevdar Bokciu, Ezri Konsa, Archie Edwards; Regan Cook, Samuel Bone (sub Taylor Maloney 86 mins); Brandon Hanlon, George Lapslie, Ademola Lookman (sub Luke Carey 80); Joshua Umerah (Chris Miller 90+4)
Subs not used:- Jordan Beeney, Kenneth Yao,