Jon De Souza's side beaten by Tractor Boys
Brentford’s Youth Team returned from East Anglia empty-handed as they were undone by two second-half Ipswich goals at Playford Road this afternoon. Three fingertip saves from Bees keeper Cameron Greaves had kept the scores level at half time but after an hour, England U17 striker Ben Morris swept in the opener. And with centre-back Seth Owens taken off injured for the final 15 minutes, the Tractor Boys made the advantage count when Charlie Brown delightfully finished Morris’ through ball in injury time to wrap up the points.
Jon De Souza made four changes to the starting eleven that beat Bristol City at home last weekend, with Greaves once again rotating with Ellery Balcombe; Giovanni McGregor returned, whilst Sean Bird and Julius Fenn-Evans both made their comebacks from injury.
The two sides were separated by one place in the U18 Professional Development League Two South and had played out an enthralling game in west London back in November that had ended 3-2 in Ipswich’s favour.
The hosts almost got on their way to another victory 18 seconds after kick off, when Morris – the scorer of the stunning winner in the previous meeting – scuffed a low shot that fell inches wide of the post. Greaves then tipped Flynn Downes strike behind; and although Kolade Salaudeen headed home the resultant corner, it was ruled out for offside.
Morris hit a free-kick wide soon after, before Charlie Brown tested the young goalkeeper again; Greaves once again keeping the score down with a great tip round the post. Despite Greaves’ heroics, Morris nearly capitalised on some dangerous play when he closed down Sean Bird’s pass; Greaves attempted clearance rebounded off the striker and looped over the bar to eventual safety.
The home side clearly had the lions share of the chances, but that was not to say that Brentford were being edged out of the game; The Bees had more possession but found it hard to feed Danny Parish in the final third and were, at times, gifting Ipswich the ball in key areas.
With 12 minutes to play in the first-half, George Harmes hit a 30 yard effort that was parried by Nicholas Hayes in the Town goal; he managed to get a crucial touch to prevent Parish tapping in his tenth goal of the season from close range.
There were widespread appeals for a red card just before half-time, when Romayne Pennant fouled Brown as he was bearing down on goal; referee Mark Ames adjudged that the full-back was not the last man and he escaped with just a booking.
The Ipswich onslaught on the visitors goal continued after the break; Brown made his way to the byline, but his cross went unchallenged, before Morris – who made his England U17s debut earlier this month – hit a volley on the turn that Greaves once again acrobatically turned over the bar.
Salaudeen then glanced a free header wide from two yards, before Morris finally broke the deadlock after 63 minutes, when he expertly swept Ross Meldrum’s cross-field pass into the back of the net.
A heavy collision between substitute Luke Wolfenden and Seth Owens saw the latter writhing around on the ground clutching his knee and he was deemed unable to continue, leaving the Bees to play with 10 men for the remainder of the game.
After playing with composure for the full 90 minutes, the desperation to score kicked in in stoppage time, with both Harmes and Pablo Gonzalez guilty of wasting wayward shots with players in space supporting.
Ipswich had lost each of their previous three league outings, but made sure of their first win in February when Morris turned from goalscorer to provider; he played a through ball to Brown, who made light work of Tyrick Mitchell and lifted a perfectly-weighted shot over Greaves to seal the points.
Next weekend sees the Bees face local rivals Queens Park Rangers, looking for a repeat of August’s 4-2 win away at Harlington.
Brentford: Cameron Greaves, Tyrick Mitchell, Seth Owens, Sean Bird, Romayne Pennant (Shaun-Chris Joash 74), George Harmes, Giovanni McGregor, Shawkat Tahir (Adobambo Akinjogbin 65), Julius Fenn-Evans (Pablo Gonzalez 56), Luke Dunn, Danny Parish
Unused subs: George Maxwell
Ipswich Town: Nicholas Hayes, Kolade Salaudeen (Luke Wolfenden 65), Patrick Webber, Flynn Downes, George Fowler, Kieron Cathline, Malakai Simpson (Michael Weller 65), Tristan Nydam, Charlie Brown, Ben Morris, Ross Meldrum
Unused subs: Harry Wright, Albert Wilton