Addicks come from behind to knock Bees out of U21 Premier League Cup
Brentford’s participation in the U21 Premier League Cup ended at the Last 16 stage as Charlton Athletic came from behind to beat The Bees 2-1 at The Valley.
In Flemming Pedersen’s first game in charge of the Development Squad, his side started brightly and created a number of openings in the first 45 minutes before deservedly taking the lead just before the hour when Jan Holldack converted from the spot after Dimitar Mitov had upended him.
However that advantage lasted just nine minutes as Mikhail Kennedy beat the offside trap to roll home. The Addicks, unbeaten since October, made sure of their place in the Quarter-Finals with 12 minutes to play as Cristian Ceballos let fly from 25 yards and squeezed his shot into the bottom corner.
On a big, wide pitch at The Valley, slickened by recent rain, The Bees were fast out of the traps and really took the game to The Addicks in the opening stages. The hosts, who had won 11 of their last 12 matches in all competitions, were content to sit back and try and soak up the early Brentford pressure, relying on the pace and power of Igor Vetokele and Zac Ansah up front to be their outlets.
Brentford’s early passing was crisp and accurate with Charlton struggling to cope with the speed of movement of The Bees runners. A neat interchange between James Ferry and Reece Cole freed Holldack to cut back for Bradley Clayton but Ezri Konsa timed his challenge perfectly to hook the ball clear. Moments later The Addicks backline was cut open again as Clayton turned provider for Courtney Senior but Mitov was quickly off his line to block from close range.
The hosts did manage to fashion a couple of half-chances but Ansah and Vetokele both saw their efforts blocked away by Brentford defenders. That was all that Charlton offered in the opening stages as The Bees continued to create chances. Senior’s driving run freed up space for Lewis Macleod to shoot low at Mitov before the former Rangers’ man swept Cole’s looping cross wide from 12 yards at the back post.
Simon Clark’s side had set up with a narrow midfield four inviting their full-backs to run into the space and as the half went on Tareiq Holmes-Dennis and Regan Charles-Cook did start to get more joy in the attacking third. Holmes-Dennis’ run created space for Joe Aribo to drive past a couple of weak challenges only to see Mark Smith quickly off his line to smother behind.
At the other end a deflected Audrius Laucys shot had Mitov backpeddling to turn over and from the resulting corner Yoann Barbet got in front of his marker and fired a volley towards goal that struck Charles-Cook and rebounded away. Smith was equally sharp footed to run Ansah’s looping cross behind from under his bar and with the final goalmouth action of the half The Bees stopper needed two goes to gather Oliver Muldoon’s awkward bouncing effort.
Vetokele, The Addicks top scorer last season in the Sky Bet Championship with 11 goals, was replaced by Ceballos at the interval and the former Spurs man forced a sharp save out of Smith at his near post shortly after his introduction. O’Shaugnessy came to The Bees rescue from the resulting corner blocking behind from Kennedy with The Bees loudly appealing for offside against The Addicks' striker.
It was the hosts turn to be aggrieved at the officials on the hour as the referee pointed to the penalty spot when Cole played through Holldack and the German was tripped by Mitov in the home goal. The Bulgarian keeper saw yellow and then got fingertips to Holldack’s low spot kick but he couldn’t keep it out of the bottom corner.
The hosts threw on Josh Umerah for Ansah after falling behind and his deflected effort looped just wide a minute later. Muldoon’s swerving long-range effort was palmed away by Smith and Kennedy headed over as The Bees were penned back in ever gloomier conditions. Eventually the hosts’ pressure told as Kennedy, now playing up front after Vetokele’s withdrawl, beat the offside trap and rolled the ball past Smith into the bottom corner. Flemming and Kevin O’Connor urged their side for a reaction after conceding and the management duo almost got the perfect response as Herson Rodrigues Alves found himself with just Mitov to beat but he dragged his effort across the face of goal and wide.
The game was incredibly stretched with both sides looking to end the tie in 90 minutes and the extra space suited the hosts. Umerah’s neat reverse pass freed Kennedy who drilled a shot wide of Smith’s near post but there was no mistake with 12 minutes to play as nobody closed down Ceballos on the edge of the box and he arrowed a drive into the bottom corner via the inside of the post.
The hosts dropped deeper and deeper in the closing stages, protecting their lead, inviting waves of Brentford pressure. Mitov sparked an almighty goalmouth scramble as he dropped a Cole corner inside the six yard box, eventually the Charlton man managed to drop on the ball with bodies littering the area. Kennedy made a desperate block to deny Macleod a deserved equaliser and then Holldack fizzed an effort wide from 30 yards but The Addicks held on to record a second 2-1 win of the season against The Bees.
Charlton Athletic: Dimitar Mitov; Regan Charles-Cook (sub Aaron Barnes 62 mins), Ezri Konsa, Terrell Thomas, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis; Alex Kelly, Ollie Muldoon, Mikail Kennedy, Joe Aribo; Zac Ansah (sub Josh Umerah 59 mins), Igor Vetokele (sub Cristian Ceballos 46 mins)
Subs: Josh Staunton, Jordan Beeney,
Brentford: Mark Smith; Audrius Laucys (sub Chris Mepham84 mins), Daniel O'Shaughnessy, Yoann Barbet, Tom Field; James Ferry, Reece Cole, Lewis Macleod; Courtney Senior (sub Herson Rodrigues Alves 25 mins), Bradley Clayton (sub Kyjuon Marsh-Brown 80 mins), Jan Holldack
Subs not used: Nik Tzanev, Gradi Milenge