Lions win London derby at Jersey Road
Danny Parish’s third goal in two games wasn’t enough for a share of the spoils this morning as Brentford’s Youth Team lost 2-1 to Millwall at Jersey Road.
Despite The Bees’ early dominance, the two sides went into the break level at 0-0, but two minutes into the second half, Alex Mulrooney-Skinner scored a bizarre goal as his cross from the byline somehow evaded Cameron Greaves and crept over the line.
With ten minutes to play, Parish angled a shot past Ryan Sandford following Shawkat Tahir’s through-ball but just two minutes later, Junior Tiensa capitalised on a Lions counter-attack and curled in a shot from 20 yards.
Knowing a win could spring the Bees back into fourth place, Jon De Souza made a number of changes to the starting eleven; Ellery Balcombe was replaced by Greaves, whilst Jeremiah Kamanzi, Zach Birse and Kyjuon Marsh-Brown all returned to the squad; Sean Bird missed out after sustaining an ankle injury during the week.
After a string of impressive performances in January, Brentford had every right to be confident. And it showed on the pitch as they kept – and dominated - possession very well in the early stages. But a recurring theme over the course of the season has been their inability to convert this possession into results, as they found after 10 minutes; Noel Leighton had a 20 yard free-kick saved before Mulrooney-Skinner went close with a dipping first-time effort that flew over the bar.
The home side had their fair share of opportunities to put the game to bed before the half-time whistle, with George Harmes seeing his speculative shot fall wide of the target and Parish failing to get a proper connection on the half-turn after Luke Dunn had cut back for him.
Brentford went close again five minutes before half-time when left-back Romayne Pennant hit a long ball down the left wing to Marsh-Brown, whose shot was too straight and too close to Sandford to cause any trouble.
It only took two minutes for Millwall to open the scoring after the break; after chasing a wayward pass all the way to the byline, Mulrooney-Skinner sidefooted across goal and his cross-cum-shot was misjudged by Greaves who had no choice but to watch the ball cross the line at his far post.
Less than a minute later, Seth Owens prevented the Bees from going further behind when he threw his body in front of Lewis White’s shot after the striker had charged into the box and rounded Greaves.
With 20 minutes to play, Parish did well to beat the offside trap and square for substitute Shawkat Tahir but the under-15’s winger stuttered at the vital moment 10 yards out, when a goal looked to be a formality.
Millwall’s Eze Ebuzoeme and Brentford’s Giovanni McGregor both forced great saves from the respective goalkeepers soon after, before Parish finally grabbed the equaliser; a sumptuous ball in from Tahir fed Parish, who fired a low effort under Sandford for his seventh goal of the season.
Last week’s win 4-3 over Crystal Palace was the Bees first since a 2-1 victory over The Lions back on 17 October; but the first back-to-back wins since August were ruled out two minutes later thanks to Tiensa.
After Parish had penalty appeals waved away, the Lions started a counter-attack that was delightfully completed when first-half substitute Tiensa cut inside from the left-wing and held his nerve to angle a 20-yard shot into the back of the net.
Despite a tense final five minutes, which saw Pennant sent off for two bookable offences, The Bees couldn’t find an equaliser and now prepare for a home tie with U18 Professional Development League Two South basement side Bristol City at Jersey Road, next Saturday morning.
Brentford: Cameron Greaves, Romayne Pennant, Seth Owens, Zach Birse, Luke Dunn, George Harmes, Jeremiah Kamanzi (Tony Guppy 27), Kyjuon Marsh-Brown (Shawkat Tahir 65), Giovanni McGregor, Pablo Gonzalez, Danny Parish
Unused subs: Ellery Balcombe, Harry Francis, George Maxwell
Millwall: Ryan Sandford, Danny McNamara (Chris Queeley 63), Ronnie O’Donnell, James Fitzgerald, James White, Ryan Green, Alex Mulrooney-Skinner, Eze Ebuzoeme, Lewis White (Matt Day 65), Noel Leighton (Junior Tiensa 45+2), Matt Campbell
Unused subs: Joe Wright, Mason Saunders