Early goal condemns Brentford to friendly defeat
Brentford slipped to an undeserved defeat in their latest pre-season friendly, losing to Peterborough United. They fell behind during a slow start but dominated the rest of the match almost exclusively. They could not, however, find a way to level the match. Chances came and went and Peterborough goalkeeper Ben Alnwick denied The Bees repeatedly, keeping a clean sheet to give his team the win.
The game could not have started in a worse fashion for The Bees as they found themselves behind within three minutes. Tom Field was robbed as he moved infield with the ball and Peterborough took advantage. Marcus Maddison fed Shaq Coulthirst and he set up Paul Taylor to steer the ball past Jack Bonham and in off the post. Field acknowledged his mistake and Brentford had no chance to regroup once he had lost the ball.
It was a difficult opening for the hosts. The game was largely played in a congested centre circle and neither team were able to play enough football to open the other up. Both teams had their full backs high up the pitch and did not get players wide in the early stages so it was an attritional contest. It was Brentford that broke the game out of that pattern first, getting Sam Saunders and Romaine Sawyers wider and spreading the play with Ryan Woods at the heart of most of their forward movement.
Jan Holldack stung the palms of Alnwick with a shot that the goalkeeper spilled but no Brentford player was there to tap in. Scott Hogan then had a shot blocked after a nice turn and then saw a deflected effort saved. When Saunders released Hogan again soon after he tried to square for Sawyers to tap in but the ball was intercepted at full stretch by Jack Baldwin. As the half wore on Konstantin Kerschbaumer was finding pockets of space and had room to pick his passes or get shots away, although one from 20 yards midway through the first half failed to trouble Alnwick.
Peterborough were now playing on the counter attack but should have doubled their lead when Coulthirst’s blocked shot fell to Taylor 12 yards out but he screwed his effort wide of the far post. Most of the action was, however, at the other end. Sawyers and Kerschbaumer had shots blocked after nice interplay on the edge of the box before Field and Josh McEachran combined to set up Holldack for a shot that was blocked as it seemed to be heading in to the far corner.
Brentford continued to press for the leveller as half time approached and Hogan almost got it when he picked up a Saunders pass and rode a tackle but his chipped effort was saved. Hogan went closer still when he was set up by Kerschbaumer but this time his near post shot was palmed away. Brentford recycled the ball and Saunders blazed over the bar. Saunders went a little closer soon after when he cut inside and curled a shot inches over from 20 yards.
Hogan almost equalised just before the break when, after a series, of passes, he picked up a Kerschbaumer ball and fired towards the far post but Michael Smith was well-placed to block. That ensured Peterborough held the lead at the break, albeit Brentford had dominated most of the first period. And The Bees continued to hold the initiative after the break. Saunders screwed a shot in to the side netting just after half time before Hogan turned clear in the box but was unable to beat Alnwick with a toe-poked effort.
Brentford should have levelled ten minutes in to the second half but were unable to scramble the ball in. Saunders was released over the top and he picked out Lewis Macleod, the first shot was blocked before Hogan and Sawyers saw shots saved and Hogan then sliced wide as Peterborough’s goal led a charmed life. McEachran shot narrowly wide after good work by Macleod before trialist Emmanuel Ledesma fired just over the bar.
Peterborough were almost non-existent as an attacking forced but they should have doubled their lead at the end of a rare counter-attack. It came from a Brentford corner that was scrambled away. Coulthirst led the break and played a poor pass that failed to set up Maddison for a shooting chance when it was three-on-one. Maddison did, however, manage to get in a cross that Coulthirst somehow lifted over the bar from two yards out. It seemed easier to score than find the top tier of the Brook Road Stand but the Peterborough striker did just that.
Maddison shot over from 25 yards and then forced Bonham in to a low save while Yoann Barbet sliced a Gwion Edwards ball across his own goal. But apart from a short spell, Brentford were in complete control and in Woods they had the game’s outstanding player. With the start of the Sky Bet Championship season just 11 days away there were fewer substitutions and that helped the game as a spectacle, as did Brentford’s desire not to lose. Woods pulled the strings as Brentford poured forward in waves.
A Ledesma free kick deflected just past the far post before, from the resulting corner, Reece Cole set up Woods for a shot that flew inches wide. Lasse Vibe was just unable to reach a Philipp Hofmann cross to turn it in from inches out and the Danish striker then nodded a Woods cross narrowly past the far post. Cole blasted just over and Macleod missed the target from distance as the minutes ticked down.
Brentford almost levelled at the death after another scramble. A John Egan header was blocked before another defender got in the way of an acrobatic Hofmann effort. As Peterborough failed to clear, Cole then set up Egan for a shot that Alnwick saved. It summed up Brentford’s evening, they laid siege to the Peterborough goal but could not find a way through and ended up defeated.
Brentford: Bonham; Holldack, Egan, Barbet, Field (sub Mepham 83 mins); Woods (sub Clayton 86 mins), McEachran (sub Cole 75 mins); Sawyers (sub Vibe 65 mins), Kerschbaumer (sub Macleod h/t), Saunders (sub Ledesma 65 mins); Hogan (sub Hofmann 75 mins)
Peterborough United: Alnwick; Smith, Tafazolli, Baldwin, Hughes; Lopes, Forrester, Edwards; Maddison, Taylor; Coulthirst (sub Moore 86 mins)