Bees comeback to draw, then win shootout in Denmark.
The Brentford B Team came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with a youthful FC Midtjylland side during their week-long training camp in Denmark on Tuesday afternoon. The two teams then agreed to take penalties, with Brentford emerging as 4-3 winners.
Second half goals from Herson Alves and trialist Ilias Chatzitheordoridis brought Flemming Pedersen's side back into the game, before The Bees went on to dominate at the Vildbjerg Sports and Culture Centre.
Midtjylland started the match brightly and were ahead after just five minutes. A deflected cross looped towards the far post where FCM had a player on hand to nod home unmarked. A few minutes later a near-identical ball in caused similar chaos, this time the opposition could only smack the crossbar.
With Brentford struggling to get into the game, they fell further behind after 25 minutes. A corner came in from the left, wasn't cleared properly and a scramble broke out as each team attempted to get a foot on the ball. Eventually it popped out at the back post, where a Midtjylland forward was free to sweep the ball in from a few yards out.
The Bees' first chance of the match came after 33 minutes. Bradley Clayton went through on goal, released from his marker by Zain Westbrook's neat pass, but his shot was saved by the goalkeeper low to his left.
At half time, new signing Justin Shaibu was introduced up front for fellow new boy Marc Rio. The FCM goalkeeper nearly allowed the Danish forward to score with his first effort on goal, spilling the shot towards the goal, but he managed to spring back and stop it on the line.
Minutes later, Reece Cole forced another save as he drove the ball in from the edge of the box; the rising effort was narrowly palmed over the top. Straight down the other end, Dominic Kurasik made a good save of his own before Midtjylland once again struck the woodwork on the second attempt.
Brentford were getting closer and closer to notching a goal as the half went on. Reece Cole beat his man in the middle before squaring to Clayton, whose low shot was tipped agonisingly wide at the last second.
The Bees finally got a reward for their hard work in the 56th minute, with a goal that gained applause from the benches on both sides of the halfway line. Chris Mepham started the move in his own half, knocking the ball down the right wing to Lukas Talbro. The Danish fullback flicked it inside to Clayton, who fooled his opponent with the drop of a shoulder and turned away towards goal. The pass he produced for Alves to run onto was timed to perfection, cutting FCM's back four in half, and the finish was slotted neatly into the bottm corner of the net.
Three minutes later, Brentford completed their comeback. Chatzitheordoridis cut inside from the left wing to find a wide open space ahead of him, so he pushed on into the penalty area unimpeded. The first defender to challenge him mistimed his tackle, clattering into the back of the Brentford man and forcing him to the ground. With the referee immediately signalling for play to continue, it was quick thinking on Chatzitheordoridis' part to stick out his toe and poke the ball towards goal. With the goalkeeper distracted by what looked like a solid appeal for a spot-kick, he was surprised to see the ball pelting towards his bottom corner. He reacted far too late, only brushing his gloves against it as the effort flew beneath him into the goal.
Chances continued to fall for Pedersen's team as the time ticked away. Westbrook curled a shot inches wide after an hour, Clayton smashed one over after rebounding Cole's blocked effort and then had a skillful chip palmed away by the goalkeeper. Midtjylland had their moments, with brief spells of possession leading to several half-chances but nothing that needed to be dealt with enthusiastically by Kurasik.
The 88th minute of the match saw Shaibu go down injured after a collision with the opposition goalkeeper. Thankfully, he was able to be escorted off the pitch on his feet and replaced as a precaution for the final couple of minutes. With Nathan Fox ruled out of contention with a minor foot injury, goalkeeper Dimi Kyriatzis came on as an outfield player.
After 93 minutes, the referee called an end to the match but it had been agreed before the game that in the event of a draw there would be a penalty shootout. Westbrook, Cole, Clayton and then Onariase scored from the spot. Kurasik managed to save the first kick, then get close to the others as Brentford came out on top with a scoreline of 4-3.
Brentford B: Dominic Kurasik; Lukas Talbro, Chris Mepham, Manny Onariase, Ilias Chatzitheordoridis (sub Jarvis Edobor 77 mins); James Ferry, Reece Cole; Bradley Clayton, Zain Westbrook, Herson Alves (sub Danny Parish 69 mins); Marc Rio (sub Justin Shaibu 45 mins) (sub Dimi Kyriatzis 88 mins)