Jon De Souza's side suffer defeat in final home game of the season
Ryan Ferguson’s goal in second-half stoppage time prolonged Brentford U18’s losing streak in the U18 Professional Development League Two South this afternoon, as they lost their final home game of the season 2-1 to Leeds United at Jersey Road.
Danny Parish’s tenth goal of the season had put Brentford ahead after 20 minutes, but two minutes later the Whites levelled through Mallik Wilks’ close range finish. The second-half was limited to very few chances, but in the third minute of added time Ferguson looped a loose ball over the Brentford defence moments after Wilks had contentiously collided with goalkeeper Cameron Greaves.
There was a straight swap at the centre of defence as trialist Jarvis Edobor replaced fellow trialist Jacob Bodean, Romayne Pennant and David Titov returned to occupy the full-back slots, whilst Tyrick Mitchell started on the left wing; Jeremiah Kamanzi made his first start since the end of January.
Both sides started the game in a hurried fashion, but lined up in similar formation and the spark soon died out, with nothing to separate the sides; The Bees’ 20-yard free-kick - that George Harmes curled over – was the highlight of the first 20 minutes.
That said, the build-up play had been impressive and after 21 minutes, The Bees drew first blood. On the edge of the area, Julius Fenn-Evans knocked a little ball beyond the defence for Parish to run on to; the striker curling a low shot with his weaker left foot that clipped goalkeeper Will Huffer and crept inside the far post.
Reacting to going behind, Leeds had crowded out the penalty area and when a failed clearance fell to Wilks, the highly-rated teenager made no mistake with a clinical finish inside the six-yard box.
Lewis Knight wasted a chance to put the visitors in front 11 minutes from the break when he missed the target with a free header at the far post from Matty Downing’s cross; Kamanzi tried to finish off a slick Brentford build-up, but hit his shot straight at Huffer.
Early in the second half, Harmes missed the target with another free-kick before Sean Bird almost gifted the Whites a goal when Clark Udour robbed the ball from his feet on the edge of the area; fortunately the striker saw his effort cannon off the post before being cleared.
Leeds U18’s manager John Anderson had seen his side suffer a similarly hard season to Brentford, but having beaten The Bees in the FA Youth Cup 3rd Round in December, and having won two of their last away games, the tie was very much in Leeds’ favour.
Captain Jack Vann headed a corner wide before the officials ruled that two well-worked Leeds goals within three minutes of each other should be disallowed for offside, much to the disapproval of the Yorkshire side’s players.
Brentford continued to press for a winner in the final ten minutes, but never really looked like scoring again; another Harmes free-kick flew over the bar before Pablo Gonzalez struck a shot straight at Huffer.
In the final minute of stoppage time, a Tom Pearce ball dropped on the edge of the area that was attacked in an aerial challenge between both Wilks and Bees goalkeeper Cameron Greaves; neither could gain possession but substitute Ryan Ferguson took advantage and hit a lofted shot that dipped under the bar to cross the line, evading the helpless Brentford defence and ensuring the home side failed to earn a point for the fifth game in succession.
Brentford: Cameron Greaves, Romayne Pennant, Jarvis Edobor, Sean Bird, David Titov, Jeremiah Kamanzi (Pablo Gonzalez 46), George Harmes, Tyrick Mitchell, Julius Fenn-Evans, Shawkat Tahir (Luke Dunn 74), Danny Parish (Courtney Austin 64)
Unused subs: Zeno Rossi, George Hunt
Leeds United: Will Huffer, Mike Taylor (Jake Croft 47), Matty Downing, Alfie McCalmont, Jack Vann, Ronaldo Viera, Mallik Wilks, Callum Nicell (Tom Pearce 56) Lewis Knight (Ryan Ferguson 74), Clark Udour, Jamie Shackleton
Unused subs: Jovanni Sterling, Henry Rollinson