Bees come from behind to win second match in three days
Brentford B had to come from a goal down in the first half to win 2-1 at Wigan Athletic's Christopher Park training ground this afternoon. The Latics scored early in the game before a second half brace from Herson Alves turned the tables in The Bees' favour.
Flemming Pedersen made four changes to the side that beat Manchester United 3-2 on Saturday. Dimi Kyriatzis started his first game of the season, while Jarvis Edobor replaced Manny Onariase in the back four. With Bradley Clayton dropping into the centre of midfield, Danny Parish came in to lead the line beside Alves and Kyjuon Marsh-Brown.
With a light outbreak of snow falling in the early stages, Wigan scored in just the third minute of the game. Centre-back Chris Mepham looked to have been fouled when he tried to pass the ball back to Kyriatzis and was tackled heavily by an attacker, instead the referee waved play on and the home side scored from a squared pass.
Kyriatzis was then forced into making two good saves as Wigan put pressure on their opponent's back line. The first was to palm the ball over with a shot that came in from the wing, the next saw him spring to his right in order to parry a swerving effort past the post.
The game quickly became a very physical test in the middle of the park, with each team struggling to get the ball into the final third and create an attack. Ilias Chatzitheodoridis felt the full force of this when he was brought down by a very strong challenge on the halfway line and the referee offered the offender a word of warning. Mepham then tried to spark the comeback with a quick shot from distance but it didn't have enough power behind it and was saved.
The best chance of an equaliser came in the final moments of the first 45 minutes. Reece Cole picked out the run of Clayton as he burst into the box but the forward couldn't control it as it zipped off the slick turf and the opposition goalkeeper was grateful to see it roll into his gloves.
At the break, with the temperature dropping another few degrees in the Northwest, both Pedersen and Kevin O'Connor did their best to install some much-needed confidence in their team. When the game resumed, the squad responded gallantly. From the first whistle it was obvious that The Bees were charged up, as Cole raced forward in search of the ball and forced Wigan to go all the way back to their substitute keeper.
Zain Westbrooke was the first to break their back four when good pressure resulted in some space for him to run forward, only for the goalkeeper to smother the ball after racing off his line. At the other end, Brentford's defense was looking sturdier too. Wigan had the ball in the net amost immediately on the counter attack but an organised line meant the assistant referee could raise his flag for offside.
After ten minutes of heavy pressure, The Bees were rewarded when Marsh-Brown was brought down just inside the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. Alves stepped up to power home the kick and level the match.
Substitute Raphael Assibey-Mensah should have put the away side into the lead when Brentford worked the ball across the pitch to him in space on the left side of the box. He hit the ball with pace but straight at the goalkeeper.
In the 79th minutes, Alves got his second. Under heavy pressure, Cole managed to dig out an immaculate chip pass to Luke Dunn down the left side of the box. It looked like Wigan were going to snatch the ball back but Dunn worked hard to keep possession and drive a cross low for Alves to sweep home in the centre.
It could have been three or four by the time the final whistle went; Assibey-Mensah couldn't get enough power on his shot when he came one-on-one with the goalkeeper before Westbrooke missed the target by inches with an effort from distance.
Brentford B: Dimi Kyriatzis; Lukas Talbro, Chris Mepham, Jarvis Edobor, Ilias Chatzitheodoridis; Reece Cole, Zain Westbrooke, Bradley Clayton; Kyjuon Marsh-Brown (sub Luke Dunn 75 mins), Danny Parish (sub Raphael Assibey-Mensah 68 mins), Herson Alves