Bees suffer heavy defeat away in West Midlands
Brentford B suffered their biggest defeat of the season away to Birmingham City's Under-23s this afternoon. The Bees lost 5-0 to The Blues at the Wast Hills Training Ground.
While Flemming Pedersen was forced into several changes to his system, the hosts played a full strength team that included former Watford forward Diego Fabbrini as well as Welsh defender Rhoys Wiggins and club captain Paul Robinson.
Pedersen's side got the brighter start and should have had a penalty in the early stages. Marc Rio played Danny Parish in behind the back four, where he darted past goalkeeper Connal Trueman only to be caught by his flailing arms. Neither bench could quite believe it when the referee waved away the protests and carried on with the game.
Kyjuon Marsh-Brown then went close after 11 minutes with a header from a Herson Alves cross, this was saved by Trueman at his far post.
Dominic Kurasik had a very busy afternoon, which all started when he made two smart saves with quarter of an hour gone. The first he did well to parry away from danger and the second, minutes later, was a powerful effort that required a lot of concentration to catch and hang on to.
With 21 minutes on the clock, Marsh-Brown was released by Zain Westbrooke for another one-on-one against Trueman but he rushed his shot and the ball sailed over the crossbar.
Fabbrini had a clear chance to score when he shot wide of the left post on 30 minutes. This was followed by the opening goal, a reward for the mounting pressure on Brentford's goal.
Greg Stewart was given too much space on the egde of the box, allowed himself some room to shoot and fired at goal. The low shot came through a crowd of players and slipped beneath an unsighted Kurasik, who could only claw at the ball as it rolled over the line.
Just before half time The Bees thought they had found a way back into the game. Chris Mepham slid Nathan Fox down the right wing, where he accelerated away from his marker before pulling the ball back. The cross was deflected out towards the run of Parish, who took the shot in his stride and was unlucky to see Trueman get a hand to push it away.
With Brentford pushing high up the field, Birmingham took advantage of the final seconds of the half to counter with great precision. England youth international Reece Brown carried the ball all the way through the centre of the pitch before shooting as he reached the edge of Brentford's box. Jarvis Edobor made an attempt to block it, but could only deflect it further into the bottom corner away from Kurasik.
The Blues continued their high pressure approach into the second half, and it didn't take them long to notch a third.
Ten minutes after the restart, Stewart struck again with the goal of the game. Aware of the space around him, he moved the ball out of his feet 25 yards from goal before striking it into the top left corner.
Kurasik was in action moments later as Birmingham won the ball back quickly from Brentford's kick-off. Viv Solomon-Otabor went on a twisting run through a number of players before appearing in front of The Bees' goalkeeper. Kurasik did well to block the shot by staying big until diving hard to his right.
Substitute Raphael Assibey-Mensah went close to stopping the flow of the game but his shot from a narrow angle was closed down. Westbrooke then tried his bet to create an opening in behind but his cheeky backheel pass was just too heavy for Lukas Talbro to catch up with down the left wing.
Birmingham forward Jack Storer went one step closer to making it four when he found himself in a similar position on 66 minutes. He was quick enough to chip the ball over Kurasik but didn't anticipate Edobor getting back to head the ball off the line.
Two minutes later, Brentford crumbled under the huge pressure being exerted by the opposition. Birmingham scored their fourth and fifth goals in quick succession as Pedersen's side lost all sense of shape and organisation at the back. A low cross by Josh Dacres-Cogley was swept away from Kurasik's outstretched hands by Solomon-Otabor nipping in at the front post to score. Then Daniel Cleary took advantage of the chaos to score a free header from Stewart's corner.
To their credit, the B Team rallied in the final 15 minutes and halted any further damage. Birmingham made several changes to get fresh youngsters into the game but they couldn't manage a sixth.
Brentford B: Kurasik; Fox, Mepham, Edobor, Talbro; Alves, Westbrooke (c), Clayton; Marsh-Brown (sub Trialist 76 mins), Rio (sub Trialist 71 mins), Parish (sub Assibey-Mensah 56 mins)
Sub not used: Kyriatzis
Birmingham City U23: Trueman; Dacres-Cogley, Cleary (sub Maxwell 85 mins), Robinson, Wiggins; Solomon-Otabor (sub Lubala 77 mins), Stewart, Brown; Cooper (sub Baba 77 mins), Fabbrini, Storer (sub Popa 66 mins)