Bees include McCormack, Clarke and Hofmann in victory at Reading
Brentford B battled to a narrow victory over Reading at The Royals' Hogwood Park training ground this afternoon. Zain Westbrooke and Reece Cole put The Bees into a comfortable lead then Reading pulled one back all before the half time break.
The reverse fixture was played in October and saw Brentford emerge 4-1 winners at Jersey Road thanks to a hat-trick from Assibey-Mensah. The German was on the bench for today's game with Alan McCormack stepping into his position beside Westbrooke and Reece Cole. The other First Team players included were Jack Bonham, Josh Clarke and Philipp Hofmann.
Goalkeeper Bonham had to be alert in the early stages of the game when the hosts went through a good spell of pressure and could have easily taken the lead. His first save was a strong right-handed stop when the ball had been cut back across the face of goal, the second was an even better reaction stop when a shot from the edge of the box was struck fiercly towards the top corner.
Hofmann had the best of Brentford's early chances, breaking through for a one-on-one after Jarvis Edobor's ball from the back. The big German saw his shot saved by the onrushing goakeeper's legs.
After a quarter of an hour, Brentford scored. A relatively standard backpass was scuffed away by the Reading keeper, allowing Westbrooke to take control of it and then fire the ball home from distance.
Young Swedish winger Henrik Johansson was the next to test his opponents' defence, losing his marker to drill the ball narrowly north of the crossbar. Moments later, striker Lewis Grabban did exactly the same when facing Bonham at the other end.
Reading also included recent January signings Jordan Mutch and Adrian Popa, with Reece Oxford watching on from the stands around the pitch. Despite the vast experience in their ranks, Reading fell to a second goal with 35 minutes gone.
Cole was felled down the left side when trying to create an opening for McCormack in the centre, so the referee awarded Brentford a free-kick a few yards away from the penalty area. The resulting set piece was world class. Cole took it himself, bending the ball around the wall and into the top left corner of the net.
Two minutes later, disaster struck for Johansson. Running after a ball down the left hand side, he pulled up and signalled immediately to come off. After four minutes of treatment, he was stretchered off the field to be replaced by Marc Rio.
When the game resumed, Brentford's rhythm had clearly been interrupted and Reading capitalised. Driving to the byline, they cut the ball back across the goal and one of their forwards knocked the ball in from close range.
After the break, the match settled into a midfield exchange as each team tried to out-manoeuvre the other.
The Bees had two great chances to extend their lead from Hofmann and substitute Assibey-Mensah late on. The first was a header from the tall striker that dropped inches wide of the left post, the second was from the young midfielder bursting forward for a one-on-one only to slide his shot agonisingly wide too.
Brentford B: Jack Bonham; Josh Clarke (sub Jan Novak 76 mins), Chris Mepham, Jarvis Edobor, Ilias Chatzitheodoridis; Reece Cole (sub Raphael Assibey-Mensah 76 mins), Zain Westbrooke (c), Alan McCormack (sub Trialist 61 mins); Lukas Talbro, Philipp Hofmann, Henrik Johansson (sub Marc Rio 41 mins)
Subs Not Used: Ellery Balcombe