Brentford came from a goal down at half time to start their 2017/18 pre-season schedule with a win over Aldershot Town. The Vanarama National League side held the lead at the break thanks to a Bernard Mensah strike but The Bees hit back after the interval. Reece Cole levelled things up within three minutes of the re-start and then lashed home from nearly 30 yards to put Brentford in front. Sergi Canós made it three goals in eight second half minutes for The Bees to ensure the game was sewn up by the hour mark. Canós grabbed his second inside the final 20 minutes and Florian Jozefzoon made it 5-1 late on.
The game, played on a warm summer evening, was very much one of two halves. The first period was very even, with the hosts probably just about deserving their half time lead, but the non-league side had no answers as both teams rang the changes at the interval. Aldershot looked incisive in attack and used pace, particularly on the flanks, to good effect before the break while Brentford tried to play through the centre of the park with Josh McEachran knitting things together. But the central areas were congested in that first period and there were few chances of note.
Aldershot’s goal came just before the half hour. John Egan appeared to have the ball under control in the centre of Brentford’s defence but was robbed and Mensah had a clear run on goal. He had little problem in slotting past Luke Daniels and in to the net. The first period was mostly played in Brentford’s half and the chances there were mainly came for the home side. Bobby-Joe Taylor hit a defensive wall with a free kick and Manny Oyeleke, the former Brentford midfield player, fired wide.
The home side had a goal ruled out before the break as Mensah was flagged offside before setting up Scott Rendell to tap in. They took the lead soon after and Daniels had to be well-positioned to save from Mensah to keep the score at 1-0. Shamir Fenlon could have made it two for the hosts but failed to connect with a Taylor cross at the far post when he looked destined to score. Brentford did not create much in the first half – Zain Westbrooke shot well over and Ryan Woods had an effort blocked by Jack Cook after Maxime Colin had picked up a raking pass from Yoann Barbet and fed it inside.
The Bees had played some good football in the first period but Aldershot’s tenacity in midfield and pace going forward had made it a tough contest. After the break, Brentford had complete control and could have scored more than the five they got. Cole and Nico Yennaris were almost untouched in the centre of the field and with B Team central defender Chris Mepham offering some ballast just behind them, Brentford poured forward. Wingers Jozefzoon and Theo Archibald gave Brentford pace, drive and balance and Aldershot could not cope.
It took less than three minutes for the second half changes to take effect. Cole robbed Aldershot central defender Toafiq Olomourae, played a one-two with Canós and raced clear to slot past Mark Smith and level it up. And four minutes later the turnaround had been complete. Jozefzoon left right back Jack Barthram trailing in his wake as he sped clear, his cross was half cleared but Cole picked up the loose ball and steadied himself before smashing in from 28 yards. It was a goal that would grace any game and gave Brentford increased confidence.
Aldershot had barely had a kick in the early stages of the second half and they found themselves two goals down 11 minutes after the break. Jozefzoon was again the architect with a run down the left, his cross found Canós and the Spaniard’s low shot on the turn squeezed through the hands of Smith and rolled over the line. The former Brentford goalkeeper should have kept the shot out but that would only have delayed the inevitable.
The Bees poured forward looking for goals with the defenders keen to join it. Canós saw a shot deflected wide following a magnificent surge from the back from Harlee Dean. And from the resulting corner, Mepham and Canós set up Henrik Dalsgaard for a shot that was blocked. Alafabi Coker headed over for the hosts and Jim Kellerman had a shot blocked before Matt McClure missed the target when well placed. But most of the action was at the other end.
Cole had eyes on a hat-trick when he let fly with a free kick from 25 yards but he hit the defensive wall. The fourth goal did come soon after when Dalsgaard darted forward on the right and cut the ball back for Canós to poke it home. Cole’s attempt to back heel home, after more good work by Canós, was blocked but Archibald then put Jozefzoon away with only Smith to beat and he lifted a shot in to the net to make it five. Smith prevented Jozefzoon making it six late on but Brentford had got what they needed from the evening by that point and now move on to a pre-season training camp in France as they continue to prepare for the new season.
Aldershot Town (First Half): Smith; Alexander, Evans, Cook, Arnold; Nabay, Oyeleke; Fenelon, Mensah, Taylor; Rendell
Aldershot Town (Second Half): Smith: Barthram, Olomourae, Coker, Shaw; Gallagher, Kellerman; Fenelon (sub Wrightman 63 mins), Okojie, Mensah (sub Kirwin 63 mins); McClure
Brentford (First Half): Daniels; Colin, Egan, Barbet, Field; McEachran; Clarke, Woods, Westbrooke, Clayton; Shaibu
Brentford (Second Half): Daniels; Dalsgaard, Dean, Onariase, Henry; Mepham; Archibald, Cole, Yennaris, Jozefzoon; Canós