There was much to look forward to in the second-half of April with two games in 72 hours over the Easter Weekend and then a pair of West London derbies before the end of the month.
The busy run of fixtures couldn’t have started better as Lasse Vibe and Jota scored two each on Good Friday as Derby were put to the sword at Griffin Park. Vibe put Brentford ahead in a first half that they completely dominated and scored a fine third to make the game truly safe inside the last ten minutes. Jota scored the second and the fourth and led Derby a merry dance for much of the afternoon as Dean Smith’s side picked up a much deserved three points.
Next up was a trip to Oakwell with Florian Jozefzoon’s first goal in a Brentford shirt enough to earn his side a draw in an entertaining Easter Monday match against Barnsley. The Bees fell behind just before the half hour mark but equalised at the end of a first half that the home side had the better of. Jota, who set up Jozefzoon’s goal, saw a penalty superbly saved at the start of a second period that was thrilling as both teams went for the winner.
Six days later, Dean Smith and his team made history when they completed a league double over Queens Park Rangers for the first time in more than 50 years. Yoann Barbet scored his first league goal for more than a year and Jota grabbed two more as The Bees added to their 2-0 win at Loftus Road before Christmas. The Bees were well worth the win, they led 1-0 at the break and Jota’s two goals came either side of one for the visitors from Joel Lynch, and the Brentford fans were given plenty to cheer on a sunny afternoon.
The Bees final away game of the season was a trip to Craven Cottage with a goal from Nico Yennaris and a penalty save from Daniel Bentley helping the team to a draw against Play-Off bound Fulham. The Bees fell behind early on as the influential Tom Cairney scored but Yennaris burst from deep to level it up late in the first period. Cairney had a chance to restore Fulham’s lead with a penalty in first half stoppage time but Bentley made a superb save and that proved to be crucial. Neither team could find a way through after the interval and the spoils were shared in a 1-1 draw.
Kevin O’Connor’s B Team suffered a pair of defeats to end the month as first a Tottenham Hotspur XI came from 2-0 down to win 4-2 at Spurs’ North London training ground. Justin Shaibu scored twice in the first-half but the home side netted four without reply after the break to take the win. A few days later and The Bees suffered a penalty shootout defeat at home to the Right To Dream Academy after a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes. Shaibu scored his third goal in a week to level things up but Jan Novak and Joe Hardy were denied from the spot as the Ghanaian team took the win.
Young attacking midfield player Bradley Clayton extended his contract with Brentford’s B Team for a further season. The 19-year-old signed the new one-year deal to remain with The Bees until the end of the 2017/18 season. It will take his stay with the Club in to its second decade as he first joined Brentford as a nine-year-old.
With the initial phase of site clearing and demolition work progressing on schedule the Board of Lionel Road Developments Ltd – a wholly owned subsidiary of Brentford Football Club – accepted the resignation of Chris Gammon as a Director with immediate effect. His departure coincided with the completion of the land acquisition required for the Brentford Community Stadium, the start of demolition and site preparation and confirmation by Hounslow Council that the planning pre-commencement conditions had been met.
Brentford players and staff were out and about in the local community as part of the EFL’s Community Day of Action, showcasing the impact of football-led community programmes and activities in towns and cities nationwide. The day started with Konstantin Kerschbaumber and Philipp Hofmann visiting a BFC Futsal Training session before Jarvis Edobor and Chris Mepham got involved in a Kicks Social Inclusion session. The final event saw saw Rico Henry and Head Coach Dean Smith attend a Girls Development Centre session in Southall. The pair took over coaching part of the session and were happy to pass on advice and tips to the girls, aged between six and 16.
The club had reason to celebrate after it was awarded with the 2016/17 EFL Family Excellence Award. The Club was also presented with the Friendliest Club Staff Award by the EFL. The award recognises the outstanding experience provided by clubs for young fans and families, as well as their efforts to enhance the matchday experience.