Ellery Balcombe admitted it was a bit of a trip into the unknown as Brentford B took on Shanghai SIPG Under-20s on Tuesday. The Chinese Super League club were the latest challenge for Kevin O’Connor’s B Team as the two met at Jersey Road yesterday. It took The Bees 44 minutes to find an opener through Ali Coote before they took control after the break with goals from Theo Archibald and a double for Chiedozie Ogbene. With no pre-match analysis or information about their opponents, Ellery admitted it took The Bees a while to get to grips with the game.
Speaking to IFollow Brentford after the victory, Ellery said: “It was a good team performance. We weren’t so great in the first-half but we pulled together in the second-half. It was good for me to keep switched on in the opening minutes to make those early saves. We had no analysis on them so it was a completely different challenge going into the game. It was good for the team to adapt. The first five minutes our goal was to see what they were doing and what shape they were playing. We figured it out quite early which was good.”
The win was Brentford B’s sixth straight success and sets them up nicely for next Friday’s Griffin Park encounter against Belgian side Anderlecht, kick-off 7.30pm. Ellery believes that confidence is high within the group and he is looking forward to getting back out on The Bees home pitch.
“We are growing in confidence; we had a bit of a bad patch but we are bouncing back from that,” explained Ellery. “We have been playing high-quality teams so it is good to get the results. It will be a good experience for us to play at Griffin Park in front of a big crowd under the lights. It will help us in later life.”
The win and clean sheet capped off a good fortnight for the 18-year-old after he helped England’s Under-19s qualify for this summer’s European Championships. Ellery played in The Young Lions opening two games, keeping a clean sheet in the 3-0 win over Latvia, as the defending champions booked their spot in Finland. Having established himself as first choice last month, Ellery is keen to ensure that remains the case for the summer.
“It was good to get a few more caps and for England to qualify,” revealed Ellery. “It is always nice to go away with England and it was a great experience. It is always an honour to play for my country. It was good to secure the number one shirt for this camp and to get the two wins. I want to just keep up the form at Brentford and hopefully it takes me to the number one shirt in the summer.”