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Brentford B Team

A trip to Ireland with Brentford B

Looking back at a week away in Dublin

15 February 2018

The Brentford B Team have just returned from a week away in Dublin, Irleand. This is a round-up of the action and what happened on match days one and two.

The trip starts with an opening fixture away to Dundalk on Wednesday 7 February. A freezing cold night draws in as the squad arrive after an hour-and-a-half on the bus towards the Northern Irish border. The squad get their legs moving again by taking a quick walk around the synthetic turf.

Oriel Park has seated stands along each flank and uncovered terraced ends behind the goalposts. It's not long before the wind begins to whip through the stadium and make conditions seem even colder than they are.

Goalkeeper Coach Jani Viander emerges from the dressing room first, bringing with him Jared Thompson and Dan Houghton for a warm-up before the other boys come out. Ellery Balcombe misses out due to an ankle injury but it seems like a precautionary measure to leave him out altogether.

Soon it's Zain Westbrooke who leads his team out for the warm-up with Strength & Conditioning Coach Paddy Moore. The largest stand, that houses the dressing rooms, begins to fill with people.

The PA system at Dundalk goes through some final tests as the boys job back in to get into their kit and return for the match. Head Coach Kevin O'Connor shuts the door and gives his players some final words of encouragement.

The game itself is an end-to-end affair, with Brentford controlling much of the first half. Ali Coote goes close in the first five minutes and holds his hands above his head as a great chance goes begging. The Bees score the first goal through Bradley Clayton. The attacking midfielder robs Stephen Folan of the ball before slotting it past the goalkeeper.

The second half brings a motivated home squad back out on to the plastic field. The hosts snatch two goals late on to turn the tables on their young guests and pick up a victory.

After the game, O'Connor tells iFollow: "That was their first team and it was a really good test. There was a good tempo to the game and I was really impressed with lots of aspects of our game. The result doesn't really reflect the game I don't think."

Goalscorer Clayton responds with: "We had chances, we had long spells on the ball and good attacking play. We just didn't take our chances today and a good team like that punished us."

The second fixture sees Brentford B face Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium, within walking distance of the team's hotel.

The pitch is grass so the squad have spent the previous day getting ready by training at local club Knocklyon United.

Tallaght Stadium is very similar to Oriel Park, except it was opened in 2009 and seems more modern. It has almost identical stands on either side of the pitch, with patches of grass at each end behind the goals. One end is currently a sea of blue hoarding as the club builds a new stand on the south side of the ground.

Ellery Balcombe is back in action as Jani Viander leads the goalkeeper warm-up. Then, just as before, it's Westbrooke who comes out first with the rest of the Brentford team. Moore puts them through their paces before Kevin O'Connor and Allan Steele get them into small groups for the final work before the match begins.

Fans of Shamrock have also been promised that tickets for their first away trip of the season will go on sale at half time of this match. So there is quite a crowd of people in the main stand. A lot are already lining up along the concourse to get to the head of the queue as the match gets underway.

This time it's the Irish side that take the lead first. After a first half that has seen Brentford look sloppy and slow, they are punished by a goal from Graham Burke.

The second 45 sees Brentford come out a changed team. They look hungry, they are chasing the ball and their hard work pays off as time goes by. 

The first goal to level the score comes from Theo Arcibald. While the strike itself is a wonderful curling effort that finds the corner of the net, it's the hard work from Lukas Talbro in the build-up that cannot be ignored. The Dane beats two defenders to the ball in the middle of the pitch, before linking a nice one-two off Joe Hardy on the last shoulder of the Rovers defence. It's then set back to Archibald, which allows the Scot the time he needs to shoot and score.

Almost as soon as they are back in the game, it's 2-1. Jaakko Oksanen, on just his second appearance for O'Connor's side, swings in a corner and Jarvis Edobor comes out of the crowd to head it home at the near post. It's Edobor's first goal for the B Team since it began last season, and he celebrates with his teammates knowing the importance of a goal so late in the game.

The final whistle brings an end to a thrilling second half for The Bees. It's a win and a loss to bring back to West London when they fly home the next day.

Kevin O'Connor still has time to tell iFollow: "We needed to liven them up at half-time and credit to them because they did get better in the second half. We managed to get the two goals, but we probably didn't quite deserve that victory I don't think."

Hard working Lukas Talbro rounds it off with: "We were told [at half-time] to just believe in ourselves, go out and play the way that we play. Everyone just had to step up because the first half wasn't good enough."

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