Brentford FC have been offering young journalists the chance to sample life in a Sky Bet Championship Press Box. As part of the Club's relationship with the University of West London, students have been invited to attend games and write match reports. The Club will publish some of those on brentfordfc.com.
As a platinum partner of the club, UWL’s logo is on the top tier of the Brook Road Stand at Griffin Park, in a visible sign of the university’s commitment to supporting the local community as a provider of first-rate higher education courses. The university’s brand also features on the rear of players’ shirts and shorts across the First Team and B Team playing kits. Fundamental to the community-focused collaboration is delivering educational programmes that help forge bonds between the Club and students, associated businesses and local organisations in Ealing and Hounslow boroughs. One of those is the Press Box opportunity.
Student Heather Hayes attended Brentford's Championship match with Sheffield United in April. The game will be remembered for horrific spring weather and Chris Mepham getting his first Brentford goal. Heather's report, which has only been edited in a minor way, can be seen below.
Brentford held Sheffield United to a point in a game where both teams finished with 10 men.
On a rainy day at Griffin Park, the action only began in the second half with the visitors scoring first in the 55th minute. Brentford failed to close down in their area and Chris Basham took a shot from outside the box. The effort took a heavy deflection off Josh Clarke and left Daniel Bentley wrong footed, United were 1-0 up.
But Chris Mepham dented Sheffield United’s hopes to claim all three points by picking up a loose ball from an Ollie Watkins freekick and driving it low into the right-hand corner, scoring his first goal in professional football and giving Brentford the equaliser they needed to stay in the game.
However, celebrations for Brentford’s equaliser were short lived as Brentford’s midfielder Ryan Woods and Sheffield United’s goalkeeper Jamal Blackman were both shown straight reds following a clash over the ball.
During the first half Brentford had slightly more possession and more control of the game but failed to test United’s goalkeeper unduly. A shot from Henrik Dalsgaard was comfortably saved and Sergi Canós’ shot was blocked. In tough conditions, Brentford had clearer chances but Nico Yennaris failed to hit the target with his long range shot slicing wide. Sheffield United looked dangerous on the break but both Leon Clarke and Billy Sharp weren’t clinical enough to convert their chances into goals. Sharp failed to put the ball in the back of the net when clear on goal on a few occasions.
Sheffield United started the second half on the front foot and seemed to be pressing for the winning goal. They produced more chances and looked more likely to score. But Daniel Bentley was the thorn in Sheffield United’s side in the last 15 minutes with three crucial saves. Bentley saved twice when Clayton Donaldson was through one on one with the goalkeeper. He also kept out Leon Clarke’s chance, which ensured that Brentford would take away a point.
Despite having dropped off a bit in the second half, Brentford had their own chance in the 82nd minute to secure a win. Good build up play led to a Neal Maupay effort that went straight at the goalkeeper. A stronger finish was needed in order to really test former- Brentford goalkeeper, Simon Moore.
“We never created any chances really” admitted Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith. “Our final ball in and around the box just wasn’t good enough today and we were fortunate to get a point in the end.
“We probably had more possession but every time we had an opportunity to counter, we gave them the ball back.
“The big positive from today is that Chris Mepham got his first goal”.
“The organisation of the team was good,” said Sheffield United Manager Chris Wilder. “We had the best chances and it was a proper football match in tough conditions, where both teams went for the win.
“I don’t think many teams have come to Griffin Park this season and had that many opportunities to win a game. We leave disappointed and frustrated, but in a good place going into the last seven games of the season.”