Brentford B defeated Southampton Under-23s 1-0 at Griffin Park on Wednesday night. Josh Dasilva scored the only goal of the game in the second half.
Fullback Rico Henry also played his first 45 minutes for Brentford in over a year, looking sharp in a performance that drew praise from his teammates and Head Coach.
It took 11 minutes for the game to produce its first chance, Ali Coote cutting in from the left and shooting low. Goalkeeper Adam Parkes got down well to tip the ball wide of the post.
Henry was using his pace a lot down the left wing in the opening exchanges, which almost lead to a goal after 17 minutes. He played a neat one-two with Coote, before squaring to Joe Hardy in the box. Hardy set it back for Coote but the Scot blasted his shot wide of the right post.
Henry almost turned provider again with 22 minutes gone. A drilled ball across the box was met by Hardy, his header being parried away by Parkes.
Just before the half hour, Southampton created their first real chance of the game. A corner kick found Harry Hamblin’s head in the box, it bounced down and away from Patrik Gunnarsson but Nikolaj Kirk was quick to react and clear it off the line.
Brentford almost took the lead in bizarre fashion on 34 minutes. A through ball for The Saints cannoned off referee Matthew Downey and The Bees looped it forward to Hardy. The striker’s effort was blocked by the defender, sparing the official’s blushes.
With only four minutes to go before the break, Coote laid the ball off to Luka Racic just in front of goal. The defender swung his foot at it but didn’t make a great connection and it sailed wide.
A couple of minutes later, Kirk let fly from distance but his effort was wild and the ball curved wide once again.
Racic stormed forward again just after the start of the second period, laying a pass off to Hardy in the penalty area. The ball fell to the feet of the striker but he couldn’t direct it over Parkes.
After 52 minutes, Gunnarsson came out to punch a corner clear, but couldn’t get a proper connection on the ball. Jonathan Afolabi managed to get something on it but sent his shot over the bar.
A few minutes later, Charlie Oliver was given an extraordinary amount of room in midfield to drive forward. He took aim and shot from 30 yards but it fizzed wide left of the goal.
Just before the hour, Cole Dasilva had a chance in the opposition penalty area. The ball had been pinging around the box before it fell loose to the fullback. He clipped a ball towards the target but it dropped just over.
With 20 minutes to go, Jaakko Oksanen lost possession under pressure in midfield. The Saints streamed forward with Afolabi but his ball in was cleared away by a back-tracking Jan Zamburek.
A few moments later Brentford had the ball at the other end, Josh Dasilva volleying narrowly wide from close range.
Then the midfielder got himself on the scoresheet, his first in red and white stripes. Collecting the ball on the edge of the box, he took a touch before firing a shot into the top left corner.
From there, the game was one. Brentford had dominated and continued to do so into the dying minutes.
Will Ferry looked likely to get in behind the defence late on but was stopped by a strong header away by Racic, a key figure in the back line all game.
The final big chance of the game even fell the way of the home side. Substitute David Titov clipping a ball into the box from the right, Hardy the closest one to sweeping it home but it was cleared.
Brentford B: Gunnarsson; Kirk, Racic, Oliver, Henry (sub C. Dasilva h/t); Oksanen, J. Dasilva, Zamburek; Coote, Hardy, Finnsson (sub Titov 78)
Subs (not used): Andersson, Edobor
Saints U23: Parkes; Ramsey, Hamblin, Klarer, Johnson; Jankewitz, Rowthorn; Tella, Mdlalose (sub Hansen 64), Afolabi (sub Ferry 83); N’Lundulu (sub Norton 83)
Subs (not used): Rose, O’Driscoll, Vokins, Robise