Goals from Marcus Forss, debutant Christian Norgaard and Ollie Watkins got Brentford’s pre-season campaign off to the perfect start with a 3-0 victory over AFC Wimbledon.
Following an uneventful first period, the visitors dominated proceedings after the interval with Watkins a livewire in the final third.
Thomas Frank named a youthful side for The Bees’ first pre-season test with Jaakko Oksanen, Cole Dasilva and Ali Coote named in the starting XI. Ethan Pinnock was selected at the heart of a back three following his switch from Barnsley on Tuesday. Fellow new signing Norgaard appeared after the interval in an entirely changed second-half side.
It was the hosts who worked the first opening with a minute on the clock; Paul Kalambayi glanced a header across the face of goal and narrowly over the crossbar following an in-swinging corner from Brentford’s right. Wimbledon threatened again in the tenth minute. Mitch Pinnock’s deep cross was received in the area by Kwesi Appiah who took a touch before firing wide from 15 yards.
The Bees registered their first effort midway through the half. A neat interchange between Romaine Sawyers and Coote freed Emiliano Marcondes on the edge of the area but Wimbledon ‘keeper Nathan Trott was equal to the Dane’s low drive.
Wimbledon were getting most of their joy from wide areas. Shortly before the half-hour mark, Pinnock’s looped cross into the middle was met by Adam Roscrow but the frontman’s header was wide of the mark.
Having favoured a 3-4-3 system during the first period, Thomas Frank switched to a 4-3-3 system after the break to accommodate a second set of players.
Pinnock and Appiah combined again seven minutes after the restart - the latter nodding wide of Patrik Gunnarsson’s right post.
Brentford made the breakthrough on 56 minutes and it was all down to the persistence of Forss. The young Finn hustled and harried Will Nightingale, latching on to a poor header before cutting back inside the centre-half and firing home at the near post. The man who scored The Bees’ final goal of the 2018/19 campaign against Preston North End had opened their account for 2019/20.
Wimbledon sub ‘keeper Nik Tzanev was tested twice in quick succession as The Bees went in search of a second, first palming Josh Dasilva’s well-struck effort around the post for a corner and then denying Ollie Watkins with an excellent save low to his right. Watkins then fizzed a left-footed drive just over the crossbar.
Thomas Frank’s side netted a second goal on 76 minutes and it was no more than they deserved, Christian Norgaard marking his debut by turning home at the back post following a flick-on from Forss.
Watkins got in on the act seven minutes later, skipping past his marker and sliding past Tzanev to round off a slick Bees move.
AFC Wimbledon: Trott, Nightingale, Thomas, Wagstaff, Hartigan, Appiah, Roscrow, Pinnock, Stabana, Guiness-Walker, Kalambayi
AFC Wimbledon from 63 minutes: Tzanev, Collins, McDonald, Binnom-Williams, McLoughlin, Rudoni, Wood, Pigott, Macnab, Kaja, Osew, Assal
Brentford first-half: Daniels, Dalsgaard, Field, Dasilva, Pinnock, Oksanen, Canos, Coote, Shaibu, Sawyers, Marcondes
Brentford second-half: Gunnarsson, Clarke, Henry, Racic, Norgaard, Dasilva, Carroll, Watkins, Forss, Zamburek, Hammar