Siriki Dembélé’s early penalty was the deciding factor as Brentford B suffered defeat at the hands of Peterborough United this afternoon. There were 90 minutes for Josh Clarke while Nikos Karelis came through an hour in Cambridgeshire as the B Team played the first of their two matches in 30 hours. On weight of chances, Neil MacFarlane’s side were well worth at least a draw but Conor O’Malley in the home goal was in no mood to be beaten.
Traffic issues caused by the heavy rain blanketing the south of the country meant a delayed kick-off, and when the game did get underway The Bees quickly found themselves behind. Dembélé’s run into the box was brought to an unlawful end, the striker picking himself up to stroke the ball into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Peterborough’s experienced line-up, which included eight members of Darren Ferguson’s First Team squad, looked like they might put the game to bed in the early exchanges. The only attempt The Bees were able to muster was a first-time effort from Karelis which arced over the bar from 12 yards.
At the other end, Kyle Barker dragged a shot wide from 25 yards, Dembélé struck a post from inside the D, and defender Rhys Bennett looped a header into the arms of Patrik Gunnarsson.
However, as the game ticked past the half-hour mark, The Bees suddenly sprung to life. Karelis was the first to be denied by O’Malley, the stopper spreading himself well to smother the striker’s angled drive. From the resulting corner, Cole Dasilva’s well-struck effort was turned away by O’Malley at his near post before Jayden Onen was left rueing his luck as the Irish keeper plunged low to tip his curling shot behind.
The chances continue to come right up to the interval as The Bees ended the half very much on the front foot. Joe Hardy and Matej Majka both saw shots blocked in quick succession while Onen was given time to measure a shot on the edge of the box; O’Malley in the right place to beat the ball away to safety. For all Brentford’s late dominance, they were almost hit on the break, Dembélé looking set to grab his second but for a superbly timed Tom Field challenge inside the area. From the resulting corner, Khaya Rudette-Gregory tamely headed behind.
The Posh had the first chance of the second-half through Aaron Powell but after that the game was almost exclusively played with Brentford on the attack. A pitch slickened by the pre-match rain and a referee who seemed intent on giving as few free-kicks as possible, led to a very open 45 minutes of football with The Bees getting into good positions time and time again.
Majka was becoming a more central figure; the nimble-winger having strong shouts for a penalty turned away before he brought another fine stop out of O’Malley and had a goalbound effort blocked by the body of Bennett. Ali Coote also saw a pair of shots repelled by blue-shirted defenders as The Bees peppered the home goal.
Dasilva took the wind out of Alex Woodyard with a shot which caught him a-midships as The Posh put bodies on the line. The rhythm of the game was disrupted by a host of Posh changes inside the final 20 minutes and that also seemed to knock The Bees out of their stride. While still seeing plenty of the ball, that possession wasn’t been converted into chances as regularly as it had been.
Indeed, it was only to pace of Clarke which prevented Dembélé making it 2-0 as he broke through the middle, The Bees man recovering well to make a goalsaving challenge inside the area. MacFarlane’s side did fashion one final chance to level matters but, not for the first time over the course of the afternoon, O’Malley was there to repel the effort which came in from a Trailist.
Brentford B are straight back into action tomorrow night with a trip to Kent to take on Beckenham Town in the London FA Senior Cup First Round.
Brentford B: Gunnarsson; Clarke, O’Connor, Field, Dasilva; Onen, Oksanen; Hardy, Coote, Majka; Karelis (Trialist 61)
Subs not used: Andersson, Koutismouka
Peterborough Starting line-up: O’Malley; Mensah, Rudette-Gregory, Bennett, Powell; Woodyard, Barker, Burrows; Tasdemir; Dembélé, Kanu