We had to wait ten days to begin our EFL Football Manager Cup campaign but it was certainly worth the wait; David Raya saving twice in the penalty shootout as we squeezed past Shrewsbury Town and into Round Three last night.
That only goes some way to telling the drama of a remarkable entrance into the competition where we trailed twice and saw an almost certain winner from Christian Norgaard chalked off in the 116th minute.
Despite all the teams in the competition being allocated the same rating to even out the field, the early stages in the pouring rain went very much to league position. Norgaard saw a long-range header cannon off the bar inside three minutes while Bryan Mbeumo was well denied by Joe Murphy as we dominated possession and territory. Shrewsbury's sole first-half effort called for a fine Raya save to tip Norburn's scorching drive wide.
The second-half started in a similar vein with Said Benrahma bringing a low save out of Murphy, Mathias Jensen lashing over the rebound. Benrahma was then inches away from diverting Henrik Dalsgaard's looping cross home moments before the away side struck; Sean Goss' 25-yarder sneaking in off the post.
Sam pushed his side forward and it paid off 14 minutes from time as Ollie Watkins converted at the second attempt from inside the six yard box. Pontus Jansson should then have won it in the dying minutes but he headed over from seven yards.
The extra half-hour was less than three minutes old when The Shrews re-took the lead. This time it was Jason Cummings the beneficiary of Whalley's burst down the right, half-volleying home from 12 yards. However, the away supporters barely had time to finish celebrating before we were level. A foul on Jansson inside the area gave substitute Emiliano Marcondes an opportunity from the penalty spot that he didn't pass up.
With penalties looming there was yet more drama right at the death. Norgaard bundled a loose ball over the line only to have his, and Brentford's celebrations, cut short by a marginal offside call.
Into the shootout and with Marcondes, Nikos Karelis, and Watkins all successful from 12 yards it was left to Raya to finally secure our passage through with his save from Whalley.
The Third Round draw will be made this Sunday afternoon.
As well as supporting The Bees during the tournament, you can also show your support for the EFL’s charity partner, Mind, the mental health charity. In these tough times their services are needed more than ever so while you’re being entertained by the action, please consider donating on this JustGiving page which will be open during the tournament.