Brentford B reached the final of the London Senior Cup in the last match ever to be played at Griffin Park. Brentford teams have been playing in this corner of TW8 for almost exactly 116 years and the next generation of The Bees closed the stadium with a comprehensive win over Erith Town this evening. Brentford B dominated their London Senior Cup Semi-Final and recorded a 6-3 win to bring the curtain down at Griffin Park.
The 2019/20 season will always be known as the most unusual in English football history. The Covid-19 outbreak extended the campaign well past its expected May 2020 end date and the London Senior Cup is still ongoing. Brentford B reached the final of the 2018/19 competition and will now face Hendon in the 2020 final. They will aim to go one better than last year and take home the trophy this time.
The extension of the season, and the restrictions on gatherings, also meant the closure of Brentford’s historic stadium did not go as planned. The stadium was meant to close in front of a capacity crowd, but Brentford B still ensured the stadium ended in the right way. As the final competitive First Team game saw The Bees beat Swansea City in a Play-Off Semi-Final after their best season since 1947, Brentford B also ended with a win, and one that was rarely in doubt.
The Bees were 2-0 up just past the quarter hour as a midfield trialist scored one and then set one up for Aaron Pressley. They had plenty of other chances in a fine first 20 minutes but were pegged back when Ben Hockenhull headed in to his own net to give Erith a lifeline. But the trialist scored again before half time to restore the two-goal cushion and there was no way back for the visitors. Gustav Mogensen scored a second half hat-trick to ensure that two more Erith goals were mere consolation.
Erith ply their trade in the Southern Counties East Football League, known as the Kent League until 2013, and were in the ninth level of English football in the abandoned 19/20 campaign, three promotions away from the National League South. They struggled to deal with the intensity Brentford were playing at for much of the contest but showed quality in attack at times, utilising dead balls effectively. They could have taken the lead when Danny Gannon cut in off the left and let fly with a fierce shot, but Brentford’s trialist goalkeeper was well positioned to save.
While that was notice of Erith’s attacking ideas, most of the first quarter of the contest was played at the other end. The Bees dominated the midfield, with Arthur Read sitting deep and allowing Julian Carré and the trialist to roam, while Mogensen and Joe Adams stretched Erith with their running on the flanks. With Fin Stevens and a trialist left back offering support out wide, The Bees were a constant attacking threat.
The trialist left back was involved when Brentford took the lead. He worked the ball to Mogensen, and his cross was met by the trialist midfield player. The first shot smacked the crossbar and while Erith stood and watched, the trialist picked up the loose ball and had a better aim the second time, rifling home.
Mogensen was unable to control an Adams pass when through on goal and the two combined again soon after. Adams got on to a quick free kick and delivered a cross that Pressley couldn’t reach, Mogensen arrived at the far post but steered his shot in to the side netting from a tight angle. Erith goalkeeper Lewis Collier then saved at the feet of Mogensen after he played a one-two with the livewire trialist midfield player. But Erith could have scored when Gannon was unable to reach a Steadman Callender cross at the far post.
The second goal Brentford had been threatening came just past the quarter hour. Pressley could have set up the midfield trialist when he won the ball deep in Erith territory and put him in for a one-on-one, but Collier won the battle. Erith could not, however, clear. Read picked up the ball, worked it to the trialist on the left and when the cross came in, Pressley finished.
Pressley hit the post soon after when he got on to a deflected Adams cross and then forced Collier in to a save from a snap shot from the inside right channel. But Erith could have scored when Gannon got away from Kane O’Connor and forced the Brentford goalkeeper in to a save. And they did score soon after when a free kick was played in to the box and Hockenhull nodded in to his own net.
The game was more even in the middle of the first half. Brentford’s trialist goalkeeper was forced to claw out a corner from Dan Nash that appeared to be bending in and Taylor McDonagh shot wide for Erith, who were having more of the ball. But Brentford weathered the storm, began to take control of the midfield again and had the game just about sewn up by half time.
Read came close with an effort than faded just past the post and it took a fine tackle from McDonagh to stop Pressley getting a shot away ten yards out. Pressley also headed over and the midfield trialist chipped an effort over the bar after turning well. But he had already made it 3-1 by that point when he created space on the edge of the penalty area and lashed the ball in. It may had taken a slight deflection, but Collier wasn’t stopping it anyway and The Bees had their two-goal lead back.
Pressley pulled a shot wide and Adams curled an effort off target after cutting inside but Carré went closest to a fourth before the break. He let fly with a shot from 25 yards that was arrowing in to the top corner before Collier pushed it away. The Bees had the initiative at the break and seemed to have the game well under control but would have been looking for more goals after the interval.
The midfield trialist shot wide looking for his hat-trick but the start of the second period was stop-start. Erith made two changes at the break, and then another when one of their substitutes was injured, while Pressley made way for Wraynel Hercules just after half time. With free kicks and cautions as well as stoppages and substitutions, the flow of the game was lost.
Brentford did, however, put together a move to make it four. Hercules got free on the right and drilled a ball perfectly in to the six-yard box for the arriving Mogensen to poke it past Collier. But Erith refused to give in and scored almost immediately, albeit it was a moment for Brentford’s trialist goalkeeper to forget. The ball was played deep and the trialist came rushing out, shouting loudly, to punch away on the edge of his penalty area. He did not, however, count for McDonagh beating him to the ball and the header from the Erith man looped in to the net.
There was, however, to be no fightback. Callender volleyed over after good work by Jake Lovell for Erith but it was already 5-2 by that point and it was six soon after. Mogensen got both of those goals for The Bees to complete his hat-trick and ensure he had an evening to remember on the final night at Griffin Park.
The fifth was a special goal from the Danish youth international striker. He picked up a ball forward from the trialist and broke in to the right channel. Keeping the defender at his back he lifted a shot over Collier from a tight angle and celebrated as it rolled in off the post.
The sixth was a little more prosaic. Adams was the architect of that one, weaving his way in the penalty area and getting off a shot that was well saved by Collier. Mogensen arrived to tap in from close range and complete his hat-trick. The midfield trialist could have joined him in making a claim on the match ball when he was set up for a shot from 18 yards, but he lashed it straight at Collier. Aubrel Koutsimouka also watched Erith scramble away a header from a deep corner as The Bees pushed for goals.
Instead, the next one, indeed the last one, came at the other end. Callender got on to a long ball that split Brentford’s reorganised defence, Simon Andersson – on for Brentford’s trialist goalkeeper – came out to meet him and the ball was lofted over him and in to the net. Andersson saved a header from Joe Bingham and Mogensen saw a shot blocked at the other end as both teams went looking for the tenth goal of the evening.
But the tenth goal never came. The final score on the final night at Griffin Park was a 6-3 win for Brentford B. The Bees now move on to the next stage in a new home and the final season at Griffin Park is definitively over.
Brentford B: Trialist (sub Andersson 61 mins); Stevens, O’Connor, Hockenhull (sub Trialist 61 mins), Trialist; Carré (sub Koutsimouka 61 mins), Read, Trialist; Adams (sub Trialist 77 mins), Pressley (sub Hercules 48 mins), Mogensen
Bookings: Carré (54 mins), Trialist (86 mins)
Erith Town: Collier, Nash, McDonagh (sub Ash 90 mins), Mahal, Jonah, Fairweather-Oates (sub Lovell h/t); White (sub Juma 82 mins), Bingham; Power (sub Eldridge h/t (sub Gamble 54 mins)); Callender, Gannon
Bookings: Bingham (55 mins)