Christian Nørgaard and Emiliano Marcondes continued their return from injury by playing 80 minutes while Charlie Goode completed a full game as he continues his quest for full fitness after illness for Brentford B in a defeat to St Albans City. The Bees were on the wrong end of a 2-1 defeat to the National League South side but were able to use the contest to get more match time for Nørgaard, Marcondes and Goode among others. Marcus Forss scored the goal for The Bees, but they were unable to complete a comeback after falling 2-0 down thanks to a first half goal and a penalty just past the hour mark.
The game was played at a sedate pace for much of the first 20 minutes. The Bees dominated possession and created a couple of early chances but did not trouble St Albans goalkeeper Michael Johnson. Mads Bidstrup and Nørgaard saw a lot of the ball in midfield while the hosts presented two banks of four in defence and midfield for The Bees to play though.
Marcondes had a great chance when Jan Žambůrek rode a couple of challenges in midfield and found Forss on the right. The ball was cut back to Marcondes, but he missed his kick 12 yards out. Forss was involved again soon after, delivering a cross from the right that was met by Gustav Mogensen, but he could not direct it on target.
Shaun Jeffers had a sight of goal for the hosts when he got on to a cross from Mitchell Weiss, turned and shot first time, but the ball fizzed across the face of goal. Weiss was dropping in to midfield for the home side and trying to help them get a foothold in the game. St Albans were mostly happy to play without the ball and it took Brentford some time to build attacking momentum.
That momentum appeared to be coming when St Albans scored just past the half hour. Aubrel Koutsimouka went to clear a pass over the top but failed to make a god enough contact on a header and the ball ran loose. Jeffers got on to it and lofted it over Nathan Shepperd to put the home side in front. The goal was well finished but came when The Bees were building and Shepperd’s only role had been to assist in moving the ball across the defence.
Mogensen had failed to direct a header from a Bidstrup cross just before the goal and Marcondes had seen an effort deflect wide. Marcondes then fired wide at the near post when The Bees took a corner quickly before St Albans scored against the run of play. Weiss headed over at the near post later in the half, but the rest of the opening 45 minutes was played with Brentford building attacks and trying to level.
Mogensen had a great chance when Nørgaard, Forss and Marcondes linked and fed the striker in the inside left channel. He opened his body up but shot straight at Johnson. The St Albans stopper was then out quickly to beat Forss to a Nørgaard though ball and Koutsimouka had a shot from distance blocked. The Bees went in at half time behind but had a great chance to level before the interval. A ball in to the right channel found Fin Stevens and he got away from Romeo Akinola, he cut the ball back, Marcondes dummied cleverly and Nørgaard placed a shot wide from 15 yards.
That would have ensured deserved parity at the break, but The Bees had the momentum when the half time whistle blew. But the interval allowed St Albans the chance to regroup and the pace went out of the game in the early stages of the second half. Brentford still had the majority of the ball but were creating little and playing mostly in unthreatening areas.
The home side made changes at the interval and more on the hour mark, and it was one of those substitutes that created the second goal. Joseph Chidyausiku challenged Koutsimouka for a ball and got the better of the Brentford defender, before going down as he headed out of the penalty area on the right side. The officials decided a foul had been committed and awarded a penalty that Romeo Akinola stroked down the middle as Shepperd dived right for what proved to be the winning goal.
Chidyausiku went close again for the hosts when he beat Koutsimouka but fired wide. It was The Bees, however, that ended the stronger. They could have scored when Forss flicked a Bidstrup pass in to the path of Mogensen. The Brentford attacker was in on goal but chose to try and find Marcondes rather than going for goal and Luke Warner-Eley was able clear.
That only delayed things, however. The corner was played deep and Mogensen retrieved it. He played a cross back in, Mads Roerslev challenged and Forss got in ahead of Johnson to nod the ball in. That, however, proved to be all Brentford could muster. They pressed on in the final stages but failed to worry St Albans and the hosts got the win.
St Albans City: Johnson; Clark (sub Stanley h/t), Kalockzi, Mukena (sub Warner-Eley h/t), Bender; Sundire (sub Lankshear h/t), Wiltshire (sub Diedhiou h/t), Nwabuokei (sub Dawson 60 mins), Akinola; Weiss (sub Shakes h/t), Jeffers (sub Chidyausiku 60 mins)
Brentford B: Shepperd; Stevens, Koutsimouka, Goode, Roerslev; Bidstrup (sub Gordon 86 mins), Nørgaard (sub Brook 80 mins), Marcondes (sub Valgeirsson 80 mins); Žambůrek, Forss, Mogensen