It’s been quite a campaign for Brentford B. Their 2020/21 games programme has recently come to an end and there are a number of highlights to look back on.
Under the stewardship of Neil MacFarlane and his coaching staff the side have been hard at work in their development. They’ve made significant strides on and off the pitch, and pulled off some eye catching results.
This season was always going to be one of adaptation as everyone adjusted to playing under the restrictions posed by Covid-19. With tours across Europe not possible, the team have sourced as many different fixtures as possible in England, and majorly in and around London.
They have tapped into the non-league area of the English game for fixtures which have provided fantastic learning curves for the young players. Added to that, the side have also continued to come up against elite under-23 sides from the Premier League such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Crystal Palace.
When looking back at the campaign, the involvement with the First Team can also be one of the major highlights. In total this season, six Brentford B players have made debuts for Thomas Frank’s side. Fin Stevens was the first as he stepped onto the field in a 3-0 win over Fulham in the Carabao Cup, and since then five more players have gone on to feature over the course of the season. As is customary, the players were presented with their match worn shirts which have all been signed by the First Team squad to congratulate the youngsters, who will be hard at work to ensure more appearances follow in the future.
Next up to follow Fin was forward Aaron Pressley who earned his first taste of First Team action on the road in Brentford’s 2-0 win over Rotherham United. The B Team Player of the Year was a late substitute for the side as he helped close out the victory. He then went on to feature another two times for the side, in the Championship against Nottingham Forest, before making his Emirates FA Cup debut in the home defeat to Leicester City. Aaron’s season with Brentford B has been a fantastic success having scored 19 times in 26 matches, and having recently signed a new two-year deal with the Club, he will be aiming to keep improving in the coming months.
Next up to make their debut was youngster Max Haygarth whilst he was on loan from Manchester United. The youngster hit the ground running with Brentford B and proved to have a knack of providing goals from wide areas for the side, and his impressive displays earned him his first taste of Championship action on 12 December away at Nottingham Forest. He was introduced as a late substitute in the 3-1 away win in Nottingham before adding further appearances in the FA Cup, firstly against Middlesbrough before then turning out against Leicester City. January 2021 saw Max make his loan move permanent from the Red Devils, though his season was cut short due to an injury in training. The youngster ended the campaign having found the net five times in 12 Brentford B appearances, and he will be aiming to keep up those sorts of scoring numbers when the new season arrives.
The FA Cup fixture with Middlesbrough saw two more debuts from Brentford B. Alex Gilbert was next as he started the match with Boro in the Third Round of the competition as the side won the match 2-1. Having played 90 minutes, Alex was also on the team sheet for the match against Leicester as he replaced Saman Ghoddos to play the final 11 minutes. The youngster has had a strong first season for Brentford B, netting 10 times in 22 games for the side. Whilst on trial he also found the net on two occasions in the final ever match at Griffin Park.
Left back Lewis Gordon earned his debut in the FA Cup match against Middlesbrough as he started the game and played the first 71 minutes. The summer recruit has been fantastically consistent for Brentford B this season, helping the side to lots of wins with his attacking edge down the left. He scored his first goal for the young Bees in the 6-2 win over Hendon in the London Senior Cup. Lewis played 32 times for the Brentford B during the 2020/21 campaign.
A summer signing from RB Leipzig, Mads Bidstrup has certainly impressed in a Brentford shirt this season. Having looked lively in pre-season he was dealt a blow when he picked up a long-term injury. No doubt, his character and personality left an impression on the group, and once fit he has not looked back. He was made to wait until February to get his first taste of action as he made his debut against Stevenage at The Powerday Stadium for the young Bees. Having built a lot of game time with the side in matches against the likes of St Albans City, Ebbsfleet United and Arsenal Under-23s, Mads was able to impress the First Team staff and become part of match day squads before making his debut on 10 April. He came on as a substitute against Preston North End in the side’s 5-0 win before going on to make four more appearances. He earned his first start against Watford at the Brentford Community stadium and also featured against AFC Bournemouth in the second leg of the Play-Off Semi-Final.