2021/22 has been yet another successful campaign for Brentford B. The past year or so has witnessed many highlights where the young players were tested in all manner of environments to continue their development. We’ve had a new member of the squad make his First Team debut in Nathan Young-Coombes following a 34-goal season, whilst more players have been involved with their international sides. We round-up some of the most eye-catching results for various reasons for Neil MacFarlane's side.
Crystal Palace XI 1 Brentford B 1- 10 August 2021
It was August and the sunshine was beating down in South London. The B Team came into the test with a Crystal Palace XI following three fixtures where they beat Cambridge United and Southend United but were also beaten by Dulwich Hamlet. In their way at Palace’s training ground was an XI which boasted the likes of Jack Butland, Nathaniel Clyne, Conor Gallagher and Martin Kelly. As for The Bees they had Mads Bidstrup to call all from the First Team. It was an impressive performance from the B Team, who had to come from behind, after Christian Benteke controlled well before firing past Matthew Cox with a clinical finish on 37 minutes, despite Brentford seeing a fair bit of the ball and looking threatening throughout the opening period. The second half saw Butland save Alex Gilbert’s low penalty before the side did manage to get level just a minute or so later. A corner into the box found Fin Stevens at the far post who headed home to make it 1-1. The side kept pushing and were unfortunate to have a goal ruled out late on when Lachlan Brook cut onto his left foot from the right and curled an exquisite effort off the crossbar and post before the ball bounced down and the keeper cleared. Replays showed the ball did cross the line before the clearance but the referee wasn’t convinced as it ended 1-1.
QPR B 1 Brentford B 3- 15 September 2021
A West London derby is an exciting encounter whether it’s a First Team game or a B Team fixture. Grosvenor Vale, the home of Wealdstone FC, was the September setting for an impressive Brentford display as they were on top from the off. It took the side just six minutes to go in front when Brook and Jan Žambůrek combined for the ball to find its way to Nathan Young-Coombes who struck sweetly to make it 1-0. The second goal then came for The Bees as Stevens crossed from the right and Brook appeared unmarked to pop up with a header low into the goal giving the side a two-goal advantage going into the break. Young-Coombes then made it 3-0 from the penalty spot before QPR got themselves on the scoresheet through Martell Taylor-Crossdale as the game finished 3-1.
Brentford B 3 Aris Limassol 2- 18 November 2021
The young Bees were bound for Cyprus in November as tours made a return due to travel restrictions largely easing across Europe. This meant for the first time since March 2020 the B Team were able to go and compete abroad as they had done many times prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. The side were given the opportunity to compete in the Korantina Homes Cup- a first team tournament which included sides such as Pafos FC, FC Rodina Moscow, Aris Limassol, Riga FC and AFE Fútbol from Spain. The match with Aris Limassol came as the third instalment of the side's stay in Cyprus and the match came about in circumstances which forced the side to show togetherness, spirit and quality in abundance. Having been beaten by Pafos in the opening fixture, the B Team then faced Rodina Moscow where they were beaten 3-1 on 17 November. Due to the structure of the tournament, and with The Bees finishing third in their group, they had to go again the next day for their final match against Limassol despite there being a small squad available to Neil MacFarlane and his staff. Having just played 90 minutes the day before in hot conditions, the side returned to Kouklia Stadium to face an experienced Limassol who had the luxury of changing their entire XI every 30 minutes. The opener then came on eight minutes as Joe Adams was found in a bit of space on the left before he crossed low for Brook to finish first time with his right foot. After the first 20 minutes Limassol began to see a bit more of the ball but they were limited to shots from distance with Andreas Frangos seeing his effort saved by Roco Rees. Limassol then made 11 changes after half an hour as they gave minutes to players ahead of their upcoming league action. It didn’t take too long for the second XI to level as a cross from the right was headed home from close range by Daniel Sikorski. Limassol started quick in the second period too as Sikorski grabbed another from close range just five minutes after the restart as a ball across goal was slotted home well by the Austrian. 70 minutes came and The Bees drew level in style as Brook grabbed his second. Once again, he combined with Adams before lashing an effort home from the edge of the box as the side deservedly got themselves back into the game. They got in front just eight minutes later as Tristan Crama rose highest to head home from a corner to grab his third of the season with a powerful effort as the side impressed with the victory.
Swansea City XI 2 Brentford B 2- 7 December 2021
If it was sweltering in Cyprus, South Wales provided the complete opposite in December in stormy conditions. In Brentford's way was a Swansea XI with players very much in and around their first team. It took them just one minute to go in front as Liam Walsh converted from the penalty spot following an earlier foul by Nathan Shepperd. The leveller from Young-Coombes then came on 11 minutes as fantastic pressing and work rate saw him cut out the Swansea keeper’s pass before he slotted home from close range to make it 1-1. Brentford B started the second period positively and they went ahead on 59 minutes. Fantastic pressing once again saw Žambůrek win the ball high before he found Young-Coombes, and the youngster rounded the keeper before composing himself and firing powerfully past the two Swansea defenders on the line. As Swansea looked for a leveller they managed to get down the right-hand side before a coming together between substitute Val Adedokun and a Swansea player in the box saw the referee point to the spot to award the home side their second penalty. Michael Obafemi then stepped up to convert the spot kick as the match finished 2-2.
Brentford B 1 Brøndby IF 0- 8 February 2022
February saw the B Team back abroad as they were invited to take part in the Atlantic Cup in Portugal. The Atlantic Cup is an annual tournament which takes place in the Algarve with teams from across Europe, who are often on their winter break from their domestic fixtures. The young Bees, who do not operate in a league, had the opportunity to join those first teams out in Portugal to test themselves against senior opposition. Their three matches in the tournament saw them drawn with Breiðablik from Iceland, before facing Danish side Brøndby and then Halmstads BK from Sweden. Brøndby fell as the middle game for Neil MacFarlane's group and the Estádio Algarve was the venue. Coming up against the reigning Danish champions seemed to galvanise the young group, who were boosted by the addition of Nathan Young-Coombes and Daniel Oyegoke to the squad after their First Team exploits back home. The opener came about through fantastic pressing as Jaakko Oksanan won back possession before he played an excellent pass into the path of Young-Coombes, who cleverly chipped the ball home into the bottom right-hand corner from a fairly tight angle. A resilient and mature display saw the side forced to defend well as they saw out the match to claim a wonderful three points.