Brentford returned to the scene of the crime – Meadow Park Borehamwood – where last season they snatched victory from their Hertfordshire neighbours at the start of an FA Cup run which would see them eventually pitch themselves up at Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea in an replay.
At the end of the day the Bees, who barely got out of 2nd gear, were worthy 3-1 winners with a brace of quality goals from Stuart Dallas and one corker from Clayton Donaldson.
Brentford fielded a fairly strong side – paying Borehamwood more respect than Celtic did Brentford on Saturday when they fielded a team of mainly reserve players and triallists – giving the opportunity for a few of the Bees’ injured players to get a run-out.
Into the team came Will Grigg, Clayton Donaldson, Toumani Diougouraga and Scott Barron – all recovering from injuries.
Boldt, an American keeper recommended by ex Bees striker Gary Blissett, was plotted up in goal.
O’Connor and Pierre played centre back. The infamous Javi Venta right back with Barron at the left.
In the middle we have Diagouraga and Reeves … With Saunders and Dallas out wide.
Up front we have the 40 plus goal pairing of Donaldson and Grigg.
Bees started brightly and dominated the game without managing to penetrate. Javi Venta looked dangerous as his piercing runs from defence down the wing caused problems. The Borehamwood keeper Russell looked decent and did well to get down and push Donaldson’s shot around the post early on.
Borehamwood actually scored against the run of play. On the break, the ball was crossed high into the area and Boldt misjudged it as it came down from orbit (we thought he was fouled but apparently not) and Callum Willock bundled in to head home.
To be fair to the 17 year old, he made amends a wee while later with a fingertip save over the bar. But on three or four occasions, his goal kicks and clearances were straight out of the “Stuart Nelson goalkeeping manual”. Something he needs to work on in his remaining week down at the training ground.
Dallas equalised for Brentford as half time approached. A sublime cross from the wing (we though initially Grigg .. But have a feeling it was Venta) was met by Dallas on the edge of the area who’s shot rifled into the back of the net.
HT – 1-1
The second half saw Olyeke on for Barron and other than a tremendous 25 yd curling strike from Borehamwood’s Noto just after kick off, it was all Bees as the team really upped the ante. Russell in the Borehamwood goal worked hard to keep the score down to a respectable level.
On 55 minutes, Saunders runs through the midfield and picks out Donaldson who rifles the ball home from 20 yds.
And on 85 minutes, Russell’s goal clearance drops well short. Dallas runs in to nip the ball off the toe of the defender trying to collect the loose ball and hits the back of the net from 20 yds.
But that wasn’t all the action. A sublime cross from Venta found Saunders who placed a 20 yd shot into the far left corner of the goal which Russell somehow managed to get a toe to and clear. And late in the game, substitute Hayes had his shot miraculously saved from point blank range by Russell. There were also great goalbound opportunities from Reeves, Grigg, Donaldson, Adams, O’Connor, Olyeke and Diagouraga.
There were lots of positives from this game.
First of all, it gave the injured players a chance of a decent work-out and they all came through the test unscathed.
Kev O’Connor was solid in defence. Cool. Calm. Collected
Pierre was good but not quiet as experienced as his mentor. It will come
Boldt pulled off some tremendous saves but his distribution was poor at times and he hesitated a few times. Something for him to work on in training during his week here
Venta showed that he isn’t gonna be playing no bit-part down at Griffin Park. He graces that wing and knows how to deliver a pass. Looks like there’s gonna be a tussle for the right back berth this season
Barron worked the left wing hard – a very attack minded defender. Created a few opportunities.
Saunders once again worked mighty hard terrorising the opposition with his incisive midfield play. He is showing the determination and passion of a young 17 year old coupled with the maturity of a 30 year old.
Reeves was lively in the centre with his runs, passes and attacking play
Diagouraga was a lot quieter in midfield. First game back. Had a couple of clear cut chances but skyed them
Dallas got the big thumbs up from the 100 or so Brentford fans who made the trip to sunny Hertfordshire. Two well taken goals. Extremely attack minded – not afraid to run with the ball. Works well with his team mates creating chances. This young lad is fighting his way into Uwe’s starting IX
Donaldson did what Donaldson does. Work hard. Be a pain in the arse to defenders. Score goals
Grigg showed signs. He worked hard to bring players into the game. Needs more game time and maybe Brentford to sign another striker to keep him on his toes (ed note. Since going to press news has leaked via the Liverpool press that Everton striker Conor McAlney is due to join us imminently)
Olyeke’s 60 yard crossfield pass to the feet of Saunders was sublime
With the Brentford team tonight being a fairly even mix between the A team and the B team, the main thing that this game highlighted was the incredible depth of squad we now have. And with just one final pre-season friendly remaining before the first match of the season away at Port Vale, after last season’s disappointment … Brentford fans can at least feel that this team has actually not gone backwards or sideways … It has definitely taken some huge leaps forward. Which can only be a good sign.