FA Cup Third Round day remains a special one in the football calendar, and this year’s provided several Cup upsets, where lower league sides embarrassed higher ranked opposition. Thankfully the Bees’ trip to Vale Park wasn’t one of them. Dave Lane looks back on an entraining trip to Staffordshire, where Brentford eased into Round Four.

Overall

This was a very professional and solid performance by Brentford, who swerved a potential banana skin Cup tie in style. The score line may be slightly harsh on a Vale side up who upped their game in the second half and put us under the cosh for a 15 minute spell either side of their goal, but the Bee always seemed to possess that extra bit of quality to finish the job off, which is how it transpired. The return of Ajer, alongside Pinnock, Mads Bech and debutant goalie Lössl made for a solid, confident defence… they soaked most things up and passed the ball around the back with a swagger… and coming forward we really stretched our hosts. Marcus Forss scored a peach to break the deadlock, and it seemed no more than we deserved at the time, following wave after wave of attack. The introduction of Bryan Mbeumo in the second half then proved decisive…. His three goal salvo blew any chance of a Vale revival away after they almost equalised, and we breeze into the next round.

Best Performers

Mads Bistrupp was the man of the match for sure, having impressed everyone inside Vale Park. The youngster buzzed around the pitch showing the class and vision many had hinted at from his B team days and set up numerous opportunities. Take a bow!

Other performances of note were provided by Bryan Mbeumo, who came back from injury with a bang, and debutant goalie Jonas Lössl who caught the eye, his aerial strength and calmness under pressure (apart from one walkabout moment) had the fans talking about the possibility of a more central role while David Raya recovers. Ajer looked a class above too.

Room for improvement
Ghoddos and Wissa were given starts but didn’t shine in my opinion… and Myles Peart-Harris will be kicking himself for an ‘open goal miss’ shortly before he was hacked down for the late penalty, when Ivan Toney allowed Bryan to complete his hat trick. Not a day for too much criticism however, every player looked in their comfort zone and there wasn’t really ever a time where an upset was on the cards.

A word on the opposition

Vale were decent second half and really gave it a go, cheered on by a lively home crowd who turned out in good numbers. Harratt scored with a diving header before Lewis Cass curled a shot inches wide… David Worrall then went close to equaling before Bryan Mbeumo’s delicious run and shot found the net to snub out any comeback. The queues outside the ground before kick off show that they were up for the Cup and, despite the result, there was enough on show to point to a successful season where promotion has to be the main objective.

Overall

This was a positive afternoon and an entertaining match. Bees fans travelled in good numbers and the team produced plenty to talk about and give us confidence that there are players on the fringe that can come in and do a good job. The challenge of the week ahead will be very different, with trips to Southampton and Liverpool, however, there’s a strong spirit in the camp which points to more happy days ahead. What are the odds of getting Leicester City at home in the Fourth Round for the third season in a row I wonder?

Dave Lane
@beesotted100