WYCOMBE WANDERERS 2 BRENTFORD 2

Donald Kerr was one of the 591 Bees supporters who travelled to Adams Park and saw deeper into Brentford’s rich seam of talent with few sightings of the bigger names.

 

After a summer break that has seen goodbyes, good buys and at least one surprising buy, we are now well into the phoney war that is the pre-season round of games. With only two weeks to the Birmingham game, many travelling to Adams Park might have expected to see a fairly strong team sprinkled with a few of the more promising B teamers. 

However, with news reaching fans of a behind closed doors game having been played against a Premier League side 24 hours earlier, those expectations were revised.

In the event, it was more a case of the B team with a few first  teamers ensuring there was sufficient experience to provide a genuinely entertaining  game for the 1500 or so that paid to see it. Wycombe had a similar mix on show, with three trialists in the starting 11 and 4 more on the bench. 

As at Wimbledon earlier in the month, the Bees started very slowly, perhaps in this case due to some  players adjusting to less familiar positions. Wycombe were sharper in the early moments and duly took the lead after 10 minutes, a cross from the right eluding the Bees defence and converted by one of the trialists. Up front for Brentford, Emiliano wore the no 9 shirt with the increasingly impressive Jan Zamburek and Fredrik Hammer busy alongside him, supported by Mathias Jensen and Josh da Silva in midfield. We didn’t see much evidence of the understanding that Jensen and Marcondes apparently developed at FCN but it was impossible to make any judgements in such a makeshift side. Jaako Oksanen was played as a deep lying defensive midfielder, at times making up a back three, and was not able to stamp his authority on the game in the way he had done regularly in the B team games. Pontus Jansson – did he look smaller in a Brentford shirt than he did in the colours of his previous employers – was very steady at the back and, apart from bouncing off Akinfenwa a couple of times, was never really troubled. He more than fulfilled his role as captain and mentor to those less experienced around him and made himself constantly available to receive the ball. Unfortunately, just before the half hour, Canice Carroll didn’t cope quite as well against “the Beast” when rising to challenge the big man in the box and as he crashed to the deck the ball hit the back of the net to make it 2 nil. However, 5 minutes later in one of Brentford’s few incursions into the final third, Mattias Jensen picked up the ball on the left and ran past two or three defenders and passed to Zamburek who managed a shot which the goalkeeper only palmed to Hammer to pull one back. The half finished with a free kick for the Bees which would surely have resulted in an equaliser if Jansson had managed to connect with a diving header. Overall though, the impression was one of lots of possession but chiefly in our own half. 

At half time, Thomas made only two changes, with Patrik Gunnarsson replacing Luke Daniels, and Ali Coote coming on for Jensen. And immediately it seemed as if we had changed up a gear, with Coote instrumental in much of the change of pace. Much more like the Brentford quick and incisive passing we are used to, with Tom Field and Josh Clarke both more dangerous on the wings than in the first half, getting the ball more quickly and taking the game to the opposition. Wycombe, so busy and at times threatening in the first 45, were much less dangerous after the break, and with Akinfenwa no longer there as a target man, they struggled to pose our defence any problems. Coote was enjoying the familiarity with Zamburek and Hammer in midfield, and was linking up with the ubiquitous and more effective da Silva too. It was no surprise when, on 70 minutes, a run through the middle by Coote resulted in the equaliser, his own shot rebounding from the post to the feet of Marcondes who put it away. 

As in all these pre-season encounters, the last 20 minutes were pretty untidy, with both teams making a series of substitutions. There were few goal scoring chances but it gave the travelling fans a chance to see a few more of the promising B team squad, with Kane O’Connor looking assured at centre half, a position in which we appear to have strength in depth, and Gustav Mogensen looking as if he could in time fill the role of old fashioned big target man up front. He came on for the last ten minutes with Cole da Silva and Jayden Onen 

Overall, more interesting for sight of the potential talent lying behind the first team, with several individuals providing confidence that the business model is working. A behind closed doors game against Norwich in mid week will all but complete the “practice” games with the final one against Bournemouth to follow next Saturday. With so much focus on more potential ins and outs“will he stay or will he go?” it will be a relief when the real business starts on August 3rd.

 

Wycombe Wanderers: Allsop; McCarthy (sub Trialist 62 mins), Stewart, Trialist, Trialist (sub Trialist h/t); Smyth (sub Kashket h/t), Gape, Pattison (sub Freeman h/t), Trialist (sub Trialist h/t); Bloomfield (sub Mackail-Smith 62 mins); Akinfenwa (sub Samuel h/t)

Brentford: Daniels (sub Gunnarsson h/t); Clarke (sub Mogensen 84 mins), Jansson (sub O’Connor 62 mins), Carroll, Field; Oksanen (sub Onen 84 mins); Žambůrek, Jensen (sub Coote h/t), J. Dasilva, Hammar (sub C. Dasilva 84 mins); Marcondes