BRENTFORD 1 BOURNEMOUTH 3

Stewart Purvis reports on the last pre-season friendly to be played at Griffin Park.

Brentford started without Romaine Sawyers, who at eleven o'clock on match day was announced to be a WBA player, and all three of last season’s most regular starters upfront. According to Thomas Frank, Ollie Watkins had a ‘niggle’, Neal Maupay had ‘ a lot of interest’ and Said Benrahma ‘had rehab’. The replacement front line was Sergi Canos on the left, 18 year old Czech midfielder Jan Zamburek on the right and in the middle was Emiliano Marcondes, with number 10 on his back and playing more in that position than a striker.

There were Griffin Park home debuts for centre-backs Pontus Jansson and Ethan Pinnock, goalkeeper David Raya and midfielder Christian Norgaard. The Spaniard and the Dane were soon in action preventing goals from Bournemouth attacks. Raya stopped Brooks and Norgaard seemed to block Stacey’s shot with his face.

At the other end most of the action flowed from the combination of Canos and Josh Clarke who seemingly had returned from the wilderness of a loan to Burton to contention as cover for Rico Henry at left wing-back. Canos’s energy almost got him into trouble when he dived into one tackle on former Brentford club-mate Chris Mepham, who shrugged it off, and another on Jefferson Lerma who noticeably did not.
Brentford had as much possession and bright ideas as their Premiership visitors without creating as many chances. And on a day when a new defensive formation was on show -Pinnock was particularly impressive in the air- it was disappointing that three goals were conceded. The first came when Jordan Ibe managed to outfox Jansson, Jeanvier and Raya to fire in.There could have been another goal just before half time when Raya, whose distribution had until then looked comfortable in the face of a high press, passed straight to Lerma but then managed to scramble away his shot on goal. In the second half Bournemouth scored two goals from crosses converted by Dominic Solanke and Sam Surridge, doing exactly what Brentford had failed to do so far, get a striker active in the box.
But now Marcus Forss, brought on at half time to do just that was beginning to warm to his task. Marcondes had moved to the left replacing Canos who was judged to have done enough. Forss played a much more direct and effective role than Marcondes had done. Josh Dasilva, auditioning successfully for the Romaine Sawyers memorial role in midfield, made one of his customary powerful runs forward. Danish substitute Mathias Jensen- one of six Scandinavians in the Brentford eleven at the time- played a nice touch to another, Finnish Forss. Earlier Forss had hesitated when a chance was on but this time he put it through the legs of goalkeeper Mark Travers. 
It cheered up the Bees fans, especially those soaked by a rainstorm and provided a bright note to end what had been a creditable performance overall against a stronger side. It also illustrated a selection choice for Thomas Frank before the home opener against Birmingham City next Saturday. If by then Neal Maupay has been sold or is distracted by the remaining transfer window, does the Head Coach go for Marcondes or Forss as his lead strike.  A straw poll of the Bees United board showed a preference for Forss over Marcondes as long as the midfield gets the ball to him quickly rather than trying to walk it into the net. Alternatively Frank could go with Watkins if he is still a Brentford player by then or someone we don't yet know of could have arrived. Bees fans now enter a 12 day transfer window twilight zone waiting to see which frontline will emerge to take the club into the final season at Griffin Park. 

Brentford: Raya; Jeanvier, Jansson, Pinnock; Dalsgaard, Dasilva, Nørgaard (sub Oksanen 85 mins), Clarke; Žambůrek (sub Jensen 71 mins), Marcondes, Canós (sub Forss h/t)

AFC Bournemouth: Travers; Mepham, Butcher (sub Cordner 78 mins), Aké; Stacey, Lerma (sub Anthony 85 mins), Kilkenny (sub Sherring 85 mins), Rico; Brooks (sub Surridge 71 mins), Solanke, Ibe