09:00AM, Thursday 07 January 2021
Photo Credit: Mark D Fuller, Brentford FC
Maidenhead United 0, Brentford B 3
There was valuable game time for Alan Devonshire’s Maidenhead United on Monday afternoon when Brentford ‘B’ visited York Road for a friendly fixture, writes Neil Maskell.
The Magpies have been without a match since Boxing Day due to the postponement of their most recent scheduled matches at Barnet and Wealdstone due to COVID-19 issues at those clubs.
The likes of long-term absentees James Comley and Dan Sparkes got much-needed minutes on the pitch whilst Josh Smile and Seth Twumasi were given starting places against a talented young side on the fringes of the first team squad at Championship title-chasers Brentford.
Goal scorers Aaron Pressley and Max Haygarth – the latter a recent signing from Manchester United – have both featured in the high-flying Bees EFL Championship campaign this season and there was plenty of other first team experience in the visitors’ line-up, not least the introduction for the final fifteen minutes of Sam Saunders – a veteran of more than 200 Brentford appearances.
The Bees got off to a flyer and stung the Magpies three times within the first fifteen minutes of this encounter. Firstly Pressley turned impressively to rap home the opener past Taye Ashby- Hammond and a matter of minutes later Valgeir Valgeirsson and Haygarth combined to set up the big Scot for his second. The Magpies showed their rustiness once again with a little over a quarter of an hour played when Haygarth finished smartly from an acute angle at the end of Alex Gilbert’s through ball. After that uncertain start, Maidenhead improved markedly and following a cross from Smile, Danilo Orsi saw a shot smothered by Jared Thompson in the Brentford goal before Bees skipper Ben Hockenhull cleared the follow up effort from the in-form Magpies striker off the goal line. Manny Parry’s header from a Sparkes corner was deflected over before Ryan Upward’s saw a goal bound effort blocked following Ryheem Sheckleford’s cut back.
The second half saw a raft of substitutions and Maidenhead came closest to a consolation when Sam Barratt’s free-kick whistled wide before the Magpies top-scorer headed a Sparkes free-kick into the midriff of Thompson. Between times, Sparkes headed home a Barratt cross but was denied by an offside flag as United grew into the game as they strived to maintain their match fitness.
Magpies assistant manager and former Brentford player Ryan Peters was pleased with the run-out: “It was brilliant that Brentford were able to accommodate us as it would have ended up being quite a lengthy break without match action. With the period we have over the next few months, we felt it was important to try and keep the momentum but also to try and get some miles into some of our boys returning from injury. Although Brentford ran out worthy winners, it was great to see some of our boys back. Fingers crossed, soon the Gaffer will have a fully fit squad to choose from.”
Magpies: Ashby-Hammond, Massey, Parry, Clerima, Sheckleford, Twumasi, Sparkes, Comley, Smile, Upward, Orsi.
Substitutes all used: Barratt, Blissett, Donnellan, Ince, Keetch, Smith.
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