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Match Reports

Brentford 1 Preston North End 0

15 July 2020

An early goal from Ollie Watkins gave Brentford the win at Griffin Park, with home goalkeeper David Raya making three fine saves to keep out the Lilywhites.

Manager Alex Neil had made five changes to the side, reverting to the 3-5-2 formation that he had used the previous Wednesday, in the win at Hillsborough.

Ben’s Davies and Pearson both missed out through injury, with Andrew Hughes going into the left-side of the back three, alongside Patrick Bauer and Jordan Storey.

The team would have to battle from an early setback when Ollie Watkins fired home less than four minutes in from a right-hand channel 15 yards out, following a through ball from Emiliano Marcondes, the striker’s 25th goal of the season.

But following that goal, it was the home goalkeeper who was the busier for the majority of the half.

On 13 minutes the former Blackburn Rovers stopped David Raya made a great save to deny Tom Barkhuizen, who tried to lift the ball over him after being sent through by Daniel Johnson, who had nicked the ball in the centre circle and fed the PNE No.29, only for the keeper to spread himself well.

Just before the drinks break, Ryan Ledson fired in a half-volley on the edge of the box, after Joe Rafferty’s corner was cleared to his fellow scouser; the ball coming off Bryan Mbuemo and out for a corner.

Eight minutes before half-time Darnell Fisher went closest to levelling matters, with a 25-yard free kick, after foul on skipper Alan Browne; the shot went up and over the wall, heading towards top left corner, until superb save by Raya, at full-stretch, to turn the ball away.

Just before the end of the half, Declan Rudd, who had been the quieter of the two goalkeepers, made a fine save from Said Benrahma and then a powerful follow up punch from the rebound to get the ball clear to mean there was just one goal in it going into half-time.

The half began with North End on the attack again, Johnson’s free kick from the right causing all sorts of problems with Jansson eventually clearing into Marcondes and out for a corner for the greens.

Just after the hour mark another great move saw Fisher, Browne and Barkhuizen combine around the right-side of the penalty area to set the ball back for Ledson, whose driven low shot was unfortunately straight at Raya.

From a corner shortly afterwards Marcondes was again the man to get a block in, this time to deny Johnson’s shot at the back post from again testing the Bees’ custodian.

A triple substitution saw Brad Potts, Scott Sinclair and Jayden Stockley all introduced to the attacking options, with Fisher, Browne and Barkhuizen replaced, which meant a change to a back four; whilst Josh Harrop and Billy Bodin followed soon after for Ledson and Maguire.

In the last minute of normal time a long free kick from Rudd found Hughes in the penalty area, who headed across for Harrop, whose downward header was on target, but again straight at Raya.

Five minutes was added on with the away side throwing everything forward in search of the goal their play deserved and they had a chance in the fourth minute to get a free kick in from Rafferty on the right, but Bauer’s header flashed wide of the left-hand upright and Brentford held on for the win.

Brentford line-up: Raya, Henry, Pinnock, Norgaard, Jensen (Dasilva, 67), Benrahma, Watkins, Marcondes (Zamburek, 87), Jansson (c), Mbuemo (Valencia, 75), Dalsgaard. Subs not used: Daniels, Canos, Jeanvier, Fosu, Dervisoglu, Roerslev.

PNE line-up: Rudd, Fisher (Stockley, 74), Rafferty, Storey, Bauer, Hughes, Ledson (Harrop, 84), Browne (c) (Potts, 74), Johnson, Barkhuizen (Sinclair, 75), Maguire (Bodin, 84). Subs not used: Hudson, Gallagher, Huntington, Nugent.

Referee: Mr D England


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