Stoke City 0
Emiliano Marcondes fired a second string Brentford side into the fourth round of the FA Cup as the Bees beat Stoke City 1-0 at Griffin Park this afternoon.
Dane Marcondes’ dipping free-kick from the left two minutes before the break was enough to see off a spirited Stoke City.
Bees Head coach Thomas Frank made 10 changes to the team which started New Year’s Day’s 4-0 win at Bristol City, only centre half Ethan Pinnock keeping his place. Stoke, fourth from bottom in the Championship and prioritising the league for altogether different reasons, saw seven new faces to the team which won 5-2 at Huddersfield.
The Potters were the better team in the first half and were unlucky to be behind at the break.
Right back Tom Edwards sent a shot wide of the right-hand post after just two minutes as Tom Ince caused the Bees’ defence problems down the Stoke left.
On 14 minutes Tyrese Campbell showed the value of chasing a lost cause when he retrieved a ball in the right corner and laid it back to Jordan Cousins, whose whipped cross was flicked on through his legs by Lee Gregory but cleared by the Brentford defence.
Campbell then had a shot of his own which flew high over the bar before Dominic Thompson had Brentford’s first attempt halfway through the period, a left footed shot which ended up well wide.
On 25 minutes the home fans rose for a minute’s applause for Brentford fan Joe Finnis, a 25-year-old British Airways cabin crew member who died in a car crash on New Year’s Day.
And, possibly spurred into action by the rousing applause, Brentford began to take a small foothold in the game.
Three minutes before the break Brentford, who sit third in the Championship, were ahead.
Campbell was booked for a late challenge on Dominic Thompson on the left, and from the resulting free-kick the impressive Marcondes floated and dipped an in-swinging effort with his right foot which evaded everyone, including Stoke goalkeeper Adam Davies, and arrowed into the far corner of the net.
Stoke continued to press after the break, a wicked cross from Campbell down the left on the hour just needed a touch from either striker or defender to take it in, but flew across the face of the goal and past everyone.
But as Stoke pushed forward gaps began to appear at the back. On 75 minutes the Bees had a glorious chance to seal their place in round four.
First Stoke’s Ryan Woods ran into referee Keith Stroud, allowing the ball to drop to the onrushing Dru Yearwood, who could have sealed the game in highly controversial fashion but blasted his effort over the bar when he had far more time to measure a shot.
Then, just a minute later, Jan Zamburek shot high over the bar as the game began to open up.
At the other end Stoke substitute Thibaud Verlinden fired a left-footed effort over the bar, before Marcondes cleared and substitute Sam Vokes also shot over as the Potters looked to grab a late leveller.
But the Bees held on and take their place in the draw for round four.
Brentford: Daniels, Thompson (Oksanen, 85), Yearwood, Pinnock, Valencia, Marcondes, Dervisoglu (Dasilva, 80), Sorensen, Zamburek (Hammar, 80), Racic, Roerslev
Subs not used: Gunnarsson, Jensen, Mbeumo, Larsen.
Stoke: Davies, Edwards, Lindsay, Ince (Verlinden, 71), Martins Indi, Gregory (Vokes 62), Cousins (Ngoy, 80), Powell, Campbell, Collins, Woods
Subs not used: Federici, Ward, Smith, Sorensen.
Referee: Keith Stroud