Brentford launch a brand new chapter in their history with cup shoot-out win over Wycombe
Brentford 1 Wycombe Wanderers 1
(Bees win 4-2 on pens)
EFL Carabao Cup 1st round
Ethan Pinnock had the honour of scoring the first goal at the new stadium as Brentford ushered in a new era with a penalty shoot-out win.
They made heavy weather of it against a 10-man Wycombe who levelled late on to take it to spot kicks but the day was all about bedding in a shiny new stadium and taking in the tidy new surrounds – and slightly quirky design.
The endless rows of empty seats were not how the club imagined the first competitive game at the Brentford Community Stadium would look like this time last year. But they are here. They have made it.
The Lionel Road project has been so many years in the making that it still somehow feels unreal that we are finally here with a spanking new 17,250-seat capacity arena fit for purpose.
It would somehow be less surprising if we all had a Bobby Ewing moment – ask your folks kids - and woke up to find ourselves back at Griffin Park tomorrow.
The action was, truth be told, almost incidental. This was all about making history. And, as far as the Bees were concerned, perhaps licking some of those still-raw wounds caused by the Wembley play-off final defeat – which was all of 33 days ago.
The Bees must inevitably look to bed in a few new faces, given the likely departure of last year’s star turns, Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma.
They gave a debut to 24-year-old striker Ivan Toney, who was so prolific for Peterborough last season, netting 26 times, that the estimated £5m invested in him would seem a bargain.
This was a good occasion too for newly-promoted Wycombe and their rock and roll manager Gareth Ainsworth. His side face quite a challenge in coping with a first season in the Championship, so this was a good early test of their mettle.
And his team looked bright enough early on, flooding forward at every opportunity in a game with pace, if not too much precision, for the most part. They had spirit too to get back into the contest after having a man sent off.
But the first goal in the spanking new ground belonged to the Bees in the 32nd minute and it was a simple one – Pinnock running onto a perfectly-flighted free-kick from Mathias Jensen on the right to nod back across keeper Ryan Allsop and into the net via a post.
The task for Thomas Frank’s men became notionally easier three minutes after the restart when Dominic Gape was shown a straight red for a lunging tackle on Jan Zamburek. It looked a harsh decision by referee Charles Breakspear, who was in close proximity nonetheless.
Toney strived hard to please and pinged an effort on target as the Bees looked to close out the game and Sergi Canos sent a curling effort which glanced off a post.
But 10-man Wanderers stunned the hosts by equalising in the 76th minute when two subs combined – Scott Kashket darting in from the right flank before squaring for Daryl Horgan to find the roof of the net.
And it needed a fine save from Luke Daniels to deny another sub, Fred Onyedinma, a winner five minutes from time as a sharp breakaway almost caught out the hosts.
When it came to the kicks, Jensen skied over, having just seen Nick Freeman do the same for Wycombe. But Daniels blocked Wanderers’ fourth effort from Kashket, giving Marcus Forss the chance to settle it, which he duly did. Toney, Zamburek and Canos all converted their attempts.
Line-up: Daniels – Henry, Goode, Pinnock, Thompson (Valencia 84) – Canos, Jensen, Marcondes (Baptiste 72) – Zamburek, Toney, Fosu (Forss 77). Subs not used: Balcombe, Maghoma, O’Connor, Stevens