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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at the Gtech Community Stadium

Bees find perfect way to sign off as Man City's shadow team is put in its place

Brentford (0) 1 Pinnock 85

Manchester City (0) 0

Ethan Pinnock struck late to secure a famous double for the Bees over the champions – a win fully merited after a stirring second half effort, where their greater appetite shone through.

“Can we play you every week?” came the cheeky chant from home fans.

Pinnock - who has just signed a new contract extension - was on hand to stab home low and into the bottom corner after Bryan Mbeumo had nodded back a cross from sub Kevin Schade into a pocket of space.

Could there have ever been a better time to play the newly re-crowned champions than just a week before their opponents play in an FA Cup final and a fortnight before they seek history in a Champions League final?

Pep Guardiola was never going to risk his imposing bomb squad on a dead rubber such as this, so the Bees and their happy fans could bask in the relaxed vibe of a sunny, tension-free afternoon.

In theory, there was still the outside chance of qualifying for the Europa Conference League if they could win while Spurs and Villa slipped up. But early goals for Tottenham at Leeds and Villa at home to Brighton soon put paid to that notion.

Instead, there was the fun of trying to unseat City for a second time this season. Having famously won 2-1 at the Etihad – the only team to win there all season – the prospect of an unlikely double was enticing.

Even a draw would have left them as the only team not to lose at least once to City in the Premier League, but in the end they got more than that.

City were chock full of reservists, understandably, and barely recognisable from the team taking all-comers apart. We never got to see Erling Haaland, Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri, John Stones, or Bernardo Silva. Jack Grealish wasn't even on the bench.

The Bees were easily the hungrier of the two sides and their pressing probably yielded more turnovers of possession than City have conceded all season.

Brentford’s harrying kept promising a breakthrough, and with the champions ponderous, conservative and not threatening, a home win stayed on the agenda until the end.

The late winner was just the perfect way to usher in that post-match lap of appreciation which has been so well deserved. This has been another supremely successful season for the Bees, by any standards.

Throw in those triumphs against Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham and you have the riposte to end all ripostes to those gloomy predictions of a second season fall-off.

And why should it not continue? As long as the guiding hand of Thomas Frank remains, there is no dark cloud to be seen on the horizon. They can even win games without Ivan Toney.

They gave a guard of honour to City before kick-off. Maybe Pep’s men should have done the same for the Bees at the end.

Theirs has been some achievement in coming so close to European qualification and having played like a confident, established top flight side everywhere they went.

It was farewell to Pontus Jansson and Saman Ghoddos after the final whistle, but more names will step into the breach to carry the torch next season for a club that has forgotten what a bad season looks like.

Bees: (5-3-2) Raya – Hickey (Dasilva 70), Zanka, Pinnock, Mee, Henry – Onyeka (Baptiste 82), Janelt, Damsgaard (Schade 70)– Mbeumo, Wissa. Subs not used: Ghoddos, Ajer, Strakosha, Baptiste, Roerslev, Stevens, Trevitt

Cityzens: (3-4-3) Ederson – Walker, Ake (Charles 63), Laporte – Phillips, Lewis, Gomez, Foden – Mahrez, Alvarez, Palmer. Subs not used: Stones, Gundogan, Haaland, Rodri, Ortega, Bernardo Silva, Robertson, Knight


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