Brentford B played out a 0-0 draw with AFC Wimbledon in a pre-season fixture at the Robert Rowan Performance Centre on Friday afternoon.
It was another opportunity for Neil MacFarlane and his staff to ready the players for the 2023/24 campaign and it was a match which certainly wasn’t short on chances but neither side were able to claim the win in West London.
The Bees played with four at the back whilst the two deeper midfield positions were operated by Paris Maghoma and a trialist whilst Max Dickov was deployed in a more advanced central midfield position. On the flanks, Romeo Beckham started on the right with Tony Yogane on the left whilst Nathan Young-Coombes started down the middle against the club he spent time on loan at least season.
It was a lighting start for the Bees in a half where they perhaps should have come away with a couple of goals at least. On two occasions in the opening three minutes a run from the centre into the inside right channel from Dickov saw him cross low with the second of the attempts finding the feet of Young-Coombes but he struck over from around 12-yards out.
Just a couple of minutes later Wimbledon had their first chance at a blustery Jersey Road with a ball into the box just missing the head of Tristan Crama as Ali Al-Hamadi controlled and powered over.
Yogane was next to have a chance at goal when he almost made it 1-0. A ball forward into the inside left channel from Val Adedokun saw the winger outpace the defenders and force himself into a one-v-one position with the goalkeeper but his curled effort edged just wide of the right-hand post.
The shots at goal continued with regularity as Beckham was next to threaten from a free-kick. The youngster curled an effort towards the top left-hand corner with fantastic pace but it crashed against the post and away. A well worked move then saw the Bees go close as one of the trialists threaded the ball towards Dickov, who dummied for Young-Coombes, who then turned the ball round the corner for Dickov to go up against the keeper but his prodded effort was pushed away by the left arm of Nathan Broome.
The Bees had their heads in their hands once again six minutes before the break when a trialist slotted the ball in for Young-Coombes, who then rounded the keeper but miscued his shot before laying the ball into the path of Beckham. The follow up attempt flew across goal and Dickov shot first time against the bar meaning the sides went in at the break level.
Wimbledon were almost gifted an opener just after the restart when they managed to pounce on a loose defensive pass. As Matthew Cox rushed out to make it hard for Ryan McLean he certainly made a difference as the Wimbledon man tapped wide from close range. He then had another attempt on 67 minutes from a narrow angle, and despite a low powerful drive the Bees’ keeper was equal to it.
As the match ticked towards the 70-minute mark both sides made a host of changes with four trialists introduced for Brentford. The opportunities became more scarce as the second period developed with both sides cancelling each other out as the game struggled for rhythm. On 88 minutes one of the trialists broke down the right before cutting onto his left foot but for another save from the Wimbledon keeper as the match finished level.
Brentford B: Cox, Farr (Trialist, 54) Adedokun (McManus, 63), Zabeli (Wilson, 75), Crama (Headman, 63) Beckham (Booth, 63), Maghoma (Trialist, 63) Young-Coombes (Trialist, 75) Trialist (Wilcox, 75), Dickov (Waruih, 63), Yogane (Trialist, 63)
MacFarlane seeing steady pre-season progression
Having seen his side claim the 0-0 draw against the League Two club, B-team head coach Neil MacFarlane was impressed with how the side went about their business in the first half of the match.
He explained: “Yesterday (Thursday) we did a lot of work in possession on the training ground with a number of little tweaks within the 4-3-3 system that we played today. I thought the boys carried it out so well in the first half, I thought we handled the ball in tight areas and we created numerous opportunities.
“I don’t know how we didn’t score in the first half, but it’s about the performance, especially in pre-season and I was really thrilled with it particularly in the first half. In the second half, we had a lot of changes as normally happens in pre-season and we didn’t get the same rhythm and flow. But go back to that first half, it’s really encouraging.”
Dickov enjoys opportunity in new role
Having played more centrally against Wimbledon, Max Dickov proved his versatility once again. The youngster could well have had a couple of goals on the day but he says he and the side are moving in the right direction ahead of 2023/24.
He said: “I thought it was a good performance in a role which I haven’t worked on loads but was trying it out in training yesterday and also in the game today. We got a lot of joy, especially in those little pockets.
“I think as a team there are a lot of positives to take. First half we played a lot of good football, and the second half probably didn’t get as much in the rhythm of things.”