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Brentford B vs Manchester City EDS - Robert Rowan Invitational Friendly

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all well.

On Friday 19th May 2023 I attended Brentford B vs Manchester City Elite Development Squad at the GTECH Community Stadium, the home of Brentford FC’s first team. I had already been there twice before to watch Palace away but this time we were in the home end. The view was great, we were located next to the goal on the middle tier and had a good view of the whole pitch. It was a lovely warm evening and when we first arrived we had the sun shining on us as it peered over the far side stand. Unlike other times we got public transport to the stadium, we hit one bump in the road when there was no lift at the station we needed to get off at, but it was easily resolved and we were only a few minutes late to the game.

This match was for a great cause, the Robert Rowan Invitational friendly was to honour former Brentford technical director, Robert Rowan, who passed away in November 2018 due to an undiagnosed heart condition at the age of 28. All proceeds from the game were donated to the fantastic Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity, as part of Heart of West London partnership.

Both teams had recently become champions with Manchester City EDS winning the PL2 and Brentford B winning the Premier League Cup. So, despite this just being a friendly both teams would’ve wanted to end their 22/23 campaign on a high. The attendance of the match was just over 3,500 so had a pretty good atmosphere!

Brentford B came from behind to beat Manchester City EDS 3-2 in stoppage time in the Robert Rowan Invitational friendly.

It didn’t take long for the visitors to show their quality much like their first team, getting the opening goal just 19 minutes in. Some patient build up play from the EDS side ended with a fantastic outside of the box shot from Nico O'Reilly finding the back of the net.

The bees had an early chance of their own created by Nathan Young-Coombes linking up with Romeo Beckham, the latter took the ball in his stride before playing a low driven cross into the box, but the Manchester City defender did well to block the danger.

Manchester City played some impressive one touch football to get themselves out of difficult situations and didn’t look overly phased by the pressure. They managed to successfully hit Brentford on the counterattack with a lot of the bees players out of position, Kian Breckin was allowed lots of space to run into and drive towards goal before his teammate Will Dickson doubled the lead from close range five minutes before half time.

Brentford’s heads didn’t drop and just four minutes later they got a goal back, the home side had good spurts of play and were rewarded. The move started at the back with Nico Jones in defence before the ball was worked up the pitch, a smart ball was slid between the two city defenders by captain Alex Gilbert to Ryan Trevitt who could finally pull it back across goal to Young-Coombes to finish into the net making it 2-1.

Almost instantly, a rare mistake from City allowed Brentford to use the momentum to capitalise and bring the score back to level going into the break. A long ball up field from Trevitt found Michael Olakigbe on the wing, the young winger had a moment of brilliance taking the ball down with a great touch before cutting inside and whipping it into the far side of the net.

Despite City dominating the ball and controlling the game in the first half it was MacFarlane’s side that would’ve been the happier going into the break.

The second half saw a lot of the same with City expectedly dominating the ball but were just unable to find the crucial chance to regain their lead. Ben Knight came close after some creating some space on the edge of the box, but his shot went straight over the bar and into the behind stand.

Brentford did well to stick to their shape to not let City through and kept trying to hit them on the counterattack moving up the field at pace. The Brentford number 7, Olakigbe, had a great game but was often let down by lack of support from his teammates in attack.

A draw was looking the likely result … until a dramatic 92nd minute winner. Brentford won a free kick which Gilbert whipped in, the initial ball was met up Fin Stevens who could only direct the ball onto the crossbar bar, but Tristan Crama was alert for the rebound and headed it beyond the City keeper to conclude the ultimate 3-2 comeback.

Overall, a very entertaining game with both teams playing at high quality, it was definitely worth the trip! I was very impressed with Michael Olakigbe and his performance was topped off with a superb goal, the Brentford midfielder Ryan Trevitt also had a great game being involved in both first half goals. Manchester City also had a very stunning performance playing some lovely football, it’s just a shame they have such a low chance of making it to the first team! This was the final match for both sides and they will now begin their summer, hopefully Brentford B play more games at the Community Stadium so we can attend more next season!

My next game is Crystal Palace U21’s vs PSV U21’s on Tuesday in the Premier League International Cup final at Selhurst Park, so look out for that post!

Thank you for reading.

Ellie Xx


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