by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (July 26th 2014)
A New Start
Brentford gained a morale-boosting 3-2 win against Ligue Un outfit OGC Nice at Griffin Park this evening. New signing André Gray gave Brentford the dream start in their friendly against OGC Nice. A few minutes later Neal Maupay replied for the Rivieraʼs finest. Alex Pritchardʼs brace restored comfort for the Bees before Lloyd Palunʼs tap-in set up the second half.
Niceʼs defender Kevin Gomis was impressed with what he saw. “I donʼt know this club before we play against them”, he said. “Itʼs a good club. They are committed this season and I think they can do good things in the Championship”. Brentford was promoted to the Championship last season. Manager Mark Warburton is looking for more than just survival and on this eveningʼs showing it would not be wise to bet against him.
Warburton has made some acute signings and loan deals to strengthen his squad. All the goals were scored by new players and another contributed greatly. Moses Odubajoʼs pace will frighten many defenders. Having come through Leyton Orientʼs youth structure speculation mounted. Described as the best player to come through Orient for years, other clubs were told it would require a Kingʼs ransom to get him – Brentford secured his services for £1m. It looked a bargain.
Warburtonʼs team attacked from the start. The speedy Moses Odubajo made an immediate impact. His first contribution was a fortunate assist. The ball spun off him into the path of André Gray whose impressive performances in the Conference for Luton Town earned him a move to Brentford. Gray pounced on the fortunate assist to open the scoring. Claude Puelʼs Nice countered immediately.
Alexy Bosettiʼs free-kick was parried by Brentfordʼs goalkeeper David Button to Lucas Rougeaux, whose shot was blocked by Nico Yennaris. The rebound was converted by Maupay.
Midway through the first half Jonathan Douglasʼ shot went just wide. Odubajo then spotted former French Under-19 keeper Yoan Cardinale off his line and attempted an audacious 40 yard effort, but it cleared the bar by some distance. Ten minutes later Alex Pritchard, on loan from Spurs, took centre stage.
Niceʼs defence, shorn of Colombian World Cup Star David Ospina Ramírez, who was on the verge of joining Arsenal, were at sixes and sevens. Cardinale could do nothing about Pritchardʼs superb 20-yard free-kick, which beat Cardinale at his near post after 37 minutes. Within five minutes Pritchard harried Timothée Kolodziejckzak into an error.
Cardinale was helpless as Pritchard chipped in from close range. However, the two-goal cushion was short lived. Bosetti found Éric Bauthéac on the left. He pulled it across the goal for Palun to score from a yard out. The scoring was over, but Nice found the net once more. Shortly after the restart Bosetti hit the post and Palun followed up. Button saved the first effort, but Palun scored the second. His celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.
Less than ten minutes into the second half Odubajo was thwarted by an excellent save by Cardinale from close range. Odubajoʼs last contribution was a delightful flick to free Jake Bidwell on the left flank. His cross deserved better, but the chance went begging.
With less than a quarter of an hour remaining Toumani Diagouraga missed a golden opportunity as Cardinale raced off his line, forcing Diagouraga to lob over the bar. With two minutes left a magnificent move finished with substitute Jordan Amaviʼs shot from just outside the area. Brentford had a good test and came through it. “We just need to play together to play good, to play well and thatʼs it”, Gomis said. “We want to work with young players and itʼs more difficult for us to stay in the top premier league”.