Brentford 1 Cheltenham 0
Brentford eased into the third round of the Carabao Cup with a win over League Two Cheltenham.
French defender Julian Jeanvier’s goal just before the break was just enough to settle a one-sided tie dominated by the hosts from start to finish.
He was in the right place at the right time to tuck home the winner for the Championship side from close range in a goalmouth melee following Lewis Macleod’s corner – one of 25 for the hosts.
The Bees started brightly at high tempo with Alan Judge behind many of his side’s early forays.
Nico Yennaris’ first-time shot after a Macleod cross was thwarted by Robins keeper Scott Flinders, who also blocked Said Benrahma’s near-post effort on 17 minutes.
Crisp passing saw Judge skip through the visitors’ defence after a superb diagonal ball from Chris Mepham, but he fired across goal and wide.
Chances came thick and fast as the Bees dominated possession, but they were missing a clinical edge as Town’s defence worked hard to stand firm.
Benrahma fed Marcus Forss just before the interval and he raced goalwards only to see his shot well blocked by Johnny Mullins.
But the Bees took the lead from the ensuing corner – Jeanvier adding to his goal at Southend in the first round – giving them breathing space.
They suffered a blow just after the restart when Welsh international centre back Chris Mepham went off bleeding from a head injury after a clash with Manny Duku, who picked up a yellow card for his trouble.
Macleod’s angled drive forced a comfortable save from Flinders on 57 minutes as Brentford tried to stretch their lead, before substitute Yoann Barbet found the side-netting a minute later.
Cheltenham kept a foothold in the game and were unlucky not to level on the hour mark when substitute Sam Jones’ snapshot effort was blocked by the vigilant Yennaris.
Benrahma went close midway through the second half and Macleod skied his effort when it looked easier to score on 76 minutes as the killer second goal continued to prove elusive.
Instead it was almost Cheltenham who got the equaliser, Ryan Broom’s floated corner finding Aden Baldwin whose headed effort was cleared off the line by match-winner Jeanvier.
Less than a minute later, Benrahma wasted a gilt-edged chance to seal the tie but fired over from the edge of the box.
Judge was also denied as the clock ticked down, firing a volley and a low drive too close to the relieved keeper as Brentford repeatedly failed to make their superiority count.
Bees substitute Chiedoze Ogbene caused havoc with his pace but again couldn’t find a way to break down the Robins’ stubborn resistance.
Brentford thought they had finally put the game beyond doubt in injury time when Benrahma fed Ogbene on the break, but his angled drive was tipped wide by Flinders.