Marcondes’ goal gives Bees cup victory

Brentford 1 Stoke 0

Brentford booked their passage into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a workmanlike victory at Griffin Park.

A smart free-kick by Emiliano Marcondes just before half-time was enough to see off Stoke City in an encounter which was certainly lacking from a purists’ point of view. Largely forgettable – but the Bees got the job done.

Brentford boss Thomas Frank opted to go with an experimental line-up, with promotion from the Championship currently the major objective.

Freshness was the key – with a crucial west London derby against QPR next Saturday – ahead of a game against opponents embattled at the wrong end of the Championship table.

There was special attention on one of Brentford’s new boys, Halil Dervisoglu, who was making his debut after receiving international clearance. The Turkish striker had netted five goals n 17 games for Sparta Rotterdam during the first half the season.

It was a quiet start, with Brentford lacking some of their more normal drive and crispness, content to allow Stoke to have the majority of possession.

Bees midfielder Dominic Thompson hurriedly blasting a couple of yards past the post from distance in 22 minutes was the first chance of any note.

The lack of experience and a string of misplaced passing within the starting ranks was rather clear throughout the first half – until the deadlock was broken on 43 minutes.

Marcondes, poised on the left-hand side and seemingly in no position to offer a direct threat, spotted Potters keeper Adam Davies a yard off his line before curling a perfect free-kick into the far, top corner of the net. A fine interlude and something, finally, for the home fans to get excited about.

Brentford showed more initiative after the restart and Mads Roerslev occasionally threatened Stoke down the right-hand side, but still chances to add to their tally were at a premium. Fortunately for the Bees, the visitors seldom looked like asking too many questions of goalkeeper Luke Daniels.

Dru Yearwood arguably should have made it 2-0 when he burst beyond a static Stoke defender Liam Lindsay, but the midfielder showed his inexperience by firing well over the bar from a great position. Dervisoglu finally showed a little spark, driving a shot over from 18 yards.

An alert Roerslev cleared some late danger near the Brentford goalmouth as Stoke briefly rallied but, nevertheless, Marcondes’ goal turned out to be enough for the Bees as their season takes another interesting step forward.

Brentford: Daniels, Roerslev, Sorensen, Pinnock, Thompson (Oksanen 85), Yearwood, Marcondes, Zamburek (Hammar 79), Dervisoglu (Dasilva 79), Valencia