Brentford’s Capital One Cup run was ended at the First Round stage by Oxford United.
On a wet late summer evening at Griffin Park, the tie was effectively over inside 12 minutes. Oxford scored three goals without reply in that opening salvo and there was simply no way back for The Bees against a more experienced and streetwise side. They added a fourth in the second half to put a deserved gloss on the win.
And Brentford could have no complaints, as they were beaten by the better team on the night.
The visitors’ early triple strike will not be remembered fondly by Brentford.
The first came when Andreas Bjelland failed to clear a long ball forward, Liam Sercombe spun on a sixpence and fired a low shot past Jack Bonham from 20 yards.
That came inside the first five minutes and before ten had elapsed it was two. The League Two side attacked down the right and the ball bobbled around the box, Jack O’Connell got a toe to it and Bonham – fearing he could not pick the ball up – attempted to clear but fired it in to a pack of bodies only to watch it fly back past him and in to the net.
The goal was officially credited to Danny Hylton but Yoann Barbet may have got the final touch.
Less than 200 seconds later it was 3-0. Another long ball was played down the middle and Bonham came out of his box to head clear and was left helpless as Kemar Roofe volleyed it back past him and in to the net from 40 yards.
And it could have got a lot worse for The Bees. When a corner was half cleared, Sercombe’s shot was blocked and Bonham made a superb save to keep out Ryan Taylor’s follow-up.
Alex MacDonald shot over and a header from Roofe did not miss by much. Bonham then tipped a Taylor volley over the bar as Oxford threatened to run riot.
The League Two side had control of the midfield and while Josh Clarke and Courtney Senior offered bright moments for The Bees, there was little to suggest they could get back in to the game. The home side did end the half on the front foot, without really testing Oxford goalkeeper Sam Slocombe. Senior had a shot blocked, as did Jermaine Udumaga, before Josh Laurent fired over.
O’Connell was just unable to get the right connection on a Ryan Williams free kick and Udumaga fired wide when well-placed before another shot from the same man was blocked.
The Bees may have ended the half well but they were hit by an injury to Bjelland, who had to be replaced at half time by Jake Bidwell. And Brentford’s evening got worse when Nico Yennaris limped off soon after.
Hylton almost made it four with a header early in the second half but the visitors did not have to wait long. A corner was half cleared, Callum O’Dowda fed it back and Jon Mullins placed it home from eight yards.
Alan McCormack tried to lift Griffin Park with a long range shot and, after good work by Laurent, Lasse Vibe let fly from 20 yards, his shot was blocked and appeals for handball were waved away by referee Dean Whitestone.
Laurent had a shot blocked and a Vibe effort on the stretch was saved but the game had gone and Brentford’s battles were for mere consolation. Williams almost delivered it with a dipping free kick in stoppage time but it flew just over Slocombe’s crossbar.
Bonham saved from Hylton and a Pat Hoban shot was blocked in the dying seconds to keep the score down. And with the last kick of the game he saved from Josh Ruffles. But the game, by then, was well and truly up.
Brentford: Bonham; Clarke, Bjelland (sub Bidwell h/t), Barbet, O’Connell; Williams, Yennaris (sub McCormack 52 mins), Laurent; Vibe, Udumaga, Senior (sub Gogia 75 mins)
Subs (not used): Smith, Kerschbaumer
Oxford United: Slocombe; Baldock, Mullins, Wright, Skarz; Roofe (sub O’Dowda h/t), Rose, Sercombe, MacDonald (sub Ruffles 59 mins); Hylton, Taylor (sub Hoban 65 mins)
Subs (not used): Crocombe, Long, Ashby, Dunkley
Bookings: MacDonald (31 mins), Sercombe (64 mins)
Attendance: 5,177 (1301 away fans)