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Posted on: Fri 22 Jul 2011

Brentford continued their winning build-up to the 2011/12 npower League One season with another pre-season victory.

But unlike wins over Tonbridge Angels and Hampton and Richmond Borough, both of the Blue Square Bet South, this time Premier League opposition were beaten.

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis fielded the strongest team at his disposal but for long periods it was hard to tell which team were in the Premier League and Europa League.


And when Charlie MacDonald scored the only goal inside the last 20 minutes, it was no more than the hosts deserved.

Brentford passed the ball delightfully at times, if not quite faultlessly, and when Niall McGinn and Myles Weston got a run at the Stoke back four in the first half, the home side were very dangerous.

And they were perhaps even better in the second, pinning Stoke back for long periods and earning their winning goal.

There were few clear cut chances in the first period and Richard Lee's save inside the first ten minutes, tipping away a fierce Dean Whitehead shot, was probably the only time either goalkeeper was seriously tested in the first 45.

But it was still entertaining stuff - McGinn had a shot deflected wide after cutting inside and Weston shot over before Gary Alexander had a shot blocked and Jonathan Douglas, who captained The Bees, volleyed the re-bound over.

Matthew Etherington fired across the face of goal for the visitors, who ended the half strongly.

Pim Balkestein blocked well from Jonathan Walters and the striker headed over when well placed before Leon Legge deflected a Kenwyne Jones effort in to the side netting.

Glenn Whelan had a shot blocked and Ryan Shawcross headed a trademark Rory Delap long throw just over when he should probably have scored.

Brentford almost took the lead just before half time when Jake Reeves went on a surging run from deep before picking out McGinn to his left but the wide man blazed over from the edge of the penalty area.

The home side started the second half well, McGinn shot over and Douglas stung the palms of Asmir Begovic with a fierce shot.

But Stoke probably had the clearest opening of the first 20 minutes of the second half - Etherington ran through the heart of the Brentford defence and slipped in Walters but the striker fired wide from 15 yards.

With Reeves and Douglas bossing their illustrious opponents, Brentford looked the team most likely to win the game as it entered the final 25 minutes.

Shaleum Logan had a long range shot blocked before the goal Brentford had been threatening came with 18 minutes left.

Reeves let fly from 30 yards and Begovic could only palm it out to where Charlie MacDonald was waiting to nod it back past the helpless stopper.

There were fewer chances towards the end but Brentford remained on top and almost scored a splendid second with three minutes remaining.

After at least ten pass, Emmanuel Oyeleke created space with a delightful back heel and MacDonald chipped a ball in to the middle where Marcus Bean arrived a headed narrowly wide.

Lee had to make a late low save from Delap to give the home side the win and Jones headed wide in stoppage time to ensure it was so, but it was precisely what The Bees deserved.

Brentford: Lee; Logan, Legge (sub Spillane 67 mins), Balkestein (sub Osborne h/t), Woodman; McGinn (sub Wood 77 mins), Reeves (sub Bean 73 mins), Douglas (sub O'Connor 73 mins), Weston (sub Saunders h/t); Alexander (sub MacDonald 62 mins), Donaldson (sub Oyeleke 82 mins)

Stoke City: Begovic; Wilson, Huth, Shawcross, Collins; Pennant (sub Delap 15 mins), Whitehead, Whelan, Etherington (sub Pugh 74 mins); Jones, Walters (sub Marshall 74 mins)

Attendance: 2,946

By Chris Wickham

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