Cardiff City’s final away pre-season fixture of the summer ended in defeat at Griffin Park as Brentford came back from two goals down to win 3 – 2.
Kim Bo-Kyung was at the centre of a fine early display from the Bluebirds. The South Korean headed the opener past David Button following some neat build up play, before squaring the ball to Fraizer Campbell to stretch the lead to two before the 15 minute mark.
The home side pulled one back before the break, however, as on-loan Everton forward Conor McAleny guided the ball past Joe Lewis from the corner of the box.
The Bees are further along in their pre-season preparations than City as their League One campaign commences this Saturday, and it showed in the second half as they put in an energetic performance to put the visitors to the sword. McAleny scored a carbon copy of his first goal on 47 minutes before substitute Paul Hayes grabbed a winner at the death.
City fans can now look forward to two home friendly ties against European opposition, starting with Chievo Verona on Saturday.
City kicked off on a warm evening at Griffin Park in their brand new yellow strip, and had to be on their toes from the offset as a sloppy pass from Jordon Mutch gifted the ball to Brentford’s McAleny. Luckily for the visitors the young Everton loanee fired the ball comfortably over Joe Lewis’ bar from just outside the box.
Mutch soon found his passing range and set up City’s first attempt of the match moments later with a neat pass through to Campbell. His powerful drive stung the hands of debutant ‘keeper Button who only completed his move to Griffin Park earlier in the day as he was drafted in to replace Cardiff-bound stopper Simon Moore.
At the other end, the Bees could easily have taken the lead when Craig Bellamy brilliantly blocked George Saville’s rasping effort off the line following a corner. However, as the match developed into an end to end affair, it was the visitors who would be the ones to break the deadlock.
Kim Bo-Kyung received the ball in space just outside the box and passed the ball wide to Campbell, when he really could have shot. It was soon clear that he had made the right selection, however, as when the ball came back in he was left unmarked to nod home his second pre-season goal in as many games.
GOAL: BRENTFORD 0 – 1 CARDIFF CITY (Kim Bo-Kyung, 12 mins)
Just two minutes later, the South Korean playmaker was at it again and City were two nil up. This time Kim found himself in acres of space on the right. Once more, he unselfishly chose to square the ball to the unmarked Campbell who guided the ball past Button and into the net as the Bluebirds asserted their early dominance.
GOAL: BRENTFORD 0 – 2 CARDIFF CITY (Fraizer Campbell, 14 mins)
While City had a couple of opportunities to stretch their lead in the following minutes, they soon had Lewis to thank for keeping the home side at bay. Front man Clayton Donaldson, who scored in the Bees’ previous friendly, was in an ideal position as the ball was lofted in towards him in the box, only for a superb fingertip save from Lewis to prevent his header from finding the bottom corner.
The pace of the game simmered down slightly for the remainder of the half, although Brentford squandered a couple of chances to get back in it. First Saville’s free kick was comfortably smothered by Joe Lewis, before Donaldson saw another header fly just over the bar.
But with half-time looming they did manage to pull one back. Saville, on loan from Chelsea, impressed again with a driving run through the middle before managing to find McAleny on the left who curled the ball past Lewis.
GOAL: BRENTFORD 1 – 2 CARDIFF CITY (Conor McAleny, 44 mins)
HALF TIME: BRENTFORD 1 – 2 CARDIFF CITY
With just a couple of minutes on the clock in the second half it was a case of déjà vu for Malky’s men as the Bees struck with a carbon copy finish. This time it was all of the impressive McAleny’s making as he sprinted down the left flank before cutting back on to his right foot and curling it past the City stopper once more.
GOAL: BRENTFORD 2 – 2 CARDIFF CITY (Conor McAleny, 47 mins)
Brentford were finding plenty of space in Cardiff’s half on the counter in the early stages of the second half and could easily have taken the lead when they attacked with pace following a City corner. McAleny, for once, chose the wrong option though as the attack petered out and the scores remained level.
City looked to mix things up with 15 minutes played in the second half as Brayford, Kim, Bellamy, Campbell and Taylor made way for Connolly, Mason, Conway, Maynard and Declan John. Brentford also looked to the substitutes bench to bring on Diagouraga, Fillo, Saunders and Venta - and it was the Bees who threatened next as another fine stop from Lewis was all that prevented Mark Hudson from turning a zipping cross into his own net.
The substitutions continued and seemed to disrupt the flow of the game as the clock ticked on at Griffin Park. McNaughton, Nugent and Ralls were next to come on for City as the chances seemed to dry up, although the quality of the match remained high.
Some lovely play from Nicky Maynard almost resulted in a Cardiff score with ten minutes remaining. The nippy forward expertly plucked a lofted ball out of the air before playing his new striking partner Joe Mason through on goal. Unfortunately for the travelling fans behind the goal, Mason prodded his effort just wide of the post.
As full time loomed, Lewis almost gifted Brentford a winner as he dithered on the ball, allowing Fillo to nick it off him. Lewis was just about able to re-gather the ball, however, but just before the full time whistle Brentford made their pressure pay. This time Lewis palmed a searching cross from the right flank back towards the danger zone and into the path of the waiting Paul Hayes. The well-travelled forward, who had earlier replaced Donaldson, comfortably converted the chance to complete a deserved comeback for his side.
GOAL: BRENTFORD 3 – 2 CARDIFF CITY (Paul Hayes, 88 mins)
FULL TIME: BRENTFORD 3 – 2 CARDIFF CITY
Attendance: 2954 (580 away)
Starting-11: Brentford: Button, Logan, O'Connor, Dean, Bidwell, Forshaw, McCormack, Saville, McAleny, Grigg, Donaldson. Subs: Bonham, Saunders, Venta, Dallas, Diagouraga, Hayes, Reeves, Pierre, Fillo.
Cardiff City: Lewis, Brayford, Hudson, Turner, Taylor, Noone, Mutch, Whittingham, Kim, Bellamy, Campbell. Subs: Marshall, Connolly, Mason, McNaughton, Conway, Ralls, Maynard, Nugent, O’Sullivan, John