Boro’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy adventure falls at first hurdle

Boro 0

Boro 0

Brentford 1

A SOLITARY first half header from Robbie Simpson ended Boro’s interest in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at the first hurdle.

Worryingly for Boro the goal stemmed from a right wing cross - something that is becoming a regular occurrence this season – with Simpson allowed to rise unchallenged to head home the deciding goal in the 28th minute.

To their credit Boro took the game to their npower League One opponents and dominated possession for large swathes of the second period.

Despite carving out a handful of opportunities the final touch was lacking letting Brentford off the hook.

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Boro boss Graham Westley made three changes from the side that earned a point at Aldershot on Saturday recalling Scott Laird, Peter Winn and Joel Byrom in place of Darius Charles, Charlie Griffin and Robbie Sinclair.

Boro started on the front foot with Winn racing away down the left flank but unfortunately the midfielder’s cross had too much pace on it and it raced across the face of goal and behind.

Boro continued to push the early pace and a short corner routine by Chris Beardsley and John Mousinho caught Brentford cold.

The ball reached Ronnie Henry on the right touchline who swung over a cross to Mark Roberts at the far post. The Boro skipper headed the ball back across the face of goal and Bees ‘keeper Richard Lee could only palm away but thankfully for the visitors the ball was cleared by a defender.

The closest Brentford came in the opening stages was an effort from Nicky Forster that was blocked by Roberts, the deflection taking the sting out of the shot making it a regulation stop for Chris Day.

The visitors felt they had a good shout for a penalty when Michael Spillane went down in the box alongside Jon Ashton as the pair fought for a Nicky Adams corner but the referee ignored the protests and Adams pounced on the loose ball only to see his low effort blocked by Day.

Boro looked bright on the counter-attack with Yemi Odubade racing clear on the right and crossing for Mousinho but his header was well held by goalkeeper Lee.

Then, slightly against the run of play, Andy Scott’s visitors opened the scoring. Yet again the danger originated from Boro’s left hand side, fast becoming their Achilles heel this season, with Adams given too much space to float in a delicious cross for Simpson to head unchallenged past Day.

Mousinho was comfortably Boro’s brightest spark in the opening 45 minutes popping up all over the pitch and causing Brentford endless problems. The midfielder did well to win the ball on the left wing and get a cross in for Odubade who got the ball back to Byrom but he blazed well over the bar.

Adams became more influential for Brentford as the game grew older and some great work by the former Leicester man should have resulted in a second goal for Andy Scott’s side. The Welshman twisted and turned Laird, leaving the Boro man in a heap on the floor before cutting the ball back to Forster but the experienced striker cleared the bar from close range.

The visitors enjoyed the better of the opening stages of the second half and slack marking by Boro saw Forster left free on the right of the box. Fortunately for the home side the striker’s drilled cross was too far ahead of the advancing Bees players.

Boro then took control of the game with Graham Westley’s side creating a number of half chances.

Winn hooked a cross into the Brentford box that found Odubade at the far post but he completely miss-kicked the ball letting visitors off the hook.

The Boro striker had a good chance soon after when he collected Mousinho’s knock down but the former Oxford man volleyed over the top.

Boro cranked up the pressure and had the visiting defence at the panic stations. The visitors failed to clear a Boro corner allowing Byrom to pick up the loose ball and stand a cross up to the far post. The ball eventually fell to Odubade who did extremely well to keep his shot down but Lee got his body behind the effort to keep it out.

Good work from Beardsley on the Boro right resulted in the striker picking out Winn at the far post. The winger beat his man to the ball and headed it down for Byrom whose venomous shot was well repelled by Lee.

Boro were dealt a blow 62 minutes in when Beardsley picked up an arm injury challenging Lee for a cross and he was replaced by Tim Sills, who was making his first appearance of the new campaign.

Bostwick stung the palms of Lee with a fierce shot from 20 yards that the ‘keeper gathered at the second attempt and Sills curled an effort wide of the post as Boro pushed for an equaliser.

The home side carved out one last chance in added time when Sills stabbed the ball through to substitute David Bridges but he fired wide of the target, though the linesman’s flag sparred his blushes slightly.

Boro: Day 6; Henry 7, Ashton 6, Roberts 6 (Bridges 84), Laird 6; Winn 7, Mousinho 7, Bostwick 6, Byrom 6 (Sinclair 71); Beardsley 7 (Sills 65, 5), Odubade 6.

Sub: Bayes, Wilson.

Brentford: Lee 7; Spillane 6, Balkestein 6, Osborne 7, Woodman 6; Weston 6, O’Connor 6, Diagouraga 7, Adams 8 (Cort 88); Simpson 7, Forster 6 (Wood 80).

Subs: Bean, Legge, Moore.

Referee: O Langford.

Att: 1,916 (365 away)

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