Brentford 0-1 West Ham United
Saïd Benrahma’s sublime goal on his return to Brentford was enough to hand West Ham United a fourth straight pre-season win on Saturday afternoon.
Benrahma spent two years with the Bees prior to heading across London to the Hammers last year, and he reminded the west Londoners of his abilities with a beautiful, curling strike which gave his team a 1-0 win on their first trip to Brentford Community Stadium.
After scoring six at Celtic a week ago, it was the clean sheet which was the stand out plus point for David Moyes’ men this time around as they continue to build for the Premier League kick-off, now just two weeks away.
With around 1,000 Hammers having the opportunity to follow their team on the road for the first time since March last year, both sets of fans were in fine voice as the game kicked-off.
Clear cut chances were hard to come by early on, but not for the want of trying by either side. Pablo Fornals and Benrahma were linking up promisingly, and both had efforts from outside the box in the first twelve minutes.
First the No8’s low right footed drive was deflected behind for a corner, before Benrahma was given possession in the left channel by Manuel Lanzini. He took a touch to get the ball out of his feet, then looked to curl to the far post with his right foot, but directed the shot a couple of yard wide.
At the other end, Łukasz Fabiański wasn’t called into action until the 28th minute, when Mads Roderslev laid off for Sergi Canos, and his low drive was fielded comfortably enough by the visitors’ goalkeeper.
Three minutes later, Michail Antonio had the ball in the net, thumping home from close range after Benrahma cut back a deep free-kick. An offside flag cut shot any celebrations, however, and 0-0 was how it remained going into the break.
Brentford came out of the traps quickest at the start of the second half, with half-time sub Dominic Thompson popping up on the left-hand side of the penalty area and drilling a volley goalwards, which required a decent block from Craig Dawson.
The Hammers weathered that spell, though, and took the lead midway through the half thanks to a moment of class from Benrahma.
The Algerian had one thing on his mind when he received possession 25 yards out, taking a touch to create space for the shot, which he bent over goalkeeper David Raya’s dive and into the top right-hand corner.
Brentford’s Shannon Baptiste was the width of the post away from responding five minutes later, smashing a shot from the edge of the box against the upright with Fabiański helpless.
Antonio also fired wide on the break as both teams continued to push, but it was Benrahma’s sublime goal that proved to be the difference.
Brentford: Gunnarsson (Raya 46); Roerslev (Stevens 80), Goode (Jansson 46), Sørensen (Nørgaard 62), Pinnock, Henry (Thompson 46); Onyeka (Baptiste 46), Janelt (Mbeumo 62); Dervişoğlu (Tonet 62), Canos (Ghoddos 46), Forss (Fosu 73)
West Ham United: Fabiański, Fredericks, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell, Lanzini, Coventry, Johnson (Noble 46), Fornals, Benrahma, Antonio
Subs: Randolph, Martin, Baptiste, Alves, Forson, Okoflex
Goal: Benrahma 65
Referee: Darren England