BEES STING JONES ON DEBUT
Stoke fall to defeat
NATHAN Jones’ hopes of getting off to a winning start as Stoke boss were scuppered as Brentford raced to a 3-1 win at Griffin Park. An own-goal from Ryan Shawcross gave the Bees the lead and Said Benrahma made it two on 17 minutes. Benik Afobe pulled one back six minutes later, but Thomas Frank’s men sealed the points when Rico Henry scored early in the second half. The defeat leaves the Potters 15th in the Championship, eight points off the play-offs.
“I don’t think we gave ourselves a chance today with the start we made,” said a philosophical Jones, left. “The first goal put us on the back foot and we didn’t impose ourselves enough despite pulling a goal back.
“I’m not going to judge everything on just two days’ work with the team. We are a work in progress.”
Sheffield United beat QPR 1-0 to move second.
NEW Stoke boss Nathan Jones insisted he will turn the Potters into a great side – despite losing his first game in charge.
Stoke were swept aside by free-flowing Brentford, but the former Luton manager said: “I have only been here two days and we are not going to have a revolution in that time.
“I am disappointed with today but we are going to be a great side and we will build something here. I say again, we are going to be great, but we weren’t today.
“I could have watched this from afar in the stand to see how things were done, but I am not one to shy away from challenges and I wanted to be involved. I have no regrets, I am disappointed, but we will get it right.”
Jones tinkered with several diamond-based formations during the 90 minutes, but added: “In hindsight you don’t know whether that is the best way but we need to learn quickly. It’s a different shape and you don’t learn it in two days.”
Jones insisted he was not surprised by the fluency of an inform Brentford side who made it six games unbeaten courtesy of strikes from Sain Benrahma, Rico Henry and a Ryan Shawcross own goal, with Benik Afobe providing Stoke’s response.
“We have watched Brentford enough to know they are a good, fluent side and if you don’t get things right they will hurt you,” Jones added.
Brentford head coach Thomas Frank hailed the “most complete performance” of his reign.
“It was a dominating, controlled performance from the first second to the last,” he said. “Stoke had two shots and one was blocked. That shows that our determination and defensive mindset, as well as the tactical press, was spot on. It seemed like we could create opportunities whenever we wanted.”
He was delighted that Banrahma and Henry heeded his plea for other players, apart from top scorer Neal Maupay, to add to the scoresheet. Calamitous defending gifted Brentford the opener after seven minutes when Afobe’s clearance from a drilled Benrahma corner rebounded off team-mate Shawcross’ head and into the net.
The Bees stretched their lead in the 17th minute when a slick six-man move ended at the feet of Benrahma and the winger’s low, angled drive flew inside the far post.
But Stoke hit back minutes later, a poor clearance finding Thomas Ince, who slid a superb ball through to Afobe, who found the top right corner of the net from just inside the box.
Brentford sealed the points in style in the 54th minute, left-back Henry latching on to a superb Romaine Sawyers reverse pass to glide past three Stoke challenges before drilling a low shot home.
Ollie Watkins and Maupay both hit the bar as Brentford tore into City.
Frank added: “We have players who can score goals but I must admit that when I saw Rico surging into the box I thought ‘where is he going?’, then the net bulged and I thought ‘that’s great’.”
HAVING A LAUGH: Brentford celebrate Said Benrahma’s, left, goal against the Potters
CHASE: Brentford’s Rico Henry, left, and Stoke’s Tom Ince battle for the ball