Brentford 3-1 Stoke: Nathan Jones loses first game in charge of visitors as Ryan Shawcross bags own goal and Said Benrahma and Rico Henry strike
- Ryan Shawcross scored an own goal before Said Benrahma doubled the lead
- Benik Afobe scored to give Stoke hope of coming back against Brentford
- But Rico Henry struck a third for the Bees and they overcame Nathan Jones’ side
Nathan Jones admitted he was married to his former club Luton Town. He may have been questioning his grounds for divorce as he watched his honeymoon period at Stoke evaporate after a chastening defeat at Brentford.
A Ryan Shawcross own goal followed by a Said Benrahma strike for the hosts set the tone at Griffin Park, and although Benik Afobe pulled one back, they were never really in it at Griffin Park.
Rico Henry’s second-half strike put the gloss on a scoreline that still didn’t reflect their grip on this game.
Stoke City’s players show their dejection as they fall to a 3-1 defeat against Brentford
Nathan Jones was taking charge of his first match as Stoke manager since joining from Luton
Not the start Jones would have envisaged, then, as the Potters suffered their third league defeat in four.
The 45-year-old took over from Gary Rowett on Wednesday and talked up a philosophy fans can be proud of. There was little sign of that on Saturday.
His first statement on the pitch was a change in formation, ditching 4-3-3 in favour of the 4-3-1-2 which had served him so well at Luton.
’We came here with a brave shape and asked the team to do certain things,’ said Jones. ‘But we didn’t have the best start.
Ryan Shawcross scored the opener in the first-half as he struck an unfortunate own goal
‘If I only wanted to win today, we might have done things differently. We want to build something here, we are going to, but it wasn’t a good day today.
‘I have only been in two days, so we can’t revolutionise the place in that time.’
A Stoke side tinkering with a new system was always going to be an enticing prospect for a side as well drilled as Brentford and they took full advantage.
Benrahma had already seen a shot tipped behind when he swung in a corner from the left on seven minutes.
A deflection caused a frantic Afobe to hoof the ball off his own line, but it all proved to be in vain – his clearance cannoning back into his own goal via the face of the unfortunate Shawcross.
Neal Maupay celebrates as the hosts go ahead at Griffin Park against their Championship rivals
On 17 minutes, it got worse. Ollie Watkins, the sole change made by Thomas Frank from their last league outing against Norwich, played Romaine Sawyers in behind the defence down the right and his cutback was perfect for Benrahma to whip into the far corner.
‘I would say that is the best and most complete performance since I became head coach,’ Frank beamed at full-time.
Stoke did eventually create something and Afobe was alert when the chance fell his way after 23 minutes. Tom Ince played him through one-on-one and the former Wolves striker rifled his effort into the top right-hand corner from the edge of the area.
Benik Afobe celebrates as he scored to bring Stoke back into the game on Saturday
Despite the foothold, confusion still reigned.
A substitute at the break saw the ineffectual Berahino removed and Peter Etebo brought on in his place. The system changed, but the direction of play did not.
Brentford started the second half as they had the first, and with their dominance came a third, Henry, darting in from the left flank with purpose and striking low and hard back across Butland’s goal to find the bottom corner. It was everything the hosts deserved.
But Jones, instructing Ashley Williams, was unable to secure a draw as his team lost 3-1