Brentford turn difficult week around with Carabao Cup victory away at Stoke City

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

After a difficult week for Brentford following the kind of defeat at home to Leicester City that Thoms Frank admitted could give him “sleepless nights” and a long-term injury to David Raya, progression into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals serves as a big boost.

Just as their otherwise promising campaign threatened to take a potentially sour turn, goals from Sergi Canos and Ivan Toney helped the West London side claim a win away at Championship outfit, Stoke City.

Canos struck the opener in the 22nd minute and Toney added a second for the visitors - who reached the semi-finals of the competition last season - with a 40th-minute finish.

Former Brentford man Romaine Sawyers pulled a goal back in the 57th minute, but Michael O’Neill’s Stoke were unable to save themselves from elimination as their losing streak continued after three successive defeats in the Championship.

It was a return to winning ways for the away side, meanwhile, following the back-to-back Premier League losses against Chelsea and Leicester.

Frank made eight changes to his starting line-up from the Leicester match, with Toney, Canos and Mathias Jensen the trio retained.

Toney - skipper for the night - was just unable to divert a cross past Joe Bursik on the stretch in the second minute of the contest, and Marcus Forss sent an effort wide of the Stoke goal from a good position in the 17th minute.

As Brentford applied further pressure, Toney saw one strike blocked, then Canos another turned behind by Bursik.

And when the resulting corner was delivered, Forss gave the ball to Toney, whose lay-off was drilled in from the edge of the box by Canos, with Sawyers unable to stop the shot on the line.

Stoke, whose starting XI showed five adjustments, subsequently registered their first real attempt just before the half-hour mark as Steven Fletcher brought a save out of Alvaro Fernandez.

The hosts were then punished for losing possession towards the end of the half, with the ball being worked via Saman Ghoddos to Forss and then Toney, who slotted past Bursik for number two.

Brentford soon threatened again after the break as Bursik parried a Toney strike and saw Jensen put a follow-up attempt across the face of goal.

O’Neill then brought on Mario Vrancic for Alfie Doughty and within moments the Bosnian had helped reduce the deficit as he delivered a corner from the left, the ball came to Sawyers and he crashed a shot home against his old club in fine style.

As Stoke pushed for a leveller, Vrancic shot too high and substitute Abdallah Sima sent a header just wide of the far post - which proved the closest they would come.

At the other end, Brentford substitutes Frank Onyeka and Rico Henry saw efforts blocked and go over respectively.

Toney and Tariqe Fosu-Henry, another substitute, then each had good chances to wrap things up late on, only be thwarted by good Bursik saves - before the final whistle confirmed Frank’s men had done enough for a last-eight spot.

Additional reporting from PA

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