Exclusive: Matthew Cox and Neil MacFarlane post-Harrow Borough match reaction
Matthew Cox in England Under-19s training in March 2021. Photo by Alex Pantling - The FA/The FA via Getty Images. 

Brentford B secured their place in the London Senior Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday night after defeating Harrow Borough on penalties at the Rogers Family Stadium

In what was a fiercely contested fixture that saw tempers boil over at times, Jude Russell opened the scoring with his third goal in as many games in 2022 with an excellent driving run and finish in the sixth-minute, before the hosts equalised through James Ewington in the second half.

Harrow put in a commendable performance and created the better chances of the two throughout the match, keeping Matthew Cox busy on his return to the B team line-up. 

The match went straight to a penalty shootout and, apart from one miss from Harrow, which sailed over the crossbar, a high standard of penalty taking was on show as Nathan Young-Coombes converted the decisive spot kick. 

Brentford B head coach, Neil MacFarlane, believed his team deserved to win and was satisfied with their performance. 

"[It was] a really tough fought contest, which I think we deserved to win over the 90 minutes," he told VAVEL. 

"Obviously it ended in a draw and we got through on penalties with some terrific penalties from both teams, the one miss which helped us get over the line.

"I thought we, in spells tonight, played some really good football and other spells we have to improve."

Brentford B found it difficult to string a succession of passes together as the Southern League Premier League Division South opponents' pitch caused the ball to bobble and divert a lot. 

There was frustration coming from MacFarlane and his coaching staff, but the 44-year-old insisted this wasn't to do with the players' application.  

"We're not going to play at the levels we've been playing at every single game. I think tonight on this pitch it was really difficult for us to play out our box in the 3-4-3 that's why we changed midway through the second half to go with two strikers in the 3-5-2 and I think that worked. We made some really good chances towards the end of the game. 

"[It was] not frustration at all with the application and the attitude of our players, frustration with that we didn't nail the final ball to take the game away from Harrow."

Overall, despite tempers rising and a few scuffles on the pitch, MacFarlane was pleased with the young team's maturity and focus after the hosts' equaliser in the 56th minute. 

"When they equalised, I was really pleased with that. That's a good test for our young players coming into this environment and I thought we handled that really well, both in terms of the change in system and the way the players handled the fact that they had drawn level. 

"We went on to make some big chances towards the end that we didn't take. I thought we showed a level of maturity as well, both from Matt Cox in goal and the players that took the penalties to score all five. 

"I think we deserved to win the game."

MacFarlane was able to call upon Josh Dasilva for 45 minutes as he made his first competitive appearance since last February as well as the aforementioned Cox, and spoke highly of their performances after the game. 

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"Matthew Cox was fantastic tonight and so was Josh Dasilva. It's so pleasing to see them back on the pitch after the period they've been out." 

Watching Cox from the stands it's easy to forget he is only 18 given how he handled the pressure of the game. After a few months with the first team squad, Cox told VAVEL about how the experience allowed him to help the team.

"Being around the first team and the changing room for every game, you learn a lot from all the coaches, how people prepare for the game, and everything that goes on then.

"I feel coming back into the B team, using some of my knowledge and everything I have learnt to help other players out and learn everything that happened in the first team to help us do well and I think its helped me a lot. 

The teenager boasts an impressive record in shootouts and spoke of his confidence going into the game decider. 

"I was fairly confident going into it and I trusted the boys to score all five so I thought as long as I saved one we would've won the game. It's a shame I didn't save one, the standard was very good from both teams."

The victory has set up a quarter-final against National League South club Dartford at the Princes Park Stadium next month.  

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