Dundalk capped off their pre-season programme with a hard fought 2-1 win over a Brentford XI in what were truly arctic weather conditions at Oriel Park on Wednesday night.
Second-half goals from new signings Krisztian Adorjan and Stephen Folan cancelled out Bradley Clayton's opener for the visitors as the Lilywhites made it four wins and a draw from five friendly outings, near perfect-preparation for this weekend’s curtain-raiser at home to Cork City in the President’s Cup.
Both sides lacked any real conviction in the early exchanges, though Brentford looked the more likely to score and did just that after 25 minutes when Folan was dispossessed by the industrious Clayton, who made no mistake and slotted the ball underneath the helpless Gary Rogers.
A long-range effort from Karolis Chvedukas and a free-kick attempt by Ronan Murray was about as good as things got for the hosts in the opening 45 minutes, neither of which looked like troubling Brentford custodian Jared Thompson.
Dundalk came out a much-improved side in the second period and got their just rewards when Jamie McGrath’s dinked pass found its way to Adorjan and the former Hungary under-21 international, who was impressive throughout, finished superbly into the bottom right-hand corner to level matters on the night.
The hosts continued to press in search of a winner with Sean Gannon and Sean Hoare both going close to finding the net before Murray’s shot from the edge of the box hit the side-netting.
The Lilywhites finally took a deserved lead with just five minutes to go when substitute Michael Duffy’s corner was headed across by Dane Massey before finding its way to defender Folan, who atoned for his earlier mistake and finished from close range to score what was his third goal of pre-season.
Dundalk are to play their first competitive game against last year’s double winners Cork City in the President’s Cup on Sunday before welcoming Bray Wanderers in the SSE Airtricity League the following Friday.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon (Georgie Poynton 75), Sean Hoare, Stephen Folan, Dane Massey; Dylan Connolly (Michael Duffy 62), Chris Shields, Krisztian Adorjan (Gavin Smith 87), Karolis Chvedukas (Adam Finnegan 90), Jamie McGrath; Ronan Murray.
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava, Brian Gartland, Karl Fitzsimon.
Booked: Shields (76).
Brentford XI: Jared Thompson; David Titov, Jarvis Edbor, Mads Bech Sorenson, Lukas Talbro; Bradley Clayton, Zain Westbrooke, Ali Coote (Jaako Okanen 63), Reece Cole (Joe Hardy 77), Theo Archibald; Marcus Forss (Raphael Assibey-Mensah 77).
Subs not used: Dan Houghton, Luke Appleton.
Booked: Westbrooke (72).
Referee: Derek Tomney.
Attendance: 250 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Karolis Chvedukas (Dundalk).