Can we just go straight to Plan B?

27 Sep

Mark Warburton may have a Plan B up at Rangers (I don’t know, I don’t follow the Scottish Championship that closely) but he famously didn’t have one at Brentford. Marinus, on the other hand, does but as Sheffield Wednesday left Griffin Park with all three points yesterday, Brentford fans were left wondering why Plan A doesn’t seem to be working.

For the seventh time in eight league games we fell behind before, as we did last Saturday, stepping up our game considerably in the Second half. But unlike the game against Preston, where we stormed back to a 2-1 win, this time it was Sheffield Wednesday who achieved that scoreline – a 90th minute goal on the break from Lucas João being the ultimate difference between the two teams.

View from the terrace - the HT show from Buzz was the most we had to celebrate at that point

View from the terrace. The HT show from Buzz was the most we had to celebrate ….at that point

We can take positives from the way the team played for the majority of the second half, despite being down to ten men. The penalty awarded for James Tarkowski’s foul on Atdhe Nuhiu with less than 40 minutes on the clock saw the giant centre forward stroke it past David Button as well as, eventually, earning a red card for the fit again centre back.

It was a strange decision (the sending off, I mean). Indecisive referee Geoff Eltringham allowing himself to be harangued by Wednesday players before consulting a linesman who, eventually, helped him come to the decision of ‘straight red’. This, despite Jake Bidwell clearly being the last man back between Nuhiu and the goalkeeper.

Nuhiu is the sort of player you’d love in your team. Physical, huge presence and a proper nuisance. And he knew the way to goal – seeing an earlier effort come back off the bar. He went to ground very easily on more than one instance yet Eltringham saw nothing wrong in his game to warrant even a talking to, let alone a yellow, at any point.

Still, if Brentford went in a man and a goal down, they did everything to start fighting their way back into the game. Jack O’Connell had a stunning effort at the back with a number of perfectly timed tackles and challenges. It was a shame he was the unfortunate man in the wrong place at the wrong time for 2-1 as Brentford were exposed, pushing for a late winner.

Likewise, Josh Clarke at right back looked very impressive, especially bringing the ball out of defence. I’d be very interested to see him playing ahead of Alan Mac at some point, with the midfielder returning to that defensive role he’d made his own in the past.

With the Bees pressing, a goal seemed likely and finally it came – from the most unlikely of assists. David Button pushed almost to the half way line to curl a cross-field ball to Alan Judge. It was an exquisite delivery from a ‘keeper whose distribution has been lambasted in the past but the execution from Judge was even better.

A perfect trap and then shot across the goal into the far corner sent the crowd wild. Even the club staff celebrated that one to a fanatical level – a moment captured by the Football League Tonight and Beesplayer cameras.

Alan launches himself at ecstatic fans….

Alan launches himself at ecstatic fans….

…having administered a deadly blow to Sheffield supporters

…having administered a deadly blow to Sheffield supporters

At 1-1 and pushing it looked as though Brentford might snatch a winner that, in the first half, had been the last thing anybody expected. Instead, when the more prudent amongst us might have reverted to Plan A and locked things up to get an unlikely point, we went for it. You can’t knock Marinus’ desire and moreso with Wednesday also down to 10 men at this point.

But with the Bees in the Sheffield box, the ball broke and once Lucas João had picked O’Connell’s pocket, not even the Herculean David Button had sufficient strength to hold back the last minute one-on-one.

It was a bitter blow and moreso, having been given the hope of a route back into a game we had no chance of being anywhere near on the first half showing. Bees stat guru Luis Melville nailed it on twitter late last night with this very telling observation:

Luis's stats remain 'the bomb' (that's a good thing, I believe)

Luis’s stats remain ‘the bomb’ (that’s a good thing, I believe)

The positive is a chance to get straight back into action on Tuesday night against a Birmingham City side that hasn’t won in three (and went down at home to Rotherham United yesterday). The negative is that we haven’t really got a huge element of team choice, given the injury crisis and suspension for Tarks. Will the players have enough in the tank for another 90 minutes – moreso, against a team containing a few familiar faces in Jon Toral and Clayton Donaldson?

Away from Griffin Park, the Pele cup took place at the training ground. The great man himself was, indeed, at Jersey Road where Cliff Crown was amongst the fortunate few to meet him. Hopefully they just discussed football, football, football (and, perhaps, Escape To Victory) rather than Pele’s foray into TV advertising. I would.

A moment I never thought I'd see - Pele and the Brentford chairman.

A moment I never thought I’d see – Pele and the Brentford chairman.

And then I did it. Football League Tonight. I sat through the full 90 minutes. Or should that be, stood.

Having previously given the show a good kicking on it’s debut (one which, for the record, I still stand by) it’s been pleasing to see the gimmicks fall away and, over the weeks, Channel 5 giving us a more traditional ‘highlights package’. So when the opportunity came to be an audience member, it seemed churlish to turn it down.

Being honest, I’m impressed. What we tend to take for granted is that this is a live show. Given how soon it is transmitted after the action ends, there’s no real choice but despite the problems they suffered in the opening weeks, fair play for sticking to that element. Moreso, with the ‘random’ element of an audience.

Not as bawdy as Soccer AM but sufficiently different from the Football League Show, they have now fused the better parts of each programme. Kelly Cates is definitely the show’s shining star and the chemistry from George Riley is growing.

The audience interview still seemed a bit stilted (then again, that could just be the price you pay for talking to MK Dons fans) although I do like the idea of this quick snapshot from the ‘regular fan’ aswell as the players – Barry Bannan of Sheffield Wednesday being the man brought in to admit, small consolation, that his team and been lucky to get the win.

As for Adam Virgo – I’m still not sure what to make of him. Part footballer, part Clem, part geography teacher. He’s no Leroy (still my favourite pundit from Manish’s Football League Show) but then again, he’s no Steve Claridge and is looking a lot more confortable in the role

Does it beat the Football League Show? No, not yet. Then again, football highlights shows have been in such a set style for so long that it is a format we’ve had drilled into us. You can’t knock Channel 5 for attempting to break from the norm and, moreso, acknowledge that their initial attempts to do so were somewhat OTT.

Will I watch again? Absolutely. Many of the previous gripes have been ironed out and Kelly, especially, did a great job (catching George with one particular zinger about his age and Top of the Pops). Ultimately, the show gives us what we need – the highlights, in order, with a number of extended games.

It’s just a shame that, with more focus on Brentford, we didn’t see the Bees pick up any points. Still, there’s always Tuesday. It won’t be easy and, being honest, I’m anxious.

Then again, Griffin Park under floodlights is a magical place and, IF we can start that one like we ended this one (the goal aside!) then who knows what could happen….

Mark Burridge certainly enjoys the Judge strike (along with the rest of the video highlights)

Nick Bruzon

8 Responses to “Can we just go straight to Plan B?”

  1. Gordonbankole September 27, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    Lucky win or not, a team conceding as many goals as we do will, according to my stats, be involved in a relegation battle and will probably go down. Until this area improves, we are in trouble (though I realise I’m not really allowed to say this as we haven’t yet reached the mythical 10 game mark).

    Luis Melville’s contribution is also very interesting. We’ve only once scored the first goal this season.

    Sad to say, but the negative stats are mounting up…

    • nickbruzon September 27, 2015 at 9:33 am #

      hi Gordon. Thanks. You are more than welcome to say what you want , wen you want. Football is all about opinions.
      Personally, I use the ten game mark as a yardstick rather than it being anything ‘mythical’. That’s the point where we have a true idea of what our team are about. That said, I think we are all starting to get a fair idea already. Tuesday night’s performance could be a telling one – let’s hope we go home celebrating afterwards

  2. Gordonbankole September 27, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    Hello Nick. It wasn’t a reference to anything you’ve written when I mentioned the ten-game mark, it’s more to do with it being a well-worn football cliché that you can only take league tables seriously when you reach that point. Unfortunately from my point of view the poor defending and conceding the first goal in nearly every game are aspects which are not showing any signs of improvement, and while this is the case, we are going to be at the wrong end of the table.

    • nickbruzon September 27, 2015 at 7:06 pm #

      That’s ok – but thanks for saying ! And I’d agree re the defending – soft goals ‘against’ are an ongoing trait. Hopefully something that won’t become a further trend but we’ll defer judgement on that for the moment….

  3. Lanesra September 27, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

    Stats ….. Anyone know why nico is not being used

    • nickbruzon September 27, 2015 at 7:06 pm #

      Only just back on the bench. I’m guessing Marinus doesn’t see him as a current ‘first XI’ player

  4. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) September 27, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

    I prefer the Channel 5 programme to the BBC show now. They simply needed to show more football and have less yapping. Although, Virgo is certainly no TV natural. He is their Claridge, whereas Michael Gray is the new Leroy. I know you will miss Clem greatly, I guess he was a marmite character, because I couldnt stand his reports. Sorry Nick.

  5. KevinO September 28, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    First time to see them this season…..very disappointing and well below last seasons’ standard, where’s the football gone? And now I read we have sacked the manager after just 8 league games!!! What was that quote from joint DOF? The manager won’t be judged on results???? Is it possible to make a charge of bringing the name of Brentford into disrepute? We appoint a new manager, give him little or no say in who is available to him, he faces the longest injury list I can remember so in fairness he deserves the sack (not!). This is just as ridiculous as letting Warbs go….I presume we do have a strategy there is just not much evidence of it.

    Looking forward to Derby on Saturday now as I can’t get back to London for tomorrow’s game but am not optimistic based on what I have seen of the new recruits.

    In finishing I have to say I was impressed by Josh Clark, and also Jack O’Connell despite his bad luck with the ball that hit his back, so it is not all doom and gloom.

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