Well played Hull City. Brentford saw their 4 game winning run come to an end on Tuesday night after going down 2-0 to the new league leaders. It was a game where the Bees more than matched their opponents in the first half and could consider themselves unlucky not to have gone in ahead. In the end class, experience and the quality of a former Premier League side (which had been bolstered over the summer with the help of those parachute payments) was eventually telling.
It was by no means a case of Tigers mauling Bees. More, the second half specifically, their toying with us like a kitten teasing a spider. The step up in quality over that period was terrifying. That’s meant with no disrespect to our Bees who, even having gone a goal down, could still have levelled things up.
A James Tarkowski run to set up Konstantin Kerschbaumer being a particular highlight. Somehow the big defender just kept going as he burst towards the box and released the Austrian for a shot that had Allan McGregor beaten all ends up. Only the woodwork denying the Bees an equaliser from the edge of the box.
The opening period had seen Djuricin come close on several occasions as the Bees took the game to their opponents. However, possession counts for nothing if you can’t take your chances and, whatever Steve Bruce said at half time, certainly seemed to have the desired effect.
Hull were a team transformed in the second period and got what, being honest, their performance deserved. Two goals and the win. That said, there isn’t too much to feel down about and we’ve been beaten by a team that will be well in the mix come season end. When a goal comes from a short corner you know you’ve been beaten by a side with something special about them.
“Don’t take it short. It never f***ing works” (unless Ipswich are playing) is the common refrain from the terrace. Hull City proved that rare exception to the rule as they wrapped up the points late on. Their second goal eventually coming from a move that had begun with this most maligned of set pieces.
Although, for the record, my own utterance of the lines: “That’s fine; its short. They never work” just before the second goal can be taken as in no way contributory. Erm, honest.
As expected Alan Judge was missing. Would he have made a difference? Possibly. The flip side was the return of Sam Saunders to the first team squad, even if he didn’t make it onto the pitch. This time.
In referee Gavin Ward we had the anti-Stroud. Alan McCormack, in particular, lucky to escape his attentions just 7(seven) minutes into the game after seeming to go through his man like a dose of salts. As one terrace wag noted, with due nod to John Arlott, it was a challenge so late it was almost posthumous.
Then again he wasn’t alone. One can only imagine that had Mr. Stroud been in charge we’d have seen him go ‘full Clintons’ for a bizarre incident of handbags involving McGregor and most of the Hull team when a second half -free kick was awarded well inside the box. Ward continued his trend of ignoring most off the ball incident whilst the Bees failed to capitalise on the set piece.
And the other elephant in the room – Moses Odubajo. Well, he still has pace but his distribution was woeful. That’s not me being bitter but just how I called it on the night. Then again, his team didn’t concede so the Hull defence must have been doing something right.
He received the typical reception reserved for a former player; every touch being greeted with more boos than an Oddbins clearance sale. He couldn’t have been more a panto villain had he turned up in a top hat, cape and waxed moustache. I was half expecting Mr Ward to add, “He’s behind you” but, alas not.
This is all incidental though. The record will show a 2-0 win for Hull and the Bees locked in mid table. We’re five points outside the play-off zone and ten away from the relegation spots. And, if you’ll forgive the somewhat unsavoury image, we are the meat in a Fulham-QPR sandwich. The Craven Cottage outfit are a place above us on goal difference whilst another defeat for Rangers sees them one below in thirteenth.
As frustrating is the fact this defeat was predicted on Monday by Absolute Radio DJ Richie Firth. Christian O’Connell’s breakfast show sidekick had warned against Hull’s threat and, for once, the man who knows as much about football as I do about driving (he supports Arsenal; I’m still ‘provisional’) called it right.
Much as it hurts, I’m man enough to hold up my hands on that one.
Next up is Blackburn Rovers away. Never an easy place to go but, equally, one we can still approach with utmost confidence if we start like we did against Hull.
Roll on Saturday.