A point for Brentford following the 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers was sufficient to keep us top of the West London Championship pile, above both Fulham and QPR. The former, in particular, being on the wrong end of a 5-2 home hammering c/o Jon Toral and Clayton Donaldson’s Birmingham City (stop sniggering at the back). And with another ‘nil points’ for Chelsea in the Premier League, the West London football demographic has a wonderful look to it as things stand.
But it’s the Championship, and Blackburn Rovers, where we need to give specific focus. Lee Carsley’s ‘men in black’ made it 13 points out of a possible eighteen with a result that now sees clear air between Brentford, Fulham and QPR.
It was a game that saw the Bees take the lead via Lasse Vibe, despite the expected absence of Alan Judge and the enforced substitution, on a stretcher, of Marco Djuricin after just 23 minutes. John Swift, who only moments earlier had been singled out by BBC Billy Reeves as being ‘outmuscled’, played a delightful through ball that split the Blackburn defence like a Samurai dissecting a watermelon . With a sword. Of the Samurai variety.
Vibe got on the end of it to run at Jason Steele in the Rover’s goal. Steele, like Wigan Athletic’s Max Power, somebody with a name that puts me in mind of a sauve 60’s TV detective duo. Roll neck jumpers and adventure are never far away. Neither are goals, as Vibe made no mistake, chipping it past the ‘keeper for 1-0 Bees .
However exciting the moment, it was a lead that wasn’t to last long. Tom Lawrence with an effort that could be called speculative, at best, equalised for the home team.
It was a cross-cum-shot from well outside the box that seemed to creep through everybody, turning more from cross into shot before eventually becoming the quintessential example of a ‘stealth goal’. Neither Rovers nor Bees attempted to put a foot, or other body part, in the way. With David Button scrabbling for it, the scores were levelled up.
And that’s how things stayed. Being honest, we’d all have taken a point before hand although there was a genuine feeling of disappointment from several quarters. Personally, I was just pleased to see Harlee not having to tweet about ‘going again’ at full time and, instead, bigging up the return of Sam Saunders.
With 18 minutes game time now under the belt, not to mention looking resplendent in the new all black ‘third kit’, Sam’s presence can only give another attacking option to the Bees in the coming months. What an unfortunate time for international break to hit us again although, on the flip side, it may allow Marco Djuricin time to recover.
Still, I’m just buzzing to see Sam back in action. Having been with the Bees since 2009 after signing from Dagenham & Redbridge with Danny Foster and Ben Strevens (now at Eastleigh, for the record) he has long been a fan favourite – as much for his ability as anything else. Seeing him back in action will be a huge lift for the supporters, the players, the management and our free kick coach.
Mark Burridge provides croaks, sorry, erm.. comms
Elsewhere, Fulham weren’t the only team to ship five as Ipswich Town hit the same amount past hapless Rotherham United. Even Jonathan Douglas got in on the act with a 20 yard effort. As one terrace wag later suggested, “It was good to see him score with a stunner on the pitch, for once”.
QPR laboured to a 0-0 at home to Preston North End although, at least, had the novelty of something called a ‘clean sheet’. Indeed, Fulham have now shipped more goals than the Loftus Road outfit. The Cottager’s 28 has only been surpassed, if that is the word, by the aforementioned Millers (whose form seems even worse than that of Chelsea) on 33.
Still, that’s their problem. Brentford are back in pole position to be crowned Kings of West London Championship football. Could a fourth team be joining us next season? Or will Chelsea even end up getting leapfrogged?
It’s not that the Blues are too good to go down. More that there are simply worse teams than them in the vicinity of the dropzone. On current form the likes of Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Bournemouth will do a better job of ensuring top flight safety for Chelsea than Jose Mourinho could hope to do..
Still, Chelsea are up there. We aren’t. Yet.
But, as ever, it shows that anything is possible in football. To coin a phrase, you just need to Beelieive.