Well that was some day. It was confirmed that agreement had been reached with Walsall to make Dean Smith the new head-coach of Brentford, prior to our match at Bolton Wanderers. The home side, meanwhile, failed to pay their players – a point that the watching Sky TV commentary team flogged to within an inch of its life before, during and after the game.
And, of course, there was a game of football. Lee Carsley’s final match in his second stint as caretaker saw a 1-1 draw after Chelsea loanee John Swift had given Brentford an early lead with a beautiful goal from the edge of the box. An interchange of high speed passes with Alan Judge was followed by his opening up the Bolton defence before curling it home from the edge of the box.
It was a strike of real quality and one that, if we’re being honest, Brentford should probably have pushed on from to secure all three points. Swift had a very strong shout for a penalty that, instead, saw him booked for simulation. Peter Beagrie in the Sky punditry role deeming that, because he hadn’t given any back chat after being booked, then it must have been a dive. Is it too much to expect that a modern player could actually just respect the referee’s decision?
Then again, Carl Boyeson seemed to be very much set to ‘Uriah Rennie random booking generator’ mode. How Mark Davies stayed on the pitch after a first half horror challenge on Toumani I’ll never know. It got worse with every viewing, with even Beagrie later admitting the Bolton man should have gone.
Fair play to Lee Carsley who, rather than moan about it afterwards, took the diplomatic line of saying that it was the sort of thing that the norm when he was a player. I wonder if he would have been so sporting had it resulted in a medical situation?
But this wasn’t a game of one-way traffic. Bolton were allowed into the game and had as many, if not more, chances than the Bees. For all that Swift looked wonderful going forward, lets just say that the defensive element of his game needs some work on it whilst Ryan Woods was very quiet.
Despite Jake Bidwell almost finding the back of the net early into the second period (which, incredibly, would have been a first for him) when he headed just wide, the goal that Wanderers had been threatening eventually came just after the hour. Neil Danns fired one in off the post from distance after the Bees failed to clear as Bolton started to turn the screw.
Indeed, Brentford were fortunate to keep things level before our own late burst that saw Lasse Vibe come desperately close. But it finished 1-1 – the clichéd ‘fair result’ – as the Bees now sit 3 points away from the play-off teams.
Dean Smith was present but understandably played no visible role beyond a burgeoning bromance with commercial director Mike Sullivan. Co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen, sitting open shirted alongside them, seemed very much the gooseberry in that threesome. Certainly to those of us watching at home.
And on that subject, hats off to those who did travel. 396 for a Monday night televised game, where the overall crowd of just under 13,000 seemed to rattle around the Macron, is an impressive effort. Moreso in the run up to the busy Christmas period. Equally though, similar praise is due to the club for laying on the coach travel.
The other point of potential note goes to James Tarkowski. With Harlee Dean suspended for another two games, Tarks picked up his fourth yellow of the season. Another one at home to MK Dons on Saturday could give Dean Smith a selection poser for the subsequent trip to Fulham. Who’d be a head coach?
Not Lee Carsley. He signs off after ten games with a record of: W5 D2 L3. More importantly though, he has put the self-belief back into both the squad and the fans after a start to the campaign which could be politely called ‘bumpy’.
We’re winning games again and playing attacking football. “That belonged in the Premier League” declared co-commentator Don Goodman at one point. Who am I to argue?
Thank you, Lee !!