But for a flag. Brentford and Fulham played out a 2-2 Championship draw as the Bees made it 8 goals and 7(seven) points from the last three league games against our West London rivals. But, being quite honest, we’ve left this one feeling somewhat hard done by after a rogue linesman denied Jota a late winner.
In front of almost 20,000 supporters, Brentford took the lead from the penalty spot. Jake Bidwell was tripped just inside the edge of the box, running at the touchline. He didn’t look that much of a threat, if we’re being honest, but…a foul is a foul. And when they happen in the box only one thing can follow.
Up stepped Alan Judge to thump it down the middle and leave a diving Andy Londergan in the Fulham goal with no chance. 1-0 and normal service resumed. Indeed, the pressure built but the Bees couldn’t find a way through and, instead, with half time approaching the home side began to press.
That said, they still needed James Tarkowski to head past David Button to equalise. Hey, it wouldn’t be Brentford without one of our centre-backs scoring an o.g.
The same player was beaten by Dembele as the Cottagers took a second half lead but it would transpire to be a short lived one. The man seemingly at the centre of everything, Tarks, headed Jake Bidwell’s corner goalwards to find Jack O’Connell for the equaliser. The celebrations from the visiting fans at that end were immense, but not as good as they would get….
As with our first goal, it was followed by a period of immense pressure that saw Brentford desperately unlucky not to score again. Lonergan was the difference between one point and three for the Bees. And, of course, we also have the elephant in the room. Or, should that be, on the touchline?
The linesman’s flag denied Jota a winning goal as he was adjudged offside when given the freedom of the penalty box to make it 3-2 to the Bees. That the Spaniard had been granted more space than a professional footballer should have any right t expect his hardly his fault.
That’s the only reason I can think for his being deemed to have encroached. But he looked ‘on’ from where the celebrating Brentford fans were standing and television would subsequently confirm the same.
Football League Tonight was essential viewing (not a phrase I thought I’d have been using back in August) to confirm what we all knew. The goal should have stood. And so, instead of Brentford taking the lead and building, Fulham were allowed back into the game and, in the end, a draw was probably a fair result – based on chances and possession.
But as we’ve said so many times – the only stat that counts is ‘balls in the back of the net’. So to have a legitimate strike ruled out and a potential extra two points that would have taken us sixth, denied, rankles somewhat.
On the positive side, that’s five unbeaten for the Bees and, much like Football League Tonight, considering how things looked a few months ago to be talking so positively now is just amazing. It is vindication, again, of the fact that the league is a marathon not sprint. Brentford are certainly a team who are building their momentum and the battle for sixth place, or beyond, could be a very interesting one over the next month.
The Mark Burridge infused highlights package from the club’s official YouTube channel shows what a good game it was.
As for the other stuff from the game, my man of the match was Jake Bidwell although I thought Toumani also had an excellent game. Jack O’Connell continues to impress and this now presents Dean Smith with an interesting selection choice for the trip to Cardiff City on Tuesday night.
Is Harlee Dean an automatic selection, now that the three match suspension for his stupidity against Nottingham Forest has been served? And if he is, who does he replace ? Or will be quite a statement of intent from Dean Smith as to what he does when the next team sheet is handed in
Fairplay to the majority of the Brentford fans. Despite us reading about the threat of some Draconian sounding police and stewarding beforehand, everything was all very good spirited – from supporters, stewards and constabulary.
Indeed, aside from yet another flare wielding numpty (the solitary line of half-arsed Christmas lights decorating the Cottage being about the only thing more embarrassing than our yoof element) the one ejection I saw was for Fulham’s own Beiber-lite in the second half.
It was a cracking atmosphere (at our end) and The Bees were LOUD. Moreso compared to the wall of silence that came from the rest of the ground. If we thought the Chelsea fans were quiet at Stamford Bridge, this took things to a new level. Mind you, with Bournemouth overtaking Chelsea last night in the Premier League table, Fulham might be getting another West London derby next season.
That said, it certainly seemed that anybody who could travel for this one, did. You know the winter months are upon us when ‘jumper man’ switches from his summer waistcoat to the world’s greatest pullover.
Likewise, one supporter – who I won’t name but simply refer to as “Project Coordinator for the Brentford Community Stadium project team” – was seen stumbling down the steps on the way to his seat before kick off. A seat which, I am sure, in line with stadium regulations he sat down in for the entire game.
Even the great and the good from the opposition were out and about after the game. Brentford may not have won, but we can still feel very hard done by not to have left the opposition…..pointless.