With various headlines highlighting Gary Caldwell’s proclamation that “We deserved our point” and “we deserved our clean sheet” there’s the game in a nutshell. Brentford stretched their unbeaten home run to ten games following a 0-0 draw with a Wigan Athletic side for whom Blakey would have given 10/10 for their bus parking skills.
But as we’ve said many times, chances and possession count for nothing if you can’t find the back of the net. And on this occasion, despite 9 in our previous two games at Griffin Park, it was the Bees who couldn’t convert.
Dean Smith nailed it in his post match interview where he explained the reaction is one of disappointment really. This, despite the Bees being excellent in the first half. “The reaction is one of disappointment really,” said Dean. “We were excellent in the first half hour and should have punished them. We didn’t take our chances and they defended manfully.”
Whilst Wigan boss Gary Caldwell may not be Jose Mourinho – a fact that both are probably thankful for – teams will set up to do a job on us. Griffin Park is fast becoming a metaphorical fortress and so often the first tactic will be to shut out a team with a free scoring reputation .
As for he who must not be sung about, a Voldemort of footballers (dads, ask your kids. It’s. A. Children’s. Book), the former Bee and Northern Ireland International failed to find the back of the Griffin Park net. Plus ca change. Despite an early chorus for ‘that song’ (yawn, yawn, yawwwn), it was the home fans with their own “Will Grigg’s offside” who summed things up.
This is no match report. It never is. I’d direct you to reputable sites such as the BBC, Beesotted or ‘official’ if you want a blow by blow account of match detail. That said, I have to say well done to Dean Smith for sticking with the same team who thumped Reading on Tuesday night.
That, a line up which had seen both tactical and enforced changes for Brentford – Ryan Woods missing that one through his accrual of fifth yellow card at Wolves. Yet it was also a line up that performed wonderfully and despite our Ginger Pirlo being available once more, Dean kept one of the early contenders for ‘player of the year’ on the bench.
It was a brave decision but the absolute correct one. Tuesday night was wonderful and to reward that with anything but a chance to, erm, ‘go again’ would have been a dreadful message to send out to those players who had taken their own chance when it had been offered.
The flip side of the decision making process is around substitutes. In the past few seasons the players to make way and the timing (the 60-70 minute ‘zone’) had become choices so prescribed that they could have been written on the back of an envelope long before kick off.
This time around, it’s almost as though things have gone the other way. I’ve nothing against this – quite the opposite. Let’s react to the way the game is unfolding. That said, is there a case that he is holding on too long now? That tactics – or players who seem to be struggling with fitness – could be reacted to quicker?
Who’d be a manager? Get it right and you are a genius. Miscalculate and everybody thinks they know better.
Look. Another game unbeaten at home and another point aren’t anything to be sniffed at. Quite the opposite. We’re in 7(seventh) place in the Championship table after a quarter of the season with another clean sheet in the bag. It is arguably the best start we’ve had at this point in the three campaigns since leaving League One.
Next up is International break (well timed for Lasse Vibe, who left Griffin Park on crutches) followed by trips to Newcastle United and Derby County. Nobody said this year’s Championship would be any easier but it’s certainly proving to be fun.
See you at St.James’ Park in two weeks….