With Derby next up, what can we learn from the Newcastle juggernaut?

16 Oct

Brentford travelled en-masse to Newcastle United full of expectation. We left on the wrong end of a 3-1 defeat. It is a  scoreline that doesn’t even come close to showing the gap between our two sides. I’ve no problem with being well beaten but let’s not pretend that, on this occasion, we weren’t anything but second best to deserved winners. Dean Smith’s post match assertion that “We competed well enough”  something which, I’m sorry to say, I disagree with. With the next game, at Derby County, only on Tuesday let’s hope he reviews this one carefully.

Hey, I love our Bees. I love going away and this was a corker of a trip.  Close to 3,000 visiting fans helping to make it the biggest crowd we’ve played in front of since 1946. And there, perhaps, was part of the issue. Whilst Newcastle are used to this on a weekly basis, we aren’t.


A huge crowd to watch the Bees and Magpies

I’ll big us up when we do well or ‘fess up when we get away with proverbial murder, but I won’t stick my head in the sand. It was like watching 11 rabbits caught in the headlights of on onrushing Geordie juggernaut for the first twenty minutes . And it rolled straight over us.

How much room for the first goal as Jonjo Shelvey directed it on to the head of an unpressured Ciaran Clarke just 11 minutes in ? Dwight Gayle was given all the space he needed for the second (16) as Shelvey’s long ball over top set up the striker for the first of his pair.

Two down and rocking on the backfoot,  Newcastle really should have administered a knockout blow on 20 minutes. Had Ayoze Perez opted for head rather than hand his goal would have stood and, surely, opened the floodgates for a potential 7(seven) goal bracketing.

Instead, despite Brentford having been carved open time and again like a prize turkey with little resistance offered in return, the Bees hung on to a 2-0 half time deficit. Yet with the gap manageable and the potential there to, erm, go again in the second period we crumbled just four minutes into the half. Gayle grabbing his second of the afternoon as Shelvey turned provider once more.

To their credit, Brentford weren’t overwhelmed and even had the last word….“. Those aren’t my words but those of Channel 5 commentator Nick Halling to describe the moment Scott Hogan swopped in to give us hope. The already vocal Bees erupted further; passion flared in the stands. With most of us cheering on our our boys (although a few choosing a somewhat insalubrious selection of exhortations and admonishments) a brief period of hope turned to a case of ‘if only’.

Had we got that goal at 2 down rather than just a few moments after falling 3 behind then things might have been different. 2-1 and 40 minutes to play make it anybody’s game. But, instead, it proved to be little more than consolation.

Mark Burridge talks through the action, as ever, c/o Brentford official

Newcastle United were worthy winners. Absolutely. You can only beat who you are up against and they did that. Yet, being equally honest, were they that good? At least, yesterday.

I’d agree with Dean that we gave them a helping hand and that defensively we’re normally very good. Equally though, we offered little and had we challenged more then who knows what we’d have got out of this one?

Instead our selected team were stretched in midfield and couldn’t get the ball forward. Substitutions, made once we were 3-1 down, seemed more around containing the damage than offering any hope of pulling something unlikely out of the bag. Surely that should have been more the team he started with than reverted to?

Newcastle United played us. We played them, the history, the reputation, the atmosphere, the stadium, the occasion and ourselves.

Genuinely, I think things would have been a lot closer had the game been at Griffin Park. But then that’s home advantage and boy did they make it count. Let’s not take anything away from Newcastle after a game they could have won by more.

Look. This shouldn’t be taken as doom and gloom. Let’s not forget we were up against a team who had recently won 6-0 at  QPR and put 4 past current leaders Norwich City.

This is all part of a learning experience for a team that is still developing. It’s just, perhaps, disappointing given how competitive we can be at times and how far we have already come. The more we play in venues such as this the more we’ll learn how to handle the pressure. The more we’ll learn to take the game to our opponents or, at the least, shut them down.

And if nothing else, we can leave with our heads held high. Given our own history with sh*t hashtags, (see, amongst others: #trophyfriends, #bignewambitions, #novemberkings ) it was nice to see one that was possibly even worse than all of these put together.

Newcastle United inviting their fans  to #JoinTheRafalution.


Brentford have a chance to get straight back into action on Tuesday night at Derby County. Interestingly, Steve McClaren got off to a strong start as his Rams beat Leeds United 1-0. With his team climbing to within five points of our own 8th placed Bees, don’t expect this one to be any easier.

For either side.

Nick Bruzon


3 Responses to “With Derby next up, what can we learn from the Newcastle juggernaut?”

  1. RebelBee October 16, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    A good honest assessment. On our day we are decent but we didn’t show this at all yesterday and the game and the plan was done after 20 mins. That’s a source of real disappointment to me, I wanted us to look the part in such fine surroundings, instead we looked like a lower league side up for a cup game and a day out. Sure we can’t get near these on resources or squad strength, but we can do a lot better than that, some home truths acceptance and positive improvements are needed. 2 difficult games to come before the trip to the bush – maybe it’s karma in that we have to lose a couple in order to take a win on Friday week?

    Stick with it and we’ll be OK.

  2. Rob O October 16, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    Agree with your overall assessment Nick. It was always going to be one of the hardest games but we didn’t step up to the plate this time unfortunately.

    We did look a bit like a lower division team on a day out 1st half. Give a bit of credit – we did steady things in 2nd half despite shipping a 3rd – even if they did take their foot off a bit. I was bit frustrated as I think a 2nd goal for us would have put the cat amongst the pigeons and we could have tested them (ever the optimist). Had a bit of possession and some neat passing but just not gelling in that final 3rd. Some nice ideas and good positions but were too many misplaced passes or poor decisions when we got close.

    When we don’t have the ball in midfield we are too lightweight to get it back easily – and we can get bullied when we have the ball if we try to over-play (that happened at Wolves). A few powder puff attempts at tackles in the 1st half wouldn’t have looked out of place in an under 8s tryout game. Way too much space given – especially on our left. Gave them all the time in the world to pick a cross.

    Still it was a great weekend. Had never been to Newcastle before or watched the Bees in a league game in front of so many so that was a couple ticked off in the I-spy book.

    We’ll find out how good they (and we) really are when they play us at Griffin Park. They’ll only have the 1600 supporters there. That will make it more about the football than the occasion.

  3. Spanish Bee October 17, 2016 at 5:35 am #

    A reality check at this stage of the season is no bad thing. The players they buy, at least the most recent half a dozen signings cost 10 – 15 million each.

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