It had to happen eventually. That’s just a matter of probability and percentages. After five games and now into our third season of playing together in the Championship, Fulham have finally beaten Brentford in a West London derby. Friday night’s game seeing the visitors record a 2-0 win at Griffin Park.
Of course, Brentford had the historical form. Previous Championship encounters had seen the Bees despatching Fulham as easily as an irritating child being sent to the naughty step. The Cottagers had been blown off the park time and again, providing no more resistance than a playful kitten . Instead, they’d rolled over and let us tickle their bellies as 11 goals, three wins and 10 points followed in four games. Indeed, but for an incorrect ‘offside ‘ call against Jota last season (oh, to have him back) it would have been a 12,4,12 record.
That was then. This is now. It is a quintessential bit of footballing common sense to play the team, not the moment. Don’t rest on your laurels. Previous humpings of Fulham or last Friday’s wonderful destruction of QPR count for nothing the moment the man in, erm, medium violet red blows the whistle to begin proceedings.
Whether there was an assumption we’d do it again. Whether the midfield were (the wonderful Josh Clarke aside) still at Loftus Road. Whether it was just tactical naivety from Dean Smith (his selection, substitutions and continuing neglect of Konstantin Kerschbaumer a mystery to rank with the pyramids or Donald Trump’s hair) I have no idea.
All I can say is that this was, sadly, woeful. A brief flurry in the second half aside, the Bees weren’t at the races. Dean was man enough to admit that “We didn’t perform well and didn’t deserve to win”. … before the somewhat strange revelation that, “While not playing at our best, we showed some spirit and stayed in the game until the 93rd minute”.
“While not playing at our our best?”. Technically correct but was that the sound of a straw being clutched? I’m loathe to overly criticise a team who are still wonderfully placed in the Championship, but lets be honest here. We were terrible last night. And against Fulham of all teams.
More worrying is our current form. That incredible game at QPR aside, we’ve huffed and puffed an awful lot in recent weeks. At least, when trying to break teams down. Indeed, even factoring in the result against the not so super hoops our last 6 games have seen 3 consecutive blanks at Griffin park and only three goals scored. The only thing on fire, certainly based on last night’s showing, was the referee’s assistant on the Braemar Road side – giving off more steam than a thoroughbred race horse.
What a pity we didn’t have any of those ourselves. Scott Hogan looked knackered, Ryan Woods unusually out of sorts and Josh McEachran out of his depth. International break and a chance to just take stock, pick ourselves up and catch our breath once more couldn’t come soon enough. David Button, on the other hand, coming in for some very harsh treatment from the Griffin Park faithful as he showed the same prowess that we had come to rely on over the years. The only difference being he has now learned to kick straight. And long. The toblerone boots seemingly left behind in TW8.
I’m trying to find a positive from the night and all I can come up with is Fulham’s socks.Surely an even more desperate straw to clutch than the aforementioned one from Dean.
That said, should Kitman Bob have opted for a yellow and black away shirt for next season (and nobody could doubt that the Bathwise sponsored Bees’ colour scheme from a few years ago was always hugely popular) then the adidas back catalogue already has footwear to match.
As for Fulham, much as it pains me to the say this they were the only side in this one last night. Three points sees them overtake the Bees in the Championship table with QPR still limping along behind as the worst placed team in West London.
Is it doom and gloom? Of course not. Imagine being in Rotherham’s plight, for example. Imagine having had the geographical misfortune to have been born a Fulham supporter? Equally though, they wanted it more and they got it.
Captain Harlee Dean summed it up whilst also, thankfully, expunging his favoured post-defeat promise to’ go again’.
Next time, Fulham. Next time. See you at The Cottage….