Bees come a sloppy second to Blackburn. Get me out of here…

20 Nov

Blackburn Rovers 3 Brentford 2. The scoreline does’t even begin to sum up a frustrating result after the Bees had taken the lead with barely half a minute of the game gone. That we then conspired to present our hosts with three goals (and no complaints about them for taking their chances – you can only put away what is in front of you) is something out of character with the Bees and hugely disappointing.

Equally, though, with still almost an hour to play at 3-2 down Brentford had plenty of time to salvage something. Instead, the records will show that we managed 3 shots on target all game.

Listen, I’ve no issue with holding up my hands and knowing when we’ve not deserved a thing. Look at our last home game, against Fulham, and then look away fast. There was no creativity and nothing to inspire. At least this time Dean loaded his team for attack, gave Romaine Sawyers a break for the first time this season and it paid immediate dividends. Lasse Vibe releasing Scott Hogan who sprung the offside trap and ran clear on goal to make it 1-0 Brentford after a mere 33 seconds.

Likewise, Hogan’s second, to level things up at 2-2, was the culmination of a beautiful move around the Blackburn midfield that ended with the striker taking his total to ten Championship goals for the season. With parity restored at 2-2 after just a half hour, and headline writers preparing the phrase ‘goal fest’ surely we were back in the driving seat? But no. Sloppiness followed just as sloppiness had preceded.

Sam Gallagher had been earmarked as the man to watch prior to this one but it was Danny Graham who took advantage of the huge holes in the Brentford defence to equalise on the quarter hour. It was marking that would have embarrassed a league two club, let alone a tier two Championship team, and the goal machine made no mistake. Five minutes later, he’d doubled his tally and given the home side the lead from the penalty spot. It looked a pretty innocuous challenge on the TV in what were slippery conditions – just check out the skid marks – but referee Chris Kavanagh had no hesitation and the penalty was dispatched perfectly.

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Bees hit the skids – did snow trail make it look worse than it was?

As for the winning goal though. The tales of Brentford centre-backs putting it past their own goalkeeper are legion. I’m not going to moan at Harlee Dean – the defensive o.g. has happened so many times before and will no doubt happen again. Indeed the biggest crime was even giving the ball away in the first instance, with the Bees in a very safe position on the half way line and taking it forward. Suddenly we were under pressure and paid the ultimate price as the ball was swept into the box.

Those of us watching back home could only mutter under the breath as this one popped up on the Sky Sports scrolly thing. Those of us wearing anoraks could only smile at the thought of Renton scoring in Edinburgh. At least one team displaying a lust for life there.

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-07-00-44

The highlights of this one are on Sky now. Alternatively, if you prefer to see whether Mark Burridge and the team can salvage anything from the game, then there are double length highlights on Bees Player now we’ve got past the 12pm curfew.

Is it any better with Mark at the helm?

As for any more of an in-depth report,  regular readers know the drill. The BBC, Brentford official or Beesotted are your places. When even official lead with : Lasse vibe on “sloppy” defeat to Blackburn Rovers then it’s fairly safe to know what you are going to get.

Besides, yours truly wasn’t even allowed anywhere near Channel 5 for the highlights last night, with the remote control having been commandeered for watching Carol Vordeman (who seems to have been rebuilt more than the Brentford defence) and Danny Baker subtly attempting to wind up a daytime TV property ‘expert’.

An act which, if we’re being honest, they largely succeeded at under the watchful eyes of Ant and Dec. If only we’d had such acumen but alas it wasn’t to be. Then again, the thought of Harlee making a meal of pig’s anus or Sam Saunders standing in an oversized fish tank with an eel merging from his shorts are not the sort of images I particularly want so perhaps we park that analogy here, with apologies.

Can there be any positives from that? And by which I mean the Blackburn game rather than ‘I’m a celebrity’… ? Well, you have to start with two wonderfully taken goals. Scott Hogan is now in double figures in the Championship, level with Glenn Murray and just one behind Dwight Gayle at Newcastle United.With the Repulic of Ireland reportedly sniffing around, he is very much the ‘man of the moment’ in the Championship. January could be stressful..

Equally, at least, we can sleep that bit easier knowing that the media team won’t be dusting off the #Novemberkings moniker which was so cringe worthily chucked around during our first Championship season.

Beyond that though, it is a case of slim pickings. On a snowy day we weren’t even granted that rare treat of an orange ball. Instead, the mid-winter yellow version is deemed sufficient and I fear that really could be it now for this nostalgic favourite. Unless, of course, the FA Cup can produce something magical.

orange-ball

Is the combination of snow and orange ball now a thing of the past?

So what next for the Bees? A win would be nice, for one thing. That wonderful victory over QPR has been our only real bright spark in a 7(seven) game run that has otherwise seen four defeats and two 0-0 draws.

Tablewise, we are now just into the bottom half. Five points shy of the play-off zone and six ahead of the basement clubs. With Blackburn, Wigan and surely doomed Rotherham United (already 11 points and vastly inferior goal difference off safety) still occupying those places, that’s not even a situation worth contemplating .

Yet, equally, complacency won’t win you games or keep you up. Look at Newcastle United last season. And Aston Villa. No club is too safe or too big to go down. Keep losing and that’ll happen. Not anything to worry about for now, that’s for sure, but a swift return to winning ways will be a good thing.

As the interview with Dean Smith on Brentford official noted:

Next Saturday The Bees return to Griffin Park to host Gary Rowett’s Birmingham City with Dean saying that he wants to see a response after consecutive losses.

“Next week’s game takes on extra importance because, after back to back defeats, we have to bounce back,” said Dean. “

Never a truer word and so important it had to be mentioned twice..

Nick Bruzon

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11 Responses to “Bees come a sloppy second to Blackburn. Get me out of here…”

  1. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) November 20, 2016 at 9:21 am #

    What concerns me was after 40 mins of flash bang wallop came 50 mins of meandering drifting. Where was the fight? Other than Romaine on for Lasse, where was the desire to change things around from the bench? Traditionally, international weekends, because of our lack of internationals, has given us the ability to refocus and ‘go again’. But not this season, and that has to be very disappointing. I still cant help but feel our ‘activity’ in the transfer window is letting us down now, I said at the time I still felt we needed 2 or 3 more players, or we will be looking to the B team. Perhaps we should look towards the B team and see if there is anyone who can make the step us like Josh Clarke has, because at the moment we look woefully short of personnel in some vital areas.

    I am sure there are some, and Nick you arent one of them, who will be having a right go at Harlee for the own goal. Yes it was calamitous, and it was very much the Harlee of a couple of years ago, the Harlee who seemed to lose concentration at a drop of a hat, but in a week where Mrs Harlee has given birth to their child and his own life has changed forever, and because of that no doubt had some sleepless nights, you can excuse him for letting his mind drift.

  2. RebelBee November 20, 2016 at 10:04 am #

    I was there yesterday, well just, thanks to the M6 and some very ugly weather, i missed the opening goal. Many didn’t make it & some were even involved in accidents. Nobody is looking for a medal for following the team we love, but yesterday was one of those where you wondered why!

    DS seems to be the “Pardew light” of our division, results & performances dropping in familiar streaks. You can never rest easy as a Bees fan & just when you think we’re on to something – bump….or slump perhaps.

    I thought the set up was wrong yesterday, yes we want to see more support for Hogan, but starting Clarke, Kaikai and Vibe left huge gaps which Rovers exploited. One look at the pitch and the likely approach from Rovers, and i’d have set us up more defensively, and play on the break – do this and I feel we’d have won comfortably. Yes the back line wobbled in the ice and snow, the penalty and OG were gifts, but the problems were caused elsewhere – no bite at all in midfield, an embarrassingly lightweight effort from Lasse Vibe, and our makeshift full back who got rinsed. Rovers kept it simple, they roughed us up a bit, slung countless crosses into the box, and then ran the clock down to get them over the line. If you were looking for the very definition of “southern softies” we were it. 2nd half was better but the final ball and lack of urgency never made me think we’d come back. i agree with BQ on Harlee, he gave everything to rectify his mistake and looked our most cultured and competitive midfielder when stepping out in the 2nd half.

    It’s all a bit raw this morning but we do need to take stock, once again I wonder where we are heading. The squad is imbalanced and thin, the perpetual lack of physicality and drive in midfield is obvious, and we have one goal scorer who I guess will be gone in January.
    I’m 100% willing to stick with this and have learned my own lessons from last season, I really want DS to be the man to take us forward, but days like yesterday continually nag at me and leave me wondering if he has the tactical nous or personality to keep us safe or hopefully do better than that.

    Big effort needed from everyone to get a much needed result next Sat.

    • Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) November 20, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

      Rebel, think you summed up perfectly how I see it, but a lot more eloquently. Pardew-lite – nail on head.

      Point on LB. I like Bjelland & Yoann a lot, but want to see them at centre half, is it time to give Tom Field a go until Elder or Rico are fit?

  3. BigginHill bee November 20, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    Rebel sums it up nicely. Cracking start, then we stood back and got punished. Belland had a terrible game and this experiment of playing him out of position should stop. In fairness to him he should have been off at half time instead of waiting for the last 5 minutes. Blackburn murdered us with crosses in the first half and Hogan’s equaliser against play stopped what could have been a rout. We only used the wings in the last 20 minutes when we came strongly at Blackburn. As to Harlee, tough on him but when he came forward and started to run directly at their defence (which we rarely do) he looked threatening and like he might have got a goal.
    We were at our best towards the end, pushing for the equaliser and the team’s bite is there.
    As to DS, yet again his substitution’s (or lack of) raised a lot of questions on the terrace yesterday and I too wondered why I was there.
    A cold, sleety and wet day, frozen feet and the train home was late and we had lost. Sums the day up really but what the heck, next Sat is another day but we do need a result……..

  4. RebelBee November 20, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    BQ, I watched Field play for the B team recently, he played in a different position so it was hard to assess his readiness for the step up, my gut feeling is that maybe it’s a bit of an ask. The lad Ilias chatzitheodoridis looked a good player at full back and iirc has been in the full squad this season. To develop your question further, I don’t feel that DS has given the fringe players enough minutes to be ready when called upon, this was evident yesterday with Kaikai, and if Hoffman, KK or others are needed, they aren’t match ready.

    Totaly agree with Biggin Hill on the substitutions, why weren’t any made sooner and why wasn’t Hoffman thrown in?

    How long until Mac’s ban is up? I’m coming to the view that RW & Nico can’t continue as the starting CM pair. We’re losing games in midfield at the moment, oh to have a Judge, Jota, Dallas, Pritch or Canos out there to give some much needed quality.

    That said we scored 2 quality goals yesterday and gave away 3 cheap goals, if we’d just cut out some of the crosses that rained in we’d still have come away with some points.

  5. Stephen O'Brien November 20, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

    It does make you wonder that if the ‘lay’ person or loyal supporter can see where our failings are in the team, week in, week out, then why has a manager who has been in place for quite some time now, not seeing it?

    I have seen a few B team games now and there is quality in the side. The Arsenal loan left back Ilias chatzitheodoridis, is surely worth a gamble as like others have mentioned above, the Bjelland left back experiment has failed on far too many occasions this season (Aston Villa away, Fulham and Barnsley at home to name but a few).

    Centre midfield is light of a battler and we now find ourslves craving for McCormack to come back in to fill it, 3 years after being surplus to requirements under Warburtons leadership as simply not good enough to make the team, yet now all this time later, we’re hanging on in there for him.

    Being cutting cold and calculated, Kaikai, Hoffman and McEachran are simply not good enough. Vibe, Clarke and Sawyers aren’t there yet either and need to find something more and quickly. It’s plain now that Woods and Yennaris don’t gel together in the middle but both can be good on their day but would stick with Woods as he’s so comfortable on the ball.

    But I honestly think that it all starts from the top, the man in charge and whether we look back over the last year of whether 1 player has improved under his guidance and leadership? To me, the answer is no. I think we got very lucky at the tail end of last year where after Judges injury we only started to pick up points when McEachran, who was his number 1 on the team sheet got injured and stopped his usual backwards and sideways passing and then this year, when you’re hoping a summer and a pre season will mean improvements but I haven’t seen any if I’m totally honest.

    I have never become endeared to him or felt that he’s one of us. He’s cold in interviews and doesn’t show much passion on the sidelines. He doesn’t handle media well or hasn’t got a rapport with the fans and nothing, nothing at all makes me warm to him. I think it’s his dressy trousers with training ground coat combo that really does it for me. Either pick a suit, or wear a tracksuit, not one of each. Haha. But I do think that it’s been noted by Benham but perhaps the purse strings are tight now, far tighter than we as fans might know but unless a change happens the I fear we’ll be dragged towards the bottom 3 sooner rather than later.

    The most important person in any business or company, including football, is the main man at the top, as it’s his drive and desire and sense of direction that dictates where the staff under him go and with what passion to achieve……..and if looking at it from outside in then I have to say that from this side of the fence, Dean Smith is not the man for this season, nor next, nor ever will be. I don’t have the answer as to who but feel as though it has to change.

    I also fear that the B team coach has left and gone back home to Denmark now and all the good work and squad gathering there might suffer as a result too but hope this season has more than just the QPR away result to pacify us because for the last 7 games, QPR aside, it’s been a bit of a miss and on the slide performance scale. Even the players demeanours and attitudes have suffered as a result and Hogan is key to seeing this too.

    Frustrating day yesterday but fear for more to come.

    • nickbruzon November 20, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

      Brutally honest but a compelling read. Thanks Stephen

  6. gordonbankole November 21, 2016 at 6:23 pm #

    Dear Mr O’Brien

    Your slagging off of the ‘Bjelland left-back experiment’ would have more credibility if you stuck to fact. I think you’ll find that Barbet (seen by some as the panacea of the left-back problem) played there against Barnsley and had a bit of a shocker. Bjelland played centre-back and had a very solid game. If you don’t believe me, check the team sheet from that day.

    Equally, your views on DS might have more credibility if ‘what really does it for you’ was related to football rather than his dress sense. Marinus’ “Romanian trucker look” (to quote from a film) was not the most flattering but amused me rather than providing me with a reason to question his managerial capabilities.

    Regards

    Gordon

    • Stephen November 21, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

      Dear Mr Bankole,

      I’m sorry you didn’t take the views on Dean Smith and his attire in the light hearted way it was meant. I would have thought the ‘haha’ after it might have been a give away but like a lot of balls over the years down at Griffin Park have done to our defence, it simply went over your head. Never mind!

      And apologies again, it was actually the Fulham game where Bjelland was mightily exposed as a centre half (what might be a very decent centre half) playing at left back. He wasn’t alone that night by any means but he’s rigid, lacking a turn of pace, does not have the ability to overlap and gets caught out of position playing in an unfamiliar one to him. If any of that you disagree with then we see games from different perspectives, that’s football, it happens! I’m afraid having seen Odabajo playing as a wing back for a year or more at GP, the bar has been raised considerably and anything less than that, is open to question now!

      And my views on Dean Smith haven’t borne out over the last couple of games, I have not felt enamoured or endeared to him since last season. I think he lucked out towards end of year where there was a very strong possibility hat we would end up in a relegation dog fight but luckily McEachran got injured and he had no option but to leave him out finally but I don’t see us gaining more than 1 point in next 2 games and then Barnsley at home becomes a must win and a few weeks before Christmas and we could be sitting just above the relegation zone. If I thought Dean Smith personality or emphasis to see us out of it, I’d be a bit calmer, but I don’t, so I won’t!

  7. gordonbankole November 21, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

    Dear All

    Another point before we get stuck in on ‘training ground coat and slacks combo’ DS.

    Beyond the initial signings of Bentley, Egan (both excellent) and Sawyers (horribly inconsistent), we had to wait an interminable time before adding to the squad. Elder came in, and then as we were crying out for attacking players with pace, it seemed we bet everything on getting the boy Kaikai (who has turned out to be poor) to the detriment of getting other potential signings.

    So what we have now is a squad light on numbers and also lacking pace in some key areas.

    The fault of DS? Maybe partly, though not for the first time I think more questions have to be asked of Messrs Giles and Ankersen.

    Regards

    Gordon

    PS. I actually agree with the point about Bjelland above. Just don’t quote a game where he played well in his proper position as justification!

    PPS. I agree in some ways with the points about DS. Everyone seems strangely ambivalent about him. That said, I don’t think we’re anywhere near the ‘Smith out’ stage yet.

    PPPS. Getting a firing Jota back in January would make a vast difference. He is doing nothing at Eibar, but if he came back here he would have to get up to speed pretty bloody quickly.

  8. gordonbankole November 22, 2016 at 7:08 am #

    Dear Mr O’Brien

    I know the ‘EFL’ are full of stupid ideas, but I wasn’t aware of the one where you play the same team at home twice during the season (Barnsley).

    However, like some of your comments above, your point about the game against Burton on the 10th December might have some validity. We need to stop the rot.

    Regards

    Gordon

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