Christmas present from Crystal Palace helps Brentford draw with 12 man Cardiff.

27 Dec

A fair point, lucky to get away with it or robbed? Brentford and Cardiff City shared the spoils in 2-2 Boxing Day draw that sprang to life late in the second half but, prior to that, had been a game which felt as stodgy and bloated as a third helping of sprouts and Christmas pudding. Only the presence of Crystal Palace loanee Sullay Kaikai managing to save the day.

And talking of Christmas puddings (oh, the crowbarring…) referee Simon Hooper was giving out no gifts (the penalty to Cardiff for their opener, aside) as he enraged the Griffin Park faithful, management and players – with Harlee Dean being awarded a yellow card for his (correct) protests at yet another stonewall penalty being turned down.


Harlee tells the ref what we all think and saw – c/o Beesplayer highlights (below)

It was as shocking a display of refereeing as one could hope to see. Consistently poor decision making as appeals for three nailed on spotkicks were waved away by the man in the middle. But it wasn’t just him.

The assistant on the Braemar Road side  proving absolutely no use in telling him what we could all see. Their existence on the pitch proving pointless which, ironically, was how Brentford were almost left after Cardiff had retaken the lead with minutes on the clock.


Pointless officials almost left the Bees , erm, empty handed

One point for the visitors would have been harsh, let alone all three. They’d taken the lead in the first half with the one penalty that Mr Hooper saw fit to award, for the most innocuous of innocuous ‘challenges’ (please note: yours, and everybody else’s definition of the word ‘challenge may vary).

Yet if the Bees had been robbed we were hardly making a fight of hauling ourselves back into it. Turgid, apathetic, lazy. Every manner of ’too much Christmas dinner’ related cliche. Any of these would have been an apt description of a team that not so much failed to get going as failed to make it out onto the pitch.

With Cardiff opting to go for muscle , brawn and height there is enough talent in this team to have kept it on the deck and run rings around them. Instead, it was tedium in football form. Bounced off the challenge and as many sideways and backwards passes as attempts to take it forward dominated our play. The first half was, frankly, as entertaining as a Christmas cracker joke.


Answers on a postcard…

An hour in, substitutions . And good ones. McEachran for Sawyers and Sullay Kaikai for Lasse Vibe. Neither had played well whilst, for whatever reasons, the form of our great Dane seems to have long gone off the boil. How he is still justifying a starting berth is confusing to many but, with the new look team in place, things did step up.

With an added positive substitution of Philipp Hofmann coming on for Bjelland, the Bees began to push. And push. The penalty appeals aside, it was surely going to be matter of time.

And then it happened. Visiting ‘keeper Brian Murphy could no longer hold off the red hoardes as, despite a number of fine saves, he finally saw his net bulge courtesy of a quite magnificent effort from Sullay Kaikai. That’s one to hit rewind for again and again once the official highlights come out (until then, we have the Sky variant available).

Mark Burridge now on hand for ‘official’ comms

But with the Bees pressing for a late winner, we were caught short. Kenneth Zohore beating the last man when played on side and, with a generous shove chucked into the mix, was able to fire the Bluebirds into an 89th minute 2-1 lead.

With fans trooping out early for the pub, and City gloating, it was dead in the water, wasn’t it? Those who stayed were rewarded for their faith. That man Kaikai popping up again to head home John Egan’s cross and salvage a point for the Bees.

We should have won this. We could have lost it. Don’t let the anti-performance of the referee or our late surge disguise the fact that we were so desperately poor for huge swathes of this game. But for the Crystal Palace man we’d have had few complaints, barring the referee, at coming away empty handed.

A team just can’t rely on arbitrary decision making from the man in the middle to determine their fate. Cardiff offered nothing beyond grunt yet even that was too sophisticated for the Bees in the opening hour.

The record books will show a point earned and, in the longer term, we’ll have few complaints. Yet I do wonder why Dean’s teams are so inconsistent and such late starters?  Why can’t we play for 90 minutes? See also : Birmingham City . Why do we just fail to turn up at times? See also: Barnsley, Norwich City and Fulham.

I’ve no issue losing but the consistency, or lack off, is perplexing. We just don’t know which Brentford we’re going to get. Here’s hoping that when we play Norwich City on New Year’s Eve it’ll be the one that humped Reading 4-1 or Preston 5-0 way back in September.

Not the Brentford who got turned over 5-0 at Carrow Road earlier this month.

On Dec 31st, we find out. See you there.

Nick Bruzon

5 Responses to “Christmas present from Crystal Palace helps Brentford draw with 12 man Cardiff.”

  1. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) December 27, 2016 at 11:21 am #

    Nail on head Nick. For a large part of the game we were rubbish, disinterested with no drive to push forward. Ironically, one of the few players who realised that the object of the game was to get near the opposition goal was Lasse. Lasse continued to try and drive forward only for Nico or Romaine to hold up play and pass the ball back again. Lasse is trying to hard to make an impact in his disjointed season where his sojourn to the Olympics has done him more harm than good. He needs to relax a bit, but he also needs his team to push forward with him.

    The substitutions of Dean Smith have long been baffling to all of us, whereas this time all 3 made a positive impact with Kaikai changing the whole face of the game. Pleased for Sullay who i thought wasnt up to the rigours of the Championship, but what do I know. I still feel with Dean that he doesnt know how to make a team successful, it kind of just happens, hence the inconsistency in results and performances. In the past year I dont think anyone can genuinely see we have moved forward, but with Dean taken a step back.

    Cardiff’s MOM was Simon Hooper which may be a bit harsh on their keeper, but he was clearly their best asset on the day. Yet another appalling performance from Mr Hooper one can only wish he gets promoted to the Premier as he is seen as one of the more likely by the SG2 group by the powers that be. A penalty given which no one seemed to know what it was for and 3 surefire Bees claims turned down. What has he got against Brentford? One remembers another dreadful performance from him last season at GP.

    Confirmation that the referee was dreadful came from Neil Warnock. Not a comment about Mr Hooper’s performance, which has to be a first from the toupeed boss.

  2. RebelBee December 27, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

    Spot on summary as far as I saw it. Good spot re the actual push on Field for their 2nd btw. Despite Hooperman redefining ineptitude this was as poor a bees display as I’ve seen at GP since we stepped up to this level. I’m one who’s just happy to stay in this league but I wonder what our ambitious owner must be thinking right now. Are his recruitment team really providing the tools & does the head coach know how to get a tune out of the players he has? Is there a Brentford way anymore? Hard to see one in terms of playing style & system. Cardiff were poor & this game wasn’t championship quality, yet another side from below us in the table that we just can’t deal with. Smith has produced a couple of famous results for us & maybe deserves more patience, dumping coach after coach rarely works, but I’m pretty sure that the work being done at Huddersfield & Barnsley is more what MB was striving for than what we’re seeing under Smith. Lose to Norwich & then go out of the cup & it could all be over. Watershed moments methinks!

  3. martin December 27, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

    im sure many fans of other teams get frustrated with their sides but although we have had some wonderful moments over the past three seasons we have also suffered perfomances such as yesterday along the way. we are not far away maybe some power and aerial ability in midfield, we win very few challenges in the air meaning clearances come straight back at us.imperative we maintain our championship satus, gonna be a tough few weeks ahead.

  4. Tim Pyle December 27, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

    I agree in the main, apart from the subs Romaine and Lasse although not in form were two that were at least trying to up the tempo and work to get the ball, I would have taken off nico, and another don’t slate me (Hogan) as he looks tired. I feel smiths time is very limited and would prefer him to go sooner than later, he has turned a very good squad into a very mediocre one.

    • nickbruzon December 27, 2016 at 7:34 pm #

      Fair points. Hogan looked elsewhere but you can’t discount him from latching onto a through ball just once. As for Nico, would have had no issue if he’d been subbed. has liked as off the pace as Lace in recent weeks. Two went – he survived it at that point but for us needing to shed a defender it could as easily have been three with him

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