Unlucky Bees end day with nil points but loads of positive Vibes. Is Scott Hogan on the way?

14 Jan

What an afternoon. What a game. How Brentford emerged from that with nothing is one we’re still chewing over hours after the referee blew the final whistle. How Newcastle United got away with all three points remains a mystery after a backs to the wall second half which saw the Bees do everything but add to Lasse Vibe’s equaliser. They won’t care though – and why should they? Balls in the back of the net and points in the bag are all that counts. And with Dean Smith choosing to keep Scott Hogan on the bench (Hello? Operator? Can I have the number for West Ham please?) there were more talking points than just the on pitch action.

First things first, well played Newcastle United. The defended like champions whilst Dwight Gayle’s first half opener was absolutely top class. We’ve bigged him up on these pages all season but here was yet another demonstration of why.

Cutting in from the left touchline he had no right whatsoever to shoot from that angle, let alone beat a keeper of Daniel Bentley’s quality from there. But what a finish – power and precision. It hurts to lose, really hurts, yet at the same time one can only extend the hand of sportsmanship to admire that finish (one to check on the video highlights).

Yet with the danger man going off injured after less than half an hour, Brentford woke up. The brand of cagey-sideways-backwards football made way for a more pressing form. A trend continued in the second half where, despite kicking ‘the wrong way’ (sneaky, sneaky from Newcastle at the toss) we came out like the proverbial express train.

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Brentford were compelled to attack the home end in the first half – never a popular move

Vibe’s equaliser after a goalmouth melee more than justified as the Bees continued to apply pressure on what was, being honest, a very solid side but one ultimately made to look quite average relative to the Bees. Certainly, on the day. Griffin Park erupted as he stabbed it home and then the atmosphere built as the Bees went again.

Ooohh. Vibe off the inside of the post almost gave us the lead – the ball somehow staying out with the home fans already cheering –  before Daryl Murphy rose between two defenders to nod home a cross in a rare Newcastle break upfield. With stonewall penalties being denied (again) it looked all up for the Bees.

Yet in an incredible 9 (nine) minutes of added time for injuries and stoppages mercurial midfielder Jota almost gave the consummate demonstration of his party piece. Weaving around the box and shrugging off defenders, he eventually found enough space to unleash a thunderbolt . Kudos to Newcastle custodian Karl Darlow, flinging himself to his right to deny the talismanic Spaniard with a quite magnificent save.

Jota in the last minute? Sadly not this time. There would have been scenes had he done it. And that’s just on the gantry where Mark Burridge would likely have self-combusted.

And there, it finished. Heads held high for Brentford yet Newcastle took all there points back to the North-East. With Brighton losing at Preston ( no surprise to regular readers given who had previewed them on Football Focus this morning…), the Magpies end the day at the top of the Championship table.

That’s the good stuff. The weird stuff surrounds Scott Hogan. After that buttock ‘injury’ that caused him to miss the FA Cup, he was declared fully fit by Dean Smith on Thursday. Indeed, our head coach had gone one better by telling us he was available and adding “I fully expect him to want to score a hat-trick against Newcastle United and show people who may question his Premier League credentials that he can do it.”

So how do we then get to a situation where he ends the day as an unused substitute?

I’ve no issue with him not coming onto the pitch today. Absolutely I’d have loved to see him involved  – especially in a game where we were pushing for a winner. Yet given the sums of money being talked up and a potential transfer still hanging in the air, the risk of getting hurt was too great. Something demonstrated by the visitors who lost three players (include substitute Vernon Anita) to injury.

But if that was the worry, as intimated in the post match interviews, then why name him on the bench at all? Either start him or give the place to somebody who might have had chance of making it onto the pitch.

We’re not stupid. We know he’s going at some point. That’s football. Maybe I’m being too simplistic but the second he was named as as substitute (and that’s with the utmost respect to Lasse Vibe who had a GREAT game) there was no chance we’d see him in action.

Why limit your options? Why not call one of the B-team back from Germany if the decision had been made on Friday ? That, something you can hear about in Billy Reeves’ post match interview.

As for those penalties, or lack of, well Dean was on the mark here when talking to the BBC man as he told  Billy, “Normal service was resumed in non-penalties for Brentford football club….. You have one careful what you say but a big club against a smaller club – there were three defies”. And you can listen to that one, here.

Well played Brentford. Yet again, an example of close but no cigar. Had we gone for it from the off then who knows? Had the ref done us a favour for once then who knows? Had Jota pulled that last minute moment of magic out of the bag then who knows?

Yet this time, defeat feels like a victory. Ok, we’ve got no points but I’m so proud of how our boys played for huge swathes of this one. Beautiful passing football and wonderful periods of domination.

So often we’ve said that balls in the back of the net are the only stat that counts. That remains true yet, at the same time, this really feels different today.

Positive vibes? He was brilliant today.

Bad luck, Brentford. Now let’s go and stuff Wigan next weekend.

Nick Bruzon 

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9 Responses to “Unlucky Bees end day with nil points but loads of positive Vibes. Is Scott Hogan on the way?”

  1. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) January 14, 2017 at 11:53 pm #

    Was pessimistic before the game. Not only did we hold our own, but we played Newcastle off the park. They had maybe 4 chances and scored with 2 of them, with Gayle showing exactly why he is the best striker in the division. We made Newcastle look quite ordinary.

    Generally the team to a man did reasonably well, Romaine still struggling with the pace although I did wonder whether he was carrying an injury having seen him getting individual attention with the fitness coach & a giant rubber band before kick off. McEachran too wasnt quite on form, but you cant help but feel one of those passes will be the killer pass. Maxime was superb and a word for Lasse, much maligned by a number of supporters, worked his socks off today.

    The ref, Kavanagh, was yet another ref favouring the big team, quickly following in recent weeks Hooper & Langford. Some astonishing penalty decisions turned down which even Geordies were surprised were not given. Someone at the club needs to be making some noise to the EFL & PGMOL. You may be surprised to know that todays ref is the most likely to make the step up to the Premier League. Maybe he was getting pally Moose-style with the Newcastle players and staff now in preparation for next season.

    Now for Scott Hogan. Why on Earth was he named on the bench if there was no intention of him coming on? I dont just mean from Dean Smith’s bizarre comments, but through the match. Although he came out to warm up before the game, it did seem all a bit half hearted. He did NOT once warm up down the touchline during the match, or come out and join the other subs at HT. It was clear he was never going to come on. So why pick him, particularly as youngster Reece Cole was in his kit and ready before the match too. I dont blame Scott for that, but see it as really poor management

    • nickbruzon January 15, 2017 at 8:26 am #

      Couldn’t agree more, BQ. Nobody can be angry at Scott for that decision. It was an utterly baffling one – moreso when you compare the pre and post match comments from Dean.

      Scott is going. We get that and wish him well. Genuinely. But if he’s not going to play (something ultimately evidenced by The Hoffman coming on) then don’t name him. Who knows what situation might have transpired that having an available substitute would have resolved?

      Very odd and a complete o.g. from Dean

  2. RebelBee January 15, 2017 at 8:55 am #

    Very disappointed by yesterday. Sure we played well & ended up unlucky, but were as responsible for the loss as the duffer in black! 2 slopppy passes from Egan & Josh fully punished. Vibe fluffing some great chances despite playing well & making very good runs. The handling of SH was a mess & will possibly cost bfc money. He plays or he’s on the sofa – end of! That all said if DS had gone for it at 1-1 we’d have a lovely win to talk about today. Poor day all round for Deano I felt. Let’s not forget how rare a home win has become these days, it could be so different with a more positive approach from our coach.

  3. martin January 15, 2017 at 9:00 am #

    yes guys completely agree about Scott Hogan being named as sub, why don’t West Ham just pay up and we can all move on. Vibes been under par since Rio but given lone striker role he has shone, obviously would want Hogan to stay, despite wonder goal from Carroll West Ham will benefit. rubbish ref again.

  4. Gordonbankole January 15, 2017 at 9:40 am #

    Excellent performance once we realised they weren’t up to much and we started having a go at them, but we end up as plucky losers again.

    Was the negative approach at the start deliberate, because if so it cost us big time?

    A number of fine individual performances all over the park – none more so than Woods for me. And he didn’t even get man of the match (Tom Field did).

    I realise I’m leaving myself wide open here, but Sawyers frustrates me massively and is the ultimate luxury player. Yes, I realise that he puts through the odd sumptuous pass, but he does not do it anywhere near often enough for me. He loses the ball far too often and he does not seem to bust a gut to win it back. When you’re under pressure away from home or even open to the counter-attack at home as we were early doors yesterday, it’s not what you need. The fact that he is seen as “Dean Smith’s man” is hardly helping things – a lot of the crowd have turned against Sawyers (for the record, I am against the jeering he gets) and it doesn’t do the manager’s credibility any good in their eyes.

    If Jota can reach the standards he showed two years ago, which looks a possibility, he can play that role with much more consistency whilst offering much more of a goal threat than Sawyers does.

    Anyway, important we bounce back at Wigan next week – no point playing well against the big boys if you can’t then produce against the relegation candidates seven days on.

    Regards

    Gordon

    • RebelBee January 15, 2017 at 11:40 am #

      Agree on RS, big chance to show his obvious qualities & for me he was a weak link. Loose passes, flicks that never came off & outfought so often. Josh gifted their 2nd but he Nico & woods showed for every pass & drove us on. RS has to offer more in this team.

  5. John January 15, 2017 at 9:48 am #

    Unfortunately could not make yesterday’s game but from all reports sounds like we were very unlucky. Looking at the highlights I put the Vibe effort that hit the post on slow fast forward and it looks like it was over the line…so even more bad luck! Great to see Jota again….magic feet!!

    • nickbruzon January 15, 2017 at 10:44 am #

      I’m still not sure how Lasse’s effort didn’t cross the line. Did it? Who knows?

  6. Rob January 15, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

    First of all, well played Bees. It was an enjoyable game players gave it 100% and but for some myopic refereeing (the quality of the refereeing this season has quite frankly been rediculously poor) we’d have come away with at least a point. Vibe was industrious, Woods was all over the park breaking up play and setting us up on the front foot (Tom Field Brentford man of the match? He was good but Vibe, Woods & Colin were our best players IMHO). I thought Sawyers did pretty well though i agree with GB that often he trots around at 70% and is slow in possession, but he can thread the ball through an eye of a needle and does have the vision to see a pass; a work in progress.
    As everyone has mentioned though why was SH an unused sub? He must be close to leaving. And perhaps the 3 injuries to the Newcastle “elite” during the match made DS decide not to risk him in the dying stages. Still i would have loved to see him up against their No. 5 who came on to replace the injuried No. 8. He would have given the Newcastle back line an even more torrid time.
    I hope business is concluded swiftly now. We need to steel a march on our competitors like SWFC did with Sam Winnall. £500k or so for someone who’s only scored 3 less that SH. We need that money now so we know who we can afford in this transfer window and start building a team for the future. And lets face it there’s no point in having someone of his calibre warming a bench because we are too frightened our asset might get injured.

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