What happens in Preston, stays in Preston as Harlee makes a frank admission.

12 Feb

F*ck off Brentford” said one supporter on Twitter after this one. Others were calling for Dean Smith’s head. I’ve even seen comments reminding us that Mark Warburton is available after his resignation/non resignation from Rangers. Seriously? Seriously?? Sure, The Bees had been beaten 4-2 by Preston North End but let’s leave that nonsense and put this one down to the proverbial bad day at the office.

After those two tonkings administered to Aston Villa and Brighton, had Dean Smith gone into this one with anything but the same approach then, perhaps, there could have been casue for frustration. But no, he stuck to his guns and rightly so.

This team and formation were the exact same decisions I would have taken and, whilst just the numpty on the terrace rather than any form of Championship Manager, it was great to see Dean continue with this attacking intent. Indeed, despite the availability of John Egan, amongst others, the only change was one of personnel as fit again Maxine Colin replaced Josh Clarke in the right back position.

The anti-performance at Chelsea had been followed by a new look team and a new set up. Despite the absence of Scott Hogan, six goals had followed from five different players.

Now make that 8 goals from 7(seven) players in three games as Lasse, Nico, Harlee, KK and Jota were joined by Maxime Colin and Tom Field on the list of recent scorers. For Tom in particular, his first league goal for Brentford – and one which gave us an early lead –  was the perfect riposte to his critic after last Sunday’s post match nonsense.


Post goal celebrations for Tom Field, c/o the Sky Sports highlight reel

After that, though, the wheels fell off. Aiden McGeady waltzed through the Brentford midfield and defence to equalise from distance for the hosts. Preston then took the lead early into the second half as Callum Robinson stole in totally unmarked between Harlee and Andreas to beat the offside trap and tap home.

And with the Bees pushing to get back into it, Mcgeady (again)  and Daryl Horgan put the game beyond doubt as it became a case of “After you, Claude” from Brentford. Maxime Colin pulled one back late on via a generous deflection but that was how it ended.

As ever, proper match reports are available on the BBC, Besotted or ‘official’. Likewise, you’ve got free video highlights on Sky – at least, until we get the full fat Burridge infused version on Beesplayer lunchtime.

It was interesting to read the post match comments of both Dean Smith and Harlee Dean after this one. Talking to ‘official’, Dean admitted that “We lost our organisation and our discipline, we opened up too easily and they could have scored more. We need to be disciplined and have emotional control. Football is about scoring goals and you can’t get too emotionally involved when the opposition score one”.

As for Harlee, his observations were on a similar line. Along with a captain’s standard post defeat apology to those who travelled, there was an admission of tactical naivety from the players combined with their poor decisions and poor performances. Coming from the man in the midst of the action, these are probably more telling and comments I take heart from.

It is hard to remember that Harlee is only 25. One forgets just how young he was when he first turned out for Andy Scott’s Bees way back in November 2011. Yet here is a man who has fought his way up from non league and loanee to now being club captain and one of the first names on the team sheet.


Harlee Dean – also appearing on Twitter at FT

Don’t get me wrong, nobody wants to make that long journey home (longer for those who travelled on Virgin Rail if head of media relation’s Chris Wickham’s twitter account was anything to go by) on the back of a 4-2 scoreline. Yet if the players themselves are aware of where they went wrong and where they showed inconsistency (another phrase used by Harlee in that post match article and which has been visible to all but the most blinkered of supporters this season) then there is hope that this newly reinvigorated team can continue to do what they’ve been doing.

We’ve two very tricky fixtures coming up. Midweek trips to teams currently looking for play off points. Reading this Tuesday and then Sheffield Wednesday a week later.

Here’s hoping Dean can hold his nerve in regards to team selection again.

Here’s hoping the team can learn from those mistakes on Saturday.

Here’s hoping that what happened in Preston, stays in Preston.

Nick Bruzon



10 Responses to “What happens in Preston, stays in Preston as Harlee makes a frank admission.”

  1. Mark Hardy February 12, 2017 at 9:57 am #

    “…If you can keep your head when all about you…are losing theirs…’ !!!
    Obviously, total frustration yesterday (especially for those who made the journey again), but you’ve summed it up well Nick. Hear what you say…and I suspect most of us still buy into the Club’s current philosophy…but…..let’s see where we find ourselves after the next couple of weeks …

    • nickbruzon February 12, 2017 at 9:59 am #

      Cheers Mark. Two humongous games coming up and really stern tests. Yet, if this is the team and set up for the future then let’s see what they can do

  2. Jason Van Donovan February 12, 2017 at 10:25 am #

    I’d happily drive DS back to the Midlands if Warbs agreed to come back.

    Aside from brining some Hello Magazine-esque glamour to the dugout, I couldn’t point to a single positive he’s responsible for.

    Lovely (and bookishly sexy), yes, but in my eyes he’s been treading water (note to editor: I picture him doing it in a pair of vulcanised rubber speedos) for his entire tenure.

    • nickbruzon February 12, 2017 at 11:03 am #

      Oh Jason, if ever there was the temptation to go out and play with Photoshop…..
      Whatever your thoughts on Warbs (and I think the man a living legend) I think we’ve more chance of Mr Benham donnning the aforementioned vulcanised rubber speedos than welcoming back his former manager.
      Frankly, I’d slip on a pair for the next home game were that ever to happen. And nobody needs to imagine that.

  3. BigginHill Phil February 12, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Have to agree with you too Nick; it was the team I’d have picked after the last two games. For the first 15 mins I thought we were playing as if we were winners. Then the potion kicked in and Mr Hyde appeared. Their first goal happened because we stood back and gave too much room; it fired up Preston who closed us down and could break away down the middle. Fair play to Bentley for seeing off two one on ones or it would have been worse. We seem to rise to the occasion against big teams, don’t against mediocre ones and inconsistency needs to be eliminated. Harlee and the team knows this. A good team is there when it gets its act together and in my opinion Colin was our best player yesterday, tackling well and prepared to run forward.
    At least it wasn’t as cold as at the Wigan and Blackburn games but then there was the Virgin train back. I’m driving to Reading……

  4. RebelBee February 12, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    A couple ok good performances at GP can’t mask the inability of our coach to show tactical flexibility on the road. When we go with a 5 we lose creativity, when we go 4 we seem wide open but do score. Another forward & an upgrade on Nico would have helped in the window. The question needs to be asked, do we have the players or is the coach unable to get results because of recruitment issues?

    We are looking over our shoulder now, personally I think we’re better than results.

  5. Alan Truman February 12, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

    Hi Nick
    As an ealing road supporter of many years and as an avid reader of your blog not always agreeing but on this one you are spot on Dean had to stick with the team that performed so well against Villa and Brighton and if Dean was such a bad manager would Sergi have held out to return to Brentford instead of probably a more lucrative deal with Leeds to work with Dean who bought the best out of him last season Keep up the good work Nick.

    Alan Truman

  6. simonsapper February 12, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

    Another good piece Nick – totally agree (ps – you might want to amend reference to Tom’s goal to satisfy any pedants – 1st league goal, obvs)

    • nickbruzon February 12, 2017 at 4:58 pm #

      Thanks Simon, as ever. Pedantry avoided. 🙂

  7. Gordonbankole February 12, 2017 at 8:25 pm #

    Dear All

    I shall stick to facts. Since 1st Oct, we are 20 points from 20 games. We have played teams off the park during this time, but this is our yield. ‘Should have’ seems the story of the season.

    This is relegation form, much as it was from Jan-March last season (7 points from 13 games if I’m not mistaken), These vast barren runs seem to be a feature of DS’ tenure.

    So what happens? We give Joe Mediocre an extended contract.

    Again, if things go badly away from home in the next two weeks, then the Rotherham home game becomes huge for the manager, contract extension or not.



    PS. I was at the game last week with a Brighton fan who said we should we should have won by two goals. However we didn’t. This sums up how soft we are.

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