Nottingham Forest 4: The invisible defence. And is this the Lionel Road news?

13 Aug

1-0 up on 40 minutes. 3-1 down after 47 minutes. Brentford not so much threw this one away as gift wrapped it, wrote ‘SWALK’ on the label and hand delivered the points to Mark Warburton in the Nottingham Forest dugout. One of only three teams in the Championship without a point, the Bees will be looking to get off the mark against Bristol City on Tuesday night. Moreso, given so much of our attacking play in the opening two league games has suggested we deserve an awful lot more.

But regular readers know the drill here. Deserving counts for nothing. Balls in the back of the net are all we look to when the points are being counted up. Likewise, the table only starts to take on a real shape when we are ten games into the campaign.

Put it this way, at this stage two seasons ago we were four points better off and with Marinus at the helm. And look how that opening period to a season would eventually play out…

We will look back the goals that we conceded and see if we can improve from there”, Dean Smith told ‘official’ after the game. Dean, if we can’t then there is something seriously wrong. If Billy Sharp’s winner for Sheffield United saw us go walkabout, then this was the stuff of the worst horror sequels. Nottingham Forest 4 : The invisible defence.

The 1st team defence – static

The fourth goal in particular was one which would see the word ‘shambolic’ trending on Twitter. At least, in TW8. Sky have the video highlights up already. Do take a look. If you want a lesson in how to coned a goal then here it was. More frustrating was the fact that it came after Brentford had hauled themselves back into things at 2-3 down. Andreas Bjelland’s effort correctly adjudged to have crossed the line, even though it looked a close call from the Bramear Road and those Ealing Road wags situated directly behind the goal. It was no more than the build up of pressure had suggested would be coming until it then all went South. Again.

Positives? Well, first up let’s give due praise to Forest and, in particular, Andreas Bouchalakis. His brace helped secure the points but the second, just after half time, was a beautiful strike from distance that even had some of the home fans clapping. Credit where it’s due – it was a wonderful finish.

For Brentford, there was no shortage of effort going forward. Ollie Watkins impressed, along with Flo Jo and Kamo. There was a first league goal for Neal Maupay and it wouldn’t surprise me to see all four start against Bristol City. Along with Romaine Sawyers who gave his all and got stuck in, coming on from the bench.

IMG_5571 (1)

View from the Braemar – Rico Henry helps Brentford ‘push up’ in the first half

Yet these are all nice problems to have. It is the back four where Dean has real decisions to make. He stuck to his guns in benching Harlee but would also note afterwards that, “You have to play to the best of your ability to keep the shirt. It is too early to say for Tuesday but maybe conceding four goals we need to change things.”

Is this his way of welcoming the former captain back into the fold? Have Harlee’s contract negotiations now moved further in the player’s favour?  Could Maxime Colin win back his place in the starting XI ? Is it simply a case of ‘a bad day at the office’ in a season that is only 180 minutes old?

Certainly, I’m not overly stressed although would much rather be winning than losing.  We’ve a lot of new players come in over the summer. The attacking intent is clear for all to see and this is, as much, all about the team gelling. First things first though, let’s get the basics right. And that starts with not conceeding silly, soft goals.

The other two big talking points were Mark Warburton and Lionel Road. The former making his return to Griffin Park after leaving us at the end of 2014/15. Yet despite all the talk prior to kick off, in the end his presence seemed to be largely treated with the ambivolence reserved for a.n.other manager.

Indeed, the main subject for discussion was his attire – which consisted of a green polo shirt tucked deep in to his sports shorts. If anything, he looked less table topping manager and more ’extra from TV’s The Brittas Empire’ (one for the over 30s amongst us).

Brittas Warbs

Mark Warburton – always one to pursue new options

As for Lionel Road, everybody seems resigned to Tuesday’s stadium announcement being a capacity reduction. Although in what specific context? Could this be to accommodate any form of ‘safe standing’ zone?  Could Get West London journalist Tom Moore have been miles off the mark from his scoop during the week? And if not, how has he got hold of this news, let alone been allowed to leak it (unless this was to ‘soften the blow’)? Or could it be something else?

Something like a monorail?

Being a long standing fan of the club, Matthew Benham will be more than familiar with that story which was originally proposed as part of a new ground as far back as 2002. But that’s a scheme which has long since died a death – if for no other reason than the emergence of Cross Rail. And the chances of this one resurfacing are likely to be slim to none.

Certainly, the tweet from Independent fans group BIAS during the week suggested they weren’t happy about what is to come: We’ve been told of stadium changes & concerned at lack of consultation. We’ll work with ‪@beesotted & others to get info to fans + fan views.

Which blows my theory out of the water. Tuesday could be interesting. Of pitch, a potential announcement and on field the visit of Bristol City.

Here’s to getting everything back on the rails. Although perhaps not of the mono variety.

Lionel Road monorail

Could THIS be the Lionel Road news?

Nick Bruzon


10 Responses to “Nottingham Forest 4: The invisible defence. And is this the Lionel Road news?”

  1. Peter Lovelock August 13, 2017 at 8:06 am #

    I cannot for the life of me understand why, when having arguably the best right back in the league, we do not start with Maxine – contract difficulties or not. We were far too vulnerable on that flank.

    • peter lumley August 13, 2017 at 8:28 am #

      Agree with Peter’s point.Nor can I understand why Ollie Watkins is not played from the start !

  2. the ain't August 13, 2017 at 8:34 am #

    mebe eads should roll if dey don’t beat Bristol. 17500 aint big enough for a premiership venue why bovver moving in dis case

  3. Gordonbankole August 13, 2017 at 8:36 am #

    Dear All

    I think we saw the dangers of the ‘we’ll score more goals than you’ approach yesterday.

    That was a defensive display straight from the Marinus era. I realise it’s a game of opinions etc. etc., but why we are playing our 3rd and 4th choice centre-backs I just don’t know.

    The boy Dalsgaard? Now whether playing him as an auxiliary right-winger was a deliberate ploy or not, I’m not sure. If it was, the management need an urgent rethink. If it wasn’t, he showed the tactical understanding of an Under 8 player as regards his defensive duties. I lost count of the times he went AWOL. All this with Máxime Colin on the bench, who really must be wondering what’s going on. Frankly Clarkey looks a better defender on that showing.

    Am I the only one who thinks Bentley should have done much better with that trickier which hit his near post (the second goal)? He seemed to lose his bearings big time.

    Mokotjo looked excellent, and we played some decent stuff at times going forward. But when you’re chasing the game, it doesn’t half put pressure on the forwards to perform.

    Finally, on Lionel Road, do we know the reasons behind he change of plans?



    • RebelBee August 13, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

      Agree on Bentley & commented on it yesterday, thought he was beaten too easily more than once. Poor advert for the division I felt, 2 average sides on the day – bees slightly more error prone & Forest a bit more fortunate.

      Lots to work on & pronto or we’ll be in the annual DS slump a bit early.

      As for LR, worst kept secret in town depending on who you know. Very poor that certain groups know before we plebs are told anything. An email update to all on the database would have been enough in prep for Tuesday.

  4. Rod Davidson August 13, 2017 at 9:23 am #

    The defence at one time was our springboard for attack where the keeper would ‘roll’ the ball to an always spare man. Now it seems Bentley is kicking long much of the time, where Vibe is expected to win an aerial battle. Not his strength I would suggest !
    The introduction of Dalsgaard, our Danish full back into the team, has also encouraged Bentley to seek out his head wide on the right. If you consider the accuracy of these long Bentley ‘ wing’ kicks, – which aren’t always spot on, then you begin to see problems of our own making. We concede possession and have to start all over again.
    The whole joy of watching Brentford these days is the mobile brand of possession football produced, but if our central defenders are pressed, and have to battle, it can be a problem for us, and our flow and tempo, suffers as a result.
    The talent is certainly there but the balance is not quite right yet.
    Nevertheless we are in the best overall shape I can ‘ever’ remember, and all credit must be paid for getting us to where we are today.

    • nickbruzon August 13, 2017 at 9:57 am #

      Thanks Rod, Absolutely agree with you here. IF we can get the balance right then good things await – certainly, it is a squad to die for. On paper….

  5. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) August 13, 2017 at 10:33 am #

    The invisible defence. Indeed. Leakier than a Max Boyce show. I made what turned out to be an unexpectedly incendiary suggestion on Twitter that Colin, Barbet & Dean were better choices than Dalsgaard, Bjelland & Egan. I am aware than certain players are in discussions about the future, which also includes Jota, but the fact remains that they are still paid employees of Brentford FC until at least next summer and there is no evidence to suggest that anyone is doing what a former No 26 did, so why are they not being picked? Id suggest that being left out of the side when inferior players are making a hash of it is not going to encourage them to sign a new contract.

    Get them into the side! Colin a player whose mistakes in his Bees career you can count on one hand and still have fingers to spare, to do what I dont know. Get Ollie Watkins in. He has shown already that he has the potential to be even better than Jota. When Woods is ready, get him back int he side too and Lasse needs to step up as Maupay certainly knows were the goal is. And get Jota firing as so far in the first 2 games he has been a shadow of the Jota we love.

  6. Dave Washer August 13, 2017 at 11:17 am #

    Am I the only one who thinks Jota didn’t look interested yesterday? To me it looked remarkably like he was going through the motions. Could it be his mind is elsewhere perhaps? Such as the London Stadium (and I’m not talking about Spain’s performance at the World Athletic Championships). As good as he is, if his head isn’t right, stick him on the bench and give someone else a chance. Personally, on Tuesday, I would play Watkins. He looked hungry for it when he came on yesterday. And what’s the point of paying nearly £2 million for one of the hottest young prospects in the EFL and then not playing them?

    Talking of not playing, I agree with all the comments re Colin. Great player who deserves to play. Dalsgaard looked pretty good going forward yesterday, but was directly responsible for Forest getting the free kick which led to their first goal. A rash challenge that kind of summed up his somewhat devil may care approach to defending.

    I understand it’s all about rotation and keeping the whole squad fit and happy, but I think Smith cocked up by not playing the team that beat Wimbledon. That was the team that had the momentum… not the team that succumbed to Sheffield United. Barbet, Colin, Daniels, Dean, Sawyers, Watkins, Maupay… they had the bit between their teeth after Tuesday. For me, they should all have started yesterday. Along with Jota, I thought McEachran was largely invisible. I also thought that Vibe could have phoned in his performance, he was so ineffectual. Give him a rest against Bristol City and give Maupay a go. Thought he looked great when he came on. Fabulous goal too.

    Agree with all the comments re the defence. At the end of the day (Brian) it’s a pretty simple game. Stop the opposition scoring and score at least one yourselves. With Maupay, Watkins, Sawyers and Jozefzoon (and Canos to return) I don’t see scoring as the issue. But defensively we were abject. To me, Bentley looked less than reassuring and I would give Daniels a chance on Tuesday. I also think Barbet should come in for Bjelland and Dean for Egan. And yes, let’s pay Dean what he wants, get him back as the leader we so desperately need and get back on track against Bristol City.

    PS. The reaction to Warburton was a non event. He was largely ignored, with Smith having his name sung.

    PPS. Re Smith, I know it’s only been two games, but I’m already getting twitchy. Leadership? Passion? Tactics? Motivation? Not for me. I know coaches like David Wagner don’t grow on trees, but at some point I think Benham has to ask himself what he sees as ‘success’ for this club. Top 10 in the Championship every season? An incredible achievement given our revenue, size, scale, etc. More than that? Never gonna happen with this manager.

    • Beesfan August 13, 2017 at 6:11 pm #

      Great article nick, just have to say that many of our more effective players were probably feeling the after affects of 120 minutes on Tuesday. Hence why they were benched. Roll on Tuesday, to use an old cliche, we go again…

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