Bees get a draw, ref has a stinker and Matthew Benham says his piece.

27 Sep

Brentford 1 Derby County 1. Another game, another draw. We’ve now reached that magic 10 played marker, have eight points and sit in 20th place. Barring the statistical miracle of Birmingham City winning by 6 goals tonight when Sheffield Wednesday visit St. Andrews, it means that’s where we’ll be heading into Saturday’s trip to Middlesbrough.

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Griffin Park always wonderful under floodlights

But if Birmingham winning by 6 would be a statistical miracle (come to think of it, the Blues just winning at the moment would be a case for the Pope in itself) then last night’s encounter at Griffin Park could be deemed much the same. Brentford ended it on 76% whilst the first half alone concluded with Derby seeing just 17.3% of the ball. Talk about one way traffic. On paper. Yet there was no irony lost in the Rams going in for their half time cuppa with a one-nil lead under the belts after Joe Ledley was given the freedom of Griffin Park to head across the goal and past Dan Bentley with little more than a quarter hour gone.

It was goal that sparked fury amongst the Brentford defence. Well, certainly hand waving and accusations at each other. But then when you watch the Sky Highlights you’ll see why. Truly, schoolboy defending given the space afforded to the Welsh international.

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Sloppy defending gifted Derby the lead

But from there, that was it from Derby. Rather than play to win they seemed intent on playing to foul. One would have thought it was Keith Stroud in the middle rather than, apparently, acting as fourth official given the flurry of first half yellow cards and poor decisions made by referee Andy Davies. Andre Wisdom in particular can count himself very lucky that his own poor judgement, charging in on Romaine Sawyers by the angry mob in the paddock, saw him given just a caution.

It was a refereeing performance that continued right to the end where, with Ollie Watkins bearing down on goal, the ref called time as the wideman was about to shoot. It was a decision which summed up his night – Davies, not Watkins. The youngster having minutes earlier scored an equaliser for the Bees from close in that our balance of play, if not our shots, had suggested would be coming.

Derby were big, dirty and physical. Brentford were given minimal protection from the ref. How this one ended 11 v 11 I still have no idea. Yet, equally, Gary Rowett’s men did a job on us. They were solid, resolute and Dean Smith’s team had no way past them. Balls were passed sideways and backwards time and again in a bid to break through. Substitutions were lacklustre and like for like, with no visible attempt to change formation or tactic. Purely adjustments to personnel. That said, Chris Mepham really did impress when he came off the bench for Andreas Bjelland at half time.

Our own shot target wasn’t in the same ball park as our possession but you can’t deny this team keep on going. This team have guts. This team kept playing. And eventually our persistence and domination was rewarded by that man Watkins as he slid home FloJo’s cross.

Should we have won? Possibly. Did we deserve more? Well, no. Sadly. Goals are what win games. Not stats. There is a grudging respect to Derby for playing a certain way. A way we couldn’t get through. Gary Rowett had done his homework and set out his stall. Poor Neal Maupay, dwarfed by the Derby defence, struggled desperately and needed either support or to be given a break. Josh Clarke and Ryan Woods, both amongst our most positive players, were removed early. At one point the disembodied voice of Peter Gilham , commentating on our Oktoberfest Oompah Band from the back of the stand, was the highlight of the first half.

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The extent of our first half oomph, ah

But the team kept going. The team plugged away. The team would eventually get the equaliser that sent the fans home relieved.

Matthew Benham would later make a rare foray onto Twitter where he had a few things to say. Alongside his own criticism of the ref there was more than a fair share for the supporters as he noted :

A really excellent performance tonight from a young, hungry side, created the vast majority of chances. Think the moaners must’ve been watching a different game! #brentfordfc

1. Yes I know boos at the end were for the ref 2. Can’t see how constantly getting on the backs of players DURING the game helps the team.

Fair? Well, I thought we struggled at times. Not in terms of being outplayed but in terms of trying to break through the opposition. As a football fan, I’m somebody who has been brought up on the unconventional tactic of trying to get the ball into the net. Perhaps I’m just out of touch. The self-confessed numpty on the terrace rather than Head Coach. Indeed, at full time Dean would talk about how well we’d stuck to our game plan and the quality of the opposition.

That latter point in particular, one that can’t be ignored. Yet what Dean and Matthew both, perhaps, overlook is that as paying fans we go into a game with a certain level of expectation. Winning the game. That’s what football is about. Surely?

We don’t have the involvement of almost being too close. Of being within that inner circle. Of seeing what goes on behind the scenes. Of being the ones stumping up the cash for the players and the stadium. What we have seen so far is our heroes sold from under our feet (for well documented reasons), some shocking defensive lapses that have turned potential victories into defeat or draw and an average of less than a point a game after reaching that magical ten game mark with a solitary victory under the belt.

That’s not to say we’ll support them any less. That’s not to say we have that divine right to ‘be any good’. I love watching the Bees but do reserve anyone’s right to shout at times. This is West London, not North Korea. I have huge respect for our owner and understand the frustration from his perspective.  But I think he was wrong on this one. If nothing else, I didn’t even hear that much moaning from my seat on the touchline. It wasn’t a great game to watch. It was a physical battle that we were often second best in. It was also a game where our team were offered minimal protection from a fussy referee.

But it was also a game that showed we keep going. So often, Brentford teams of old have just given up. Have accepted defeat. This isn’t the Butcher era. The days of Leroy are gone. I don’t agree with everything Dean does tactically in his role as head coach. But I support this club come thick or thin. I’m well pleased with another point in what were really tricky circumstances.

At the same time, I’ll never admit that last night was any form of classic. It wasn’t. It was a game that shows just how tough this league can be. It was game where we eventually got what, on balance, we deserved through grit and determination.

Saturday will be another tough challenge, no doubt. But with Middlesbrough losing at home last night (0-1 to Norwich City) is there a chink in their armour we can exploit?

Roll on the weekend when we find out.

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Matthew says his piece on Twitter at full time

Nick Bruzon

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19 Responses to “Bees get a draw, ref has a stinker and Matthew Benham says his piece.”

  1. Rob September 27, 2017 at 7:02 am #

    Hi Nick, i definitely DONT agree with MB that it was an excellent performance, that said. Bees were the team trying to play football and win the game. Hostilities, on the whole were for the ref…yet another diabolical performance from a man in black and i think you compliment Derby too much. They were really poor and lacked any ambition. Yes they defended well but that was all. For a team with so many expensive players they couldnt string 2 passes together and the free kick at the end summed them up. It was like watching Birmingham last season but without the ‘quality’ (said sarcastically as they were pretty awful too but somehow won). For me (another numpty on the terrace) the biggest goal threat in our team at the mo is Watkins and he should probably swap places with Maupay. Its frustrating that he is taking our corners. For me he should be in the box. Maupay gets unfiar criticism. He works his socka off and makes great runs but our killer passers don’t see him. Ladt night he only received the ball with his back to goal and somone a foot taller than him all over his back. There needed to be more movement and more shots at goal to try and unlock that type of defence. I’d expect a Burton or Rotherham to play like that…not a Derby. Perhaps thats a compliment to us? Finally ‘always play to the whistle’ my dad used to say to me. Thats one of the first things i learnt playing competitive football. As offside as the goal looked (yards offside at the time but replaying it I’m not so sure) we can’t just switch off!
    Thats the sort of thing that has lost us too many games

  2. Angry Griffin September 27, 2017 at 7:12 am #

    just under 80% possession but again where were the runs behind their defence.
    Yes Matthew we were watching the same game, The same game where we saw that we do not have a striker due to lack of investment to give us that cutting edge
    Neal bless can run around all day long but at the moment he is struggling and its not fair on him to become the scapegoat for the lack of investment. He may well come good but how long do you wait?
    We keep playing in front of teams and unless we get in behind we are unlikely to score.
    Like to see Woods play forwards and not side to side. He was lucky to stay on the pitch after the slap to Bradley Johnson in front if us, should have got him a red card so maybe the referee did us a favour. If he had tracked his runner for their goal they would never have scored but he was hiding last night and was rightly substituted.
    Young Chris Mephem did well when he came on, great prospect to look forward to.
    You can understand the boos at the end of the game, we have a lot of foreplay but no penetration and are left feeling very frustrated.
    All that possession and only have a point to show for it.

  3. Tim Rugg September 27, 2017 at 7:24 am #

    We are a very small team in stature but big in heart. When Derby, very early on, realised they couldn’t out-football us they got physical and dirty and for that the ref didn’t reign it in hence all the yellow cards. I felt Derby then thought they had licence to play out the game like that as there weren’t properly punished hence them going to ground easily like some theatrical dying swan to try to make it look like it was a scrappy dirty affair! It wasn’t. Derby’s players stayed down longer and were using all the professional tricks to make it look like Brentford were as scrappy and dirty as they were. We weren’t they just couldn’t handle the fact they couldn’t match us for football.
    The height issue is a little worry but as a very good footballing team we can get round that with a more fast, direct strategy in the final third …. it’ll come.
    One thing on my wish list is having a player who’ll bare his teeth and frighten the crap out of the opposition. My all time Brentford hero is Terry Hurlock … skillful, passionate and fearless. That little bit of Alan McCormack is all thats needed to complete an all round team.
    The point “our heros sold from under our feet” ..my personal opinion is those players probably wanted to leave from the end of last season. Nobody wants players that don’t want to be at the club. Brentford handled the transfer window the best way possible. I said at the begining of the season Brentfords squad is far too big and talented to keep for a whole season. If you were to take all of the squad and plop thrm into a top flight premiershite team there would still be unrest/unhappy players because of the limited game time over half of them would get. With Canos, McLeod, Egan Judge and Vibe to come back the impressive Tom Field out on loan Luke Daniels as well as the talent in the the B team all young hungry talented players who want to make their mark in club football as well as aspire to playing for their country there is no way on Gods earth you will keep all those players content …far too many talented players for 11 starting places! Brentford will sell on and do good business for for Brentford and be a stronger club for it …think of us as a talent producing machine!!😁 Because we are a selling club … like 98% of all other football league clubs …but on our terms. Can you imagine the running costs and cash splashed at clubs like Birmingford and Sunderland even Derby and Villa? now they’d be clubs I’d be pissed off being a fan of.
    Yours happy at Brentford playing good football in one of the best leagues in the world and not being a patronised making up the numbers whipping boy club in the over-hyped over-rated premiershite

    • Robert Stevens September 27, 2017 at 8:02 am #

      Excellent comment agree with all the above. Just need to move the ball faster in the final third, maybe more quick one twos.

  4. KevinO September 27, 2017 at 9:22 am #

    Well said Tim, couldn’t agree more. It is a little frustrating how money now seems to be one of the biggest factors in the Championship not just the Premiership!

    • peter lumley September 27, 2017 at 10:22 am #

      Arguably the crudest and most cynical “performance” I have seen from a Championship side! Now not so surprised Garry Rowett lost his job at Birmingham last season.Add in a very poor referee and it is no wonder the game was such a sad spectacle.!

  5. David Carney. September 27, 2017 at 12:01 pm #

    What a silly comment to say that ‘players are being sold from under our feet, then to qualify by stating for well documented reasons. The three players that left in the summer window all refused to sign contracts to play for Brentford beyond this season. Brentford therefore sold them and cashed in on a tidy sum rather than wait until June 2018 and receive nothing – absolutely nothing – and in effect jeopardise the future viability of Brentford
    Bentham bought Brentford at a time where there was no future unless there was a successful and radical change.
    The simple reality is Brentford would at best be a non league club and possibly not even exist at all without Benham.
    No player with ambition wanted to play at Brentford because it was, sadly, a dead end club, therefore players joined Brentford and similar clubs as a last resort.
    Finally, Brentford were losing money and had no financial resources whatsoever.
    Fast forward to today.
    -Benham has invested a fortune in Brentford
    -Based upon recently published trading results Brentford need to earn a minimum of something like 10 – 12 Million (net) annually from player transfer fees just to break even.
    – Brentford is not a selling club. It is a club that buys low and sells high, quite simply because that is the only way for it to survive.
    – Back in the mid sixties Jack Dunnett bought Brentford, bought players well past their prime at high prices and paid wages above division 3 levels with the prospect of quick promotion. There was no promotion, the players got older and Dunnett either ran out of money or lost the desire to continue funding the club. The result was Dunnett then wanted to sell Brentford as a means to recover his lousy investment. Brentford never really recovered until Benham appeared, lurching from one crisis to another staggering down an inevitable road to oblivion.
    The set up at Brentford is like no other club and since my time following the Bees since 1954 I cannot recall a time when there were so many International representatives across all levels, so much talent (again at all levels) nor such a focussed and talented group of people running the club.
    Sure, many or all of the current senior players may well have moved on from Brentford in five years time, but they will have been replaced with the same quality, or more likely better quality players than those we all currently worship. Those players will be grateful for the time at Brentford in developing them as better footballers and Brentford will be grateful for the fees they earned as they moved on. They will not forget Brentford and we will not forget them – and that is life in Football.
    As for Benham – keep him, appreciate him, worship him, because he is the only one side 1889 at Brentford that really understands how to build a sustainable future.
    I suggest all the cynics and boo boys start to look and listen a lot more, open their eyes and start to understand the revolution that is happening at Brentford.

  6. Paul Holmes September 27, 2017 at 12:01 pm #

    I agree with all the comments but we need to move the ball into dangerous areas quicker and get Ollie Watkins in the forward position he has the ability to hold up the ball and is bigger and stronger than Maupay the guy is low in confidence and needs to be taken out the firing line

  7. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) September 27, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

    Like yourself and other commentators I saw a different game to the one Matthew Benham saw last night. Yes, we had lots of possession in the first half, but all we really did is pass it around 30 yards out like it was a keep ball training exercise. No real penetration making it so easy for Derby who I thought completely outplayed us tactically in the first half. Its pretty well known now how you deal with teams like Brentford. Pack the defence and then hit us on the counter, and thats exactly what Derby did so effectively.

    Fortunately, the Bees came out for the second half with a very impressive Chris Mepham and with a bit more about them, until the 2 subs came along and then we reverted back to type. It wasnt until desperation started to creep in towards the end that we realised where the goal was and a much needed point.

    We make it so easy for the opposition and there is always a mistake awaiting to happen. Their goal was a complete shambles with Dalsgaard a liability and so easily beaten.

    The Southampton ref was a complete shambles and it was a surprise no one was sent off.

    A word also for Peter Gilham. Just a voice in the stand last night due to his illness, but what an inspiration. His rallying calls, singing along to the silent oompah band, and his personality and wit. He was my MOM.

  8. Laurence September 27, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    I’m all for a footballing approach, indeed that’s gotta be one of the Bees attractions, however… Backwards and forwards to the goalkeeper and then across the field from one touchline to the other and then back again to goalkeeper and then repeat. And then repeat again and again and again? All very pretty at best. Meantime the opposition have assembled all 11 men as an impenetrable wall in front of their goal. I suspect teams have worked out how to play us. We’re patently not quick enough most of the time. There’s also a singular lack of penetration up front most of the time. Games are won with goals. Circa 80 pc possession is grand but without goals is a meaningless statistic. I think Maupay is out of his depth. The guy standing behind me said we’re not playing to his strengths and that he needs to feet. The next ball was played to his feet and guess what? He lost the ball. We need a striker who can cope in the Championship. If I recall Vibe was second highest Championship scorer last count. Can someone please give us the latest news on both Vibe? (and Canos).

  9. the ain't September 27, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

    de unbeaten run continua! consider it as a point gained. let our support show mb a measure of respect rome wasn’t buit in a day was it

  10. Chamath De Silva September 27, 2017 at 6:30 pm #

    Frustrating at times but thought we played good football and just lacked the cutting edge in attack. Derby defended resolutely and team deserves credit for finding the right way through. Shaibu would have come on if Bjelland wasn’t injured.

  11. Gary Hennell September 27, 2017 at 7:24 pm #

    Am I am the only one who sees that Dean Smith’s possesion based football as the problem; not the team? Brentford are criminally slow in the transistions so as to make teams that want to defend look tactically cute.

    I honestly do not understand why Smith cannot see this. All that was required to put Derby to the Sword was a change of tactic when he spotted 10 behind the ball & a wall of green. I don’t know about you Nick but I cannot think of a more meanlingless stat than the amount of possesion a team retains. You can simply spend all game passing between your centre backs & goalkeeper for an 80% possesion stat…….All i am interested in is how much was actually in the opponents attacking third.

    I am sorry to say, that for me, the problem is we have a good Championship side with a largely clueless league one manger. I just hope that MB doesn’t wait too long before bringing down the axe & Brentford are in real trouble at games 14 & 15 with 2 wins to our name.

    He’s not even reactive to whats going on in front of us. You have no vertical movement because Sawyers is not a ball playing midfielder (we stupidly loaned out the instinctive Keurschbaumer who fed Vibe with goals galore & much easier chances than the ridiculous lack of quality that people expect Maupay to thrive on. I mean, take somebody on in the last 3rd & place a sodding low cross for a change. It took us 85minutes to execute one such cross & bingo….what good is all your height in defence now?

    I disagree with other comments – it’s the Manager who is out of his depth not Maupay!

    Honestly, give the guy a through ball once in a while & stop punting it up to him with his back to goal, marked & too deep to be a threat. Or better still Mr Smith, if you want to play that way put Watkins there, swap to 442 & watch Maupay roast centre backs for pace on Watkins flick ons & knockdowns (which is what you should have done last night).

    Whats worse is you actually look across the Brentord frontline its blesses with an ungodly amount of pace & acceleration – it screams fast transitions into open space not bogging yourself down in ponderous 30 pass moves to end in an aimless punt to a solitary small forward.

    It’s so obvious that its painful to watch good players being wasted in idiotic roles that do not suit the way the opposition is setting up against us.

    Derby nearly did us; play like this consistenlty & I guarantee you a ticket out of this division.

  12. HerzyBee September 27, 2017 at 8:25 pm #

    Rowett parked the bus, train, boat and plane last night, as he did for Birmingham, he is a manager with a tactic but no strategy to win. He will eventually be sacked by Derby when they realise he will not get them promotion as they expect, along with all the other ex Prem divine right clubs in this division. We are where we are, and need to learn how to break down the iron man 7 across the back tactics employed by some visiting teams.

    We are, as MB tweeted, a young and hungry team, but also a developing team…there is no instant success formula and I do laugh when I read all the qualified coaches that post here, usually starting with….all we have to do is…or It’s so obvious…why can’t Smith do this, or that etc etc………

    Just be patient everyone…..and stay behind the team, there was a visible lift to our boys when the Griffin Park crowd got behind them……..

    COYB 🐝🐝🐝🐝

    • Gary Hennell September 28, 2017 at 1:24 am #

      With only 1 league win since the 22nd April 2017; patience is a commodity in short supply. 1 win in 13 league matches (because I am not expecting anything from the Boro game) any numpty on the terraces will tell you we are watching relegation form. Brentford have still to win a single game at home this season, which is starting to clearly hurt attendances.

      Again, I do not believe it is a team inadequacy, more the ability of the manager to motivate & release player potential on the field & actually out think his opponent tactically.

      If we can accept the principle that all players have a growth limit in potential ability so do club managers. I am worried that ours has already revealed where his ceiling is – some of us are just in denial.

      We shall see come Saturday because Boro will tell you a lot.

      • Leslie Woodcock September 28, 2017 at 8:44 am #

        Nicely put and agree wholeheartedly (as per my earlier post).

  13. Spanish Bee September 28, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

    I’m with Dave Carney and Herzy Bee here. Dave has the perspective of a Brentford supporter who has been watching them 2 years longer than I have and we really need to keep in perspective where we are and where we have come from.

    If the opposition have big good quality players and they decide to just defend, it is a very, very difficult situation to deal with, especially with such a young team, but they kept going, and the goal was top drawer.

    Possession football is in my view, definitely the way to go. If you have the ball the opponents can’t score, and even if we draw or lose, at least you get some enjoyment from watching the skill of the team. (OK I know I’m Spanish Bee).

    The team clearly believe in what they are doing and are sticking to it, we will get better at dealing with the parked bus. It’s a long season and I’m sure they will learn and improve. Changing things around now doesn’t make sense.

    • Gary Hennell September 28, 2017 at 11:27 pm #

      Changing things is the only thing that makes sense Spanish.

      ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ – Albert Einstein

      Play the same way & expect more of the same; because if Smith cannot figure out how to switch tactics on the fly Brentford are going to be insanely easy to nulify by the absolute worst teams in this division.

      • Spanish Bee September 29, 2017 at 6:23 am #

        Ah yes the Einstein quote to give credibility to your point of view.

        There are two possibilities here –
        1. You are right, we are going nowhere and need to make major changes to our style of play.
        Benefit: People like you will be happy and it might work
        Risk: Changing strategy will take time, cause disruption, might not work and things could get worse

        2. I am right and if we keep going we will learn, adapt, get better and start winning
        Benefit: Less disruption, positive effect on team morale
        Risk: It doesn’t work and we are in deep do-do when we are forced to change things

        Only time will tell

        “The only source of knowledge is experience” – Albert Einstein

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