A game of two ‘best’ teams sees the ultimate in smash and grabs.

11 Mar

Millwall 1 Brentford 0. That’s what the record books will say and we’ll have to respect that. Yet if ever there was to be a lesson in taking your chance then here it was . Millwall had one notable effort on goal, former Bee Gerorge Saville sliding it under Daniel Bentley with less than a minute on the clock, and that was it in terms of noteable opportunities. The ultimate smash and grab. It was a goal that saw Andreas Bjelland pick up an injury in the build up that left him prostrate on the ground as Saville broke clear. It was his last meaningful action as the great Dane was then replaced by wunderkind Chris Mepham.

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The red shorted Bees prepare to start. Less than a minute later…..

It had the feel of being one of those days. The Bees, for reasons unknown, turning out in red shorts (here’s hoping we see them again) looked magnificent but couldn’t quite convert pressure and chances into goals. Yoann Barbet had an almost immediate reply chalked off for off-side after an interminable wait for the linesman to do his thing. With the combination of Stuart Attwell in the middle and Keith Stroud on fourth official duties it was always going to be a big ask getting something from the men in the middle. Bees fans were left frustrated after seeing this seemingly legitimate effort ruled out. A subsequent viewing on the sky highlights has confirmed that, to be fair, it seemed the correct call despite the interminable wait for the linesman to do his thing. Then again, the angle is not directly in line so who knows? Where’s the wonky ruler and VAR when you need it?

The second period saw Sergi Canos hit the post from distance with goalkeeper Archer left rooted to the spot aswell as  blazing over when a pass might have been the better option. John Egan came oh so close after being left totally unmarked in acres of space. His powerful header bounced back off the crossbar with goalkeeper Archer left rooted to the spot. As for Henrik Dalsgaard, pushing high up on the right his reward for a strong performance (in my opinion) was to see a goal bound shot cleared off the line with goalkeeper Archer not so much left rooted to the spot as scrabbling around in the mud.

Millwall – they got away with it. That’s for sure. They were, at best, workmanlike. Goals are what win games and so you can’t deny them their three points. They deserved them on that basis whilst Brentford didn’t quite have the run of the green. At times we looked too flat whilst the build-up play was laboured. When the chances came, that lack of clinical finish cost us dearly. However, any talk of the play-offs on the Lions’ side is something which will only conclude with an unhappy ending.

Millwall manager Neil Harris was in cagey form at full time. Noting that, “The best side won the game 1-0, the best side always wins the game – that’s the result“. Dean Smith, on the other hand, thought that, “The better team got beat today” also adding that “but for the woodwork and the people on the line we would have won“.

So who was the best team? Well, clearly anybody with a pair of eyes in their head would have seen that was Brentford, based on the day’s performance. But, and Harris is right on this one, it’s goals that count. So often Dean has said that we have deserved to win games that we lost or drew, but didn’t quite reach for that line yesterday. Based on what I saw play out in front of me, he’d have been justified to use it on this occasion.

As a side note, what was with the red shorts that the Bees wore.? Certainly, kit clash shouldn’t have been an issue with the Lions turning out in white. If anything, Dan Bentley’s all black against their very dark blue shirts might have presented more of a problem. Although purely on the balance of play, there wasn’t really any chance of a blue shirt being seen near his kit.

Reaction on social media seemed to be mixed, at best. Personally, I think this heavier red bias is a great look and certainly wouldn’t be upset to see this back again. What’s wrong with a bit of change every now and again?

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Man of the match Ryan Woods showing off that ‘red’ in full

Black, red or white – it would have made no difference to the end result. Sadly, it looks like we’ll be heading back to The ‘New’ Den next season. An awful breeze block stadium that is as functional as the football team who fill it. Say what you like about Millwall and Cold Blow Lane but at least that place had some atmosphere. Bloody terrifying most of the time. These days the Lion’s den is nothing more than a toothless shell of their former home. A faded, concrete carbuncle of a lair. If ever there was a lesson needed in how not to build Lionel Road then here it is.

Instead, it looks like we’ll be back to more of that pre-kick off song about jellied eels, glasses of beer and coming down to the Den (Let ‘Em Come by Roy Green, for the record). I was half–expecting Dick van Dyke to start his step in time routine as the players came out for kick-off . Having missed out on this last season I’d forgotten just how cringey this gumph is.

If the club needed any incentive in reaching for the Premier League then it shouldn’t be the lure of switching places with the likes of West Ham or Crystal Palace but simply the chance to avoid that awful, awful song.

Roll on Tuesday night and the visit of Cardiff City to see if there’s any chance of this happening….

Millwall wide (1)

Functional breeze blocks. Millwall & The (new) Den.

Nick Bruzon

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12 Responses to “A game of two ‘best’ teams sees the ultimate in smash and grabs.”

  1. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) March 11, 2018 at 11:01 am #

    Firstly I wasnt at The Dean but instead watching the game online with the underrated Paul Walker commentary.

    Absolutely agree the best team lost. We ran rings around them and were unlucky not to come away with something. Walker the neutral commentator made that clear too & Harris is talking complete gumpf.

    To say we was robbed is wrong.

    We were not. We were just not good enough in the final third. The bottom line is, is that we no longer have a Championship quality striker & it really shows. Despite all the excitement of signing Marcondes and hearing of his outstanding exploits in Denmark, we have yet to find a role for him that fits with our style. Maupay works hard, perhaps too hard, and yet does not have that killer instinct.

    It also didnt help that for every outstanding performance, Woods, Sawyers, Barbet, Mepham, there were poor performances yesterday Marcondes, Canos, Yennaris and yes sorry Nick, I completely disagree with you on this one, Dalsgaard. For me Dalsgaard gets beaten too many times and had too many passes that dont reach its intended target. I also want to mention Alan Judge. You can see his frustration. All that time out and then not getting a game. He needs to play from the start to relax into his game. At the moment, he is coming on and running around like a crazy person, because he is so desperate to make an impression. Its sad to see him trying so hard.

    Also a word on Attwell. One or two on Twitter blaming him for the defeat. What rubbish. Attwell didnt do much wrong yesterday, if anything he was possibly too lenient to both teams and should have booked Mepham in the first half

    • nickbruzon March 11, 2018 at 11:13 am #

      Wonderfully put, BQ. I do have to agree about Mt Attwell. His reputation definitely precedes him but he DID have a good game yesterday

  2. leb the lion March 11, 2018 at 12:47 pm #

    Conveinently forgetting that in the reverse fixture Millwall totally dominated the game but lost to Brentfords only shot of any consequence

    • nickbruzon March 11, 2018 at 4:20 pm #

      Thanks Leb! Yes, you did. That’s football. I said as much at the time. Not forgotten at all

  3. R Robinson March 11, 2018 at 1:39 pm #

    What a sad loser you are..we have had the bad luck you suffered yesterday earlier on in the season ..look at the stats..also we did not have the !”rub of the green” when we played at your wonderful !!!!! Stadium early in the season just get a grip!!!!!

    • nickbruzon March 11, 2018 at 4:19 pm #

      Thanks for reading. Yeah, you had the lion’s share at Griffin Park earlier in the season but we took the points. That’s football. I said as much at the time, too.

      By the same virtue, we played you off the park yesterday but you got the goal this time.

      Millwall got lucky yesterday. I’;m not going to change my view on that. But they also got a goal. If that make’s me a ‘sad’ loser in your eyes then there we go. I’m not going to lose any sleep

  4. Dominated in September? Not sure what game you Millwall fans were watching. The shots were roughly equal, us 18, you 19 though I’ll give it to you that you had three more on target. Bentley was immense that day having made six saves not including the penalty (not going into whether it should’ve been given or not here as I’m supposed to be working on a deadline) to Archer’s 2. We had 67% possession and passing accuracy of 76% to Millwall’s 54%. Look at the heatmaps on here.

    https://www.whoscored.com/Matches/1193373/Live/England-Championship-2017-2018-Brentford-Millwall

    Anyway, fair’s fair. We lost, you won. Too many cock ups by us and you played well. I’ll get over it as I always do. Just wanted to say what I thought about the misperception as I saw it.

    Final word on Bjelland. Nick and Bernard, do you think DS should’ve just said to him, “Nope, not going to risk further injury however well you feel. It’s not worth it” rather than trust his judgement? Players will always say they feel good because they want to play but they’re not necessarily the best person to trust medically.

    • nickbruzon March 11, 2018 at 7:25 pm #

      Player made the call. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. He’s been playing well and so I can see why Dean trusted his man. It wasn’t to be but I, at least, take consolation in another super strong performance from Mepham.

  5. Brighton Bee March 11, 2018 at 10:55 pm #

    Nick, Not for the first time I find myself agreeing with your correspondent Bernard Quackenbush. Once again we dominated the play at the New Den (as we have done in too many games this season) with possession stats of 67% and we still couldn’t score a goal, the lack of a quality striker is obvious for all to see. I find it very frustrating that we cannot turn what has been at times great approach play and dominance into goals. But this has been a problem all season, even with Mr Vibe in the team. I was very surprised and disappointed that the DofF did not sign a proven striker to help Dean Smith and the team during the last transfer window. Does this show a lack of ambition, lack of money or lack of striker availability? Quite honestly, I don’t know. I know it’s not my money and I wouldn’t want to tell Mr Benham how to run his club but as an example(s) you only have to look at how Mitrovic at Fulham and Grabban at Villa have improved their team and the taking of chances since their respective loan signings. I also agree about the comments regarding Alan Judge. We need to see him in the team from the start not just the 20 minute cameo appearances. I want to see him make a real impact along with Marcondes playing in a forward midfield role as he did in Denmark. With three crucial home games to come, it is vital that the Brentford management team select the right team to take on and beat Cardiff, Boro and Sheffield United. But somehow I think that the lack of a proven goal scorer may make this an impossible task.

  6. leb the lion March 11, 2018 at 11:35 pm #

    To Queen of Snowflake the game we saw was the one where we should have won but didn’t Yesterday was one you could have one but didn’t. I think we should all just call that karma and leave it at that

  7. David Carney. March 12, 2018 at 5:19 am #

    IT seems to me that the very sloppy and casual interplay between Bentley and (Egan/Dalgaard?) leaving Bjelland receiving a hospital clearance is the real issue. OK Bjelland had a suspect Achilles, but he was played into an impossible position by the Millwall player anticipating the bad clearance and pounced at speed. That then gave Millwall a cushion, a very good team performance from Millwall (unfortunately), plus good slices of luck in defence which then only increased the anxiety of the Brentford players.
    There is nothing wrong with Brentford’s goal scoring because, as DS said, it is top six in the Championship, but the trouble throughout the season far too many sloppy goals conceded. It is far more difficult to score against a team packing a defence to protect a lead that against a team pushing for an equaliser, and far too often the defence has conceded soft goals – and Millwall is just another example of that.
    Whilst playing out of defence is commendable and good to watch, it should never be at the expense of getting the ball far enough away from goal as quickly as possible whenever there is a risk of conceding a goal – particularly when there are not the numbers in defence to properly defend, as was the case against Millwall.

    • Hobbo March 12, 2018 at 9:04 pm #

      As you say David nothing wrong with the amount of goals scored its some of the soft goals that we concede that is costing us, has been the case since promotion. Better the the goals coming from several different players( gives the opposition more of a problem) and the way the Bees play suits this

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