The weather outside was frightful, but Lewis was so delightful.

18 Mar

Oh my. How good to be back in the warmth after that one. Brentford and Middlesbrough played out a 1-1 draw in blizzard like conditions at a freezing Griffin Park on Saturday. That much snow was falling all around, I half expected Shakin’ Stevens to put in an appearance at half time (best. song. ever) . It was a draw which, after the blips against Millwall and Cardiff City, has all but mathematically ended our play-off hopes. Come on Bees, prove me wrong – again.

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A snowy Griffin Park

For those who missed it, Sky Sports have the video highlights on line already. Anyone who was there would have seen that despite dominating the possession, we couldn’t quite turn opportunities into goals. Yet against a side that have long been seen as a bogey team for the Bees, it was a more than creditable performance with man of the match Lewis Macleod and Ryan Woods pulling the strings in the middle whilst referee Simon Hooper pulled our legs erm, in the middle.

His sending off of substitute Romaine Sawyers for two yellow cards, the second of which was softer than than the avalanche of snowflakes that filled the air, rounded off a poor afternoon for the man in black. The visiting players surrounding a referee who should have been stronger after what was, at best, an accidental coming together. Yet his missing the opportunity to insist on an orange ball (one day, it will come back) should have perhaps warned us what to expect.

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Sky highlights show Romaine see red. The ref in no way allowing himself to be influenced.

For Middlesbrough, a first half lead came with an impressive strike from the commanding Adama Traoré after twenty minutes. Running across the edge of the box, he found the gap to fire a powerful drive past Daniel Bentley. It was a lead that came at a time when the game had been delicately balanced. Both teams having already seen a handful of efforts. It was a lead that didn’t last for long as Lewis Macleod, who had earlier seen a shot from just outside the area tipped over by Darren Randolph, fired home low and hard from the edge of the box to equalise.

One all and with over an hour to go, surely there would be more to come? Sadly not. That’s how it stayed despite the best efforts of Macleod and his colleagues as Brentford really began to turn the screw.

Even the appearance of Sergi Canos from the bench, for once the gloves understandable in absolutely bitter conditions, wouldn’t tip the balance. Brentford had the lion’s share of the possesion and chances but Middlesbrough were resolute and, for their defence alone, justified with the point that keeps them in the final play-off place.

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Sergi with his snow, ball. It should have been orange

But for sharper finishing or what the BBC match report describes as Brentford “guilty at times of overplaying in dangerous areas” it could have been all three points for The Bees. Instead, the late intervention of Mr. Hooper meant an early bath for Romaine and a draw being played out in those final few minutes as Boro’ finally pressed once more.  

Massive kudos to Lewis Macleod. We all know the injury hell he has been through over the last few years but how that seemed a thing of the past. With clear direction to shoot from the edge of the box, a single goal was the least his play, opening up the Boro’ midfield as easily as a can of tuna, deserved.

They were awful conditions to watch a game of football in with a howling, icy wind cutting through supporters as the snow fell. It can’t have been much fun playing in it and perhaps the desire to keep warm lifted both teams to really run at each other from the off. It was hardly the kick and rush game one would expect from a Tony Pulis outfit, even if that physical aspect was still there as they let the Bees push on.

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Lewis was head and shoulders above Middlesbrough

Instead, we were offered an entertaining spectacle with Brentford keen to underline the play-off credentials. Sadly, it was Middlesbrough who got the point that keeps them in but with Brentford 8 off with 8 to play, we’re now in the territory of really needing to pull in a few favours. Stranger things have happened of course and at least we’ve now got an international break in which to take stock.

On a personal note, a huge word of thanks to everybody at the club – players and staff – for all their efforts yesterday. Harry was lucky enough to be one of the mascots and had an absolutely fantastic time from start to finish. Talk about being made to feel welcome and a proper part of things. Even in so much as being allowed to kick the ball on the centre spot when the teams came out and leading the line in the handshake.

“Daddy. When I was shaking the hands of all the naughty team I felt like a real footballer.” They’re not my words but those of a four year old fan who had the time of his life when he could have been forgiven for asking to give this one a swerve and staying at home with a hot chocolate.

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Feeling like ‘a real footballer’

Nick Bruzon

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6 Responses to “The weather outside was frightful, but Lewis was so delightful.”

  1. simonsapper March 18, 2018 at 9:35 am #

    Thanks Nick – spot on as ever. I’d have settled for a point before hand but we really should have had all three. Think you’ve underplayed Lewis’s goal – right foot shot saved so he drills in the second with his left. Class! Thought Neal Maupay impressed too – yes, he missed a couple that on another day would have gone in, but good movement and even winning things in the air – pleasing to see him playing with more confidence. The red card? Outrageous – surely we have to appeal that one. When you look at those percentage of possession stats from our last games at the front of yesterday’s programme, it really brings home what we still need – to convert possession into goals. And I think we need a target man to do that. It’s what I call “the Hoffman dilemma”! Vent over!

    • nickbruzon March 18, 2018 at 12:09 pm #

      Thank you Simon. Appreciated as ever. And spot on re the quality of the strike from Lewis 🙂

  2. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) March 18, 2018 at 4:31 pm #

    Its the same story with us. Excellent at times but once we get to that final third it tends to fall apart. We really need someone who can finish off those chances. If we did, we would have won that, which is what I have been saying nearly every game. If only we had a goalscoring striker we may have reached the play offs. Oh, we did. Hes now in China.

    So pleased for Lewis Macleod. First start and he was excellent. Had a better game in his first appearances than 2 or 3 other midfielders have had all season. But I still think Judge should be in there too. Particularly knowing that Romaine will be suspended for Sheffield United.

    Word for the ref Hooper. I didnt think he was that bad. Many complaining about the 2nd booking, yet if it had been a Boro player who got away with that, we would have been calling for his head. Possibly harsh, but Romaine gave Hooper an inevitable decision. I dont have any complaint about the decision.

    • simonsapper March 18, 2018 at 7:49 pm #

      You know what Bernard, having seen the footage I think I probably agree – Romaine takes a step towards the ‘Boro player – who should win an Oscar for his tumble – but by then it was crystal clear what mood Mr Hooper was in.

  3. Richard March 19, 2018 at 2:36 am #

    Two very creditable draws with boro both of which a win would not have flattered us.(can we claim a win on the away goals rule ?) I feel it’s only a matter of time before we put their hoo doo behind us as we have with Birmingham.
    As well as we have been playing, there is still a lot of improvement in us. I know we have had most shots in the league & if you don’t shoot you don’t score but we definitely need to work on selection & technique.

  4. David Carney March 19, 2018 at 4:48 am #

    McLeod is big and strong and Brentford need a couple more of his size in defence that know how to use their size. The defence is just far too indecisive and weak to deal with danger. Also physically suspect against many opposition who know that and play Brentford physically with too much ease. Fix the defence and Brentford walk away with the Championship. There are enough goals being scored and far to many conceded. Ratio of 2:1 in goals = first place. Just close the back door and play in the Premier League.

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