Natalie nails it as Forest fail to chop down the Bees.

2 Sep

What an afternoon. What a game of contrasting football styles. Brentford beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 in a game which will be as much remembered for the three points that take us back into play-offs as it will an infuriating performance from ‘referee’ Peter Bankes. That, and a display of physical thuggery from the visitors which, as was said many times yesterday, came over as ‘a typical Aitor Karanka performance’. See also the phrase: Brian Clough would be spinning in his grave. It was an attitude which spilled over into social media afterwards where none other than Natalie Sawyer waded in to defend her beloved Bees in the face of what could, at best, be described as sour grapes from fans of the visiting team.

It gives me no pleasure in having to write about anything negative from yesterday. Especially about a club I’ve enormous respect for. Why would we want any form of downer after Brentford scooped the win that lifted us back into the play-off zone following last weekend’s blip at Blackburn? We’ve overcome the three game suspension of Neal Maupay and showed tremendous spirit to bounce back after an uncharacteristic fumble from Daniel Bentley allowed Forest to haul themselves into the game on the hour mark.

Yet it was the approach of the visitors which was so at odds with what we’ve seen from them over the years. A team who previously out-thought and out-played opponents to win the trophies for which they are so well known. A team who rightly earned the two stars that adorn their famous crest. Now, their manager has them playing not so much ‘kick and rush’ as ‘kick and punch’.

That there were only 7(seven) bookings for the visitors was a miracle in itself. They were cynical, scything and nasty. Mr. Bankes in the middle seeming to forget he even had cards in his pocket during a first half where Forest had no answer to wave after wave of Brentford pressure. Except, of course, the one shown to Lewis Macleod for apparent diving.

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Two stars, well earned. Plus a welcome return for the castle badge in the programme.

There was no attempt to tackle. The Bees were allowed to run at their opponents with the ‘permission to foul badge’ rotated between the players by manager Karanka. How nobody received a second yellow I have no idea. Yet it was an approach that also allowed us to see Brentford at their finest. And, in the end, crush the visitors as easily as they would a ripe avocado. 

Josh McEachran had an extremely positive game, making one incredible surge forward in the first half that must have seen him take the ball close to forty yards upfield as he rode challenges and played deft flicks. Romaine Sawyers did what he does. Sergi was felled time and again by the yellow shirted lumberjacks. Mepham and Konsa at the back continue to look as though they have been partners for years rather than weeks. Benrahma was magnificent, supplying the crosses for both goals and almost nabbing a couple himself. 

The first, a cross from the right that dropped perfectly for the unmarked Lewis Macleod to head home just before half time. The second, delivered to Ollie Watkins to stroke home with just minutes left on the clock. Between these, Peter Gilham’s quite wonderfully announced substitution of Lolley for Cash looked like it would be bang on the money for our guests. The hero of Forest’s midweek league cup win over Newcastle did it again. Yet the goal from Matty Cash proved to be a small change and, in the end, it was Watkins (nose stuffed full of gauze after receiving a boot in the face from Jack Robinson) who sealed the points that take us up to fifth place in the table.   

Again, I don’t want to come over as negative about the visitors and the ref. I’ve friends who are Forest fans and a healthy respect for the club that goes back to my own formative football years when they were THE kings of Europe. Perhaps they just had a bad day at the office whereby physicality was the only answer to the electric pace of a scintilating Brentford side.  Yet it was awful to watch them yesterday.

Equally frustrating was finding ourselves beholden to the whims of a referee whose performance switched between turning a blind eye and guesswork. All credit to captain Yoann Barbet whose cool head at the very end prevented a major case of handbags turning into a Keith Stroud convention. He led by example throughout although you could also praise the spirit of all Dean’s ‘leaders’. Our unique approach of rotating the captaincy providing its own demonstration of success.

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Yoann Barbet at FT. How was that for you?

I apologise. The point has been laboured and the point has been made. But it is done because so often over the last couple of seasons, we’ve had no answer to teams like this. We’ve seen points dropped and games lost when brute force has triumphed over attempts to play intelligent football. Yet we’ve toughened up and adapted, whilst still retaining that core belief. Being honest, this one never felt in doubt. Even at 1-1 or throughout the protracted period of stoppage time added on at the end. 

It was our own Natalie Sawyer who really summed things up nicely, taking to Twitter at full time to first note that: If ever there was a victory for football today it’s what I’ve witnessed at Griffin Park. Really surprised by how Forest played today considering I thought they’d give us a much better game following what I saw on Wednesday night..

Confronted by frustrated Forest fans, rather than sit on this one she continued to make her point (and rightly praise the Forest midweek match) before eventually going on to add: Excuse me you came not to win, you came to by physical and cynical. It’s the most disappointing performance I’ve seen from a team. I’m not saying that Brentford are wholly innocent in every game they play but today they outplayed a team that just wanted to foul and time waste.

Well said. Professionally put and spot on. There’s not much more one can really say after that. Perhaps a bit more praise for Dean Smith and his wonderful team. Kudos to Yoan Barbet and my man of the match, Said Benrahma.

Put your feet up and enjoy international break. Roll on the 15th for Wigan at home where it’s not so much Will Grigg as the Bees who are currently on fire.

Nick Bruzon

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4 Responses to “Natalie nails it as Forest fail to chop down the Bees.”

  1. David Carney. September 2, 2018 at 8:13 am #

    Isn’t Dean Smith’s comment that the Brentford players moved to the ‘next level’ code for him saying exactly what both You and Natalie Sawyers have said. Lets hope so because every opponent in the Championship would be aware that for the past few seasons Brentford have struggled to cope with the Forest type tactics of yesterday.
    If Brentford have now finally moved to continuing to play football to the same high level when opposition use continuous cynical and professional fouls plus general ‘roughing up’ tactics then perhaps the last piece of the jigsaw necessary to win promotion.
    The problem for opposition teams will now be facing when they cannot match Brentford with football skills, style of play and now that ‘roughing up’ does not work then just what do they do when facing Brentford.
    Who would have thought just a few short years ago Brentford would now have the silkiest of skills as individuals and as a team, leading on field footballing strategy and the strength and tenacity to deal with a cynical opposition in The Championship en route to the Premier League.
    Yesterday could have been a watershed and we should all thank Forest for firstly paying Brentford a huge compliment by demonstrating to all and sundry that they did not have the skills to beat Brentford by playing football and secondly demonstrating that the alternative approach being Brentford with a stream of cynical and professional fouls coupled with unnecessary rough conduct doesn’t work against Brentford any more.
    What a scary message to all other teams in the Championship.

  2. martin west September 2, 2018 at 12:42 pm #

    grew a beard waiting for their keeper to take goal kicks,ref warned him then did nothing as for grabbans eforts to intimidate benrahma during the melee was sickening to watch linesman was on the spot but was weak as the ref. proud of our team thru it all

  3. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) September 2, 2018 at 4:45 pm #

    It was a shocking display by Middlesbrough, i beg your pardon, Nottingham Forest. Time wasting as early as the 5th minute. Referee Bankes completely lost control of the game from that point onwards.

    So many salty Forest fans taking to Twitter to goad us Bees with their 2 European Cups. They mean nothing now when they have to go to a tinpot pub side like ours and be too scared to play football.

    We showed yet again that we are not just about the fancy passes, we can dig in, and fight for a win, and Yoann was perfect choice for captain today.

    As Jimmy Hill would have said, it was football that finally won on the day.

    • nickbruzon September 3, 2018 at 7:23 pm #

      Spot on, BQ. As ever.
      Always a pleasure – thank you so much.

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