All to play for on Saturday after a gritty night and controversy at Griffin Park.

3 Oct

Brentford climb the table after a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City at Griffin Park but it was very much a case of Cheer up, Garry Monk. Or however it is the song goes. Blues manager Monk was left fuming after a red card for Maikel Kieftenbeld, following a clash with Neal Maupay, saw his side reduced to ten men. And his own subsequent dismissal from the touchline. Yet if it was a soft decision, and both managers’ words at full time were telling, The Bees were due something back after Saturday’s quite awful officiating in the 2-2 with Reading. As Leeds United returned to the top of the Championship, themselves 1-0 winners at Hull, Dean Smith has a lot to think about ahead of our trip to Elland Road on Saturday.

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View from one New Road observer.. fight,fight, fight….

If we were due a refereeing kick back (and in true Arsene Wenger style, I didn’t see the incident whilst even Sky Sports Leeds were somewhat selective with their post-match highlights package) then perhaps we were also due one on pitch. Dean Smith very much shuffled his after replacing Daniel Bentley with Luke Daniels. This, following Saturday’s double fumble. So there was no irony lost in Birmingham goalkeeper Lee Camp – a man who has had more clubs than Harlee Dean has had red cards – allowed Josh McEachran’s first half free-kick through his hands and into the back of the net for 1-1. It WAS a wonderfully hit effort from the New Road side but, being honest, should never have allowed a first goal in 188 appearances for a player who would rightly go on to scoop ‘Man of the match’ honours.

Prior to this, Michael Morrison had given the visitors the lead, heading home from a Jota cross. Or Hoe-ta, as Peter Gilham still insists on calling him. How I’ve missed that wonderful pronunciation from our redoubtable man-with-the-mic . Yet it was just about all the mercurial Spaniard did in the hour and a half he was on pitch. Yoann Barbet had him in the back pocket whilst Josh whipped the ball of his toes a number of times.

Daniels wasn’t the only change for the Bees. Out wide, we were missing both Saïd Benrahma and Ollie Watkins (suspended and injured respectively). Whilst Alan Judge and Sergi Canos are both wonderful, it deprived Dean Smith his normal option to mix it up in the second half. And with Birmingham City packing 11 behind the ball, there was no third gear to accelerate into as the game progressed. Indeed, and you have to give credit to Monk, his stifling of the game meant our short sharp passing game had no way through. Our 74% possession unable to be turned into real chances. Only Henrik Dalsgaard, pushed forward towards the end with Maupay having little joy against the lumbering Birmingham defence,  came close to sending The Bees faithful home happy. Camp making amends for his earlier butter fingers to pull off a point blank save with the clock deep in injury time.

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Brentford ‘Official’ capture the goal on Twitter

It was very much a case of parking the proverbial bus with the Bees unable to get past. That’s a tactic I suppose. Whatever you think, it worked. The only exception being with the goal where rather than parking the bus, Harlee and crew may aswell have parked a small car, slapped a bow on the front and left the keys in the ignition with the engine running. It was all the more silly given they’d had time to line themselves up and so, perhaps, as much credit needs to be given to Josh for pulling off something that nobody expected. Either way, in a scrappy match let’s be grateful for the opportunity.

One apiece at full time. The Ealing Road reminding Harlee Dean that “You can’t”. At least, I think that’s what they were singing. Another point gained and another place climbed in the table. We’re now up to fifth after other results went the way of The Bees. Yet, at the same time, Leeds and Middlesbrough have opened up a five-point gap on us in the top two slots whilst only two points separate The Bees from Bolton in fifteenth. The table really is that tight at present.

Dean Smith would use his own post-match interview to give credit to Birmingham for their game play which saw our own bright start snubbed out in a game that very much felt “Like one that got away again.” As for the sending off his opinion was that, “The lad raised his hands…so he goes down. Have a go at the fourth official”.

Dean talks to ‘official’ at full time.

For Birmingham City, Garry Monk had his own thoughts on the red card. He told reporters that “I thought the opposition player would be booked for feigning injury so to see a red card was a complete shock…After 23 years in football I know something when I see it.” Certainly, his reaction was one of fury as he was sent to join Kieftenbeld for an early bath. Or wherever it is red carded managers go to. I’ve no doubt the player’s ban will be appealed going by his own touchline explosion

As for Saturday, let’s hope Ollie is fit and able to rejoin Saïd in the matchday squad. Dean would tell ‘official’ how he had an injection in an ‘angry toe’ at the Reading game. By his own admission, the absences limited our own attacking options but, and it needs to be noted again, Birmingham City did a job on us. They were deserving of a point that makes it an incredible 8 draws out of 11 games for them. That record, I fear, something that is going to be trotted out as much as West Ham’s moving stadium West Ham’s winning the World Cup in 1966, Trevor brooking’s header in the cup final or The World Cup’s Henrik Dalsgaard being a Brentford player. If only somebody had said.

There’s not much more to say. We didn’t win. We have a tough trip to Leeds United coming up. But nobody said it would be easy. More importantly, we’ve jumped another place in the league. I’m not quite sure how that has happened but the table doesn’t lie.

And that’ll do me.

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Garry goes for a bath – c/o Matt Davis

Nick Bruzon

6 Responses to “All to play for on Saturday after a gritty night and controversy at Griffin Park.”

  1. Michael Parker October 3, 2018 at 7:46 am #

    Monk moaning about Brentford player making most of coming together, someone remind him of Brum players going to ground all over pitch at Elland Rd 2 weeks previous with 0 coming together, the old saying what goes around comes to mind.

  2. Moriarty October 3, 2018 at 8:19 am #

    Another under-par performance from BFC, continuing a drop in form from the dominant performances that marked a good run at the start of the season; these dropped home points, will prove costly. The previously great defence, looks vulnerable. The attack often looked laboured and mechanical.
    McEachran, fully deserved the man of the match vote, being the best all round player on the night, topped with his great goal.
    Sawyers, was off form, Barbet continually made bad passes and looked tired and Judge missed a close-in clear shot on goal, which would have changed the game.
    Luke Daniels, made some good saves and didnt make any glaring fluffs, but his distribution is strangely tame, with very few long punts downfield and all his throws to defenders near the goal, forcing play to be started from near the back, throughout the game. Maupay was almost totally kept out of the game, by HD, in particular.
    Watkins and Saiid B, were missed, but more than that, BFC looked short on ideas to open up Birmingham, instead the main tactic comprised constantly playing cross field to the right wing, or falling back on sideways, backwards passing.
    A radical improvement in the quality of play, is needed on Saturday.

  3. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) October 3, 2018 at 2:38 pm #

    Its hard to admit but a draw was fair. Brum the better team in the first half. Jota was somewhat inspired but a complete lack of practice away from GP found him not delivering that final deadly ball/shot. Poor Yoann was struggling. Was half expecting Clarke coming on to replace him.

    Second half the Bees on top. The sending off I didnt see, but clearly the 4th official, who was a lot closer than me, did, and fair play to the officials who wernt bad.

    What I loved about the performance was Maupay. He found it tough against Harlee & Morrison yet never gave up. Always a pain in the butt. Not only is he now of the deadliest strikers in the division but hes one of the smartest. Hes the player that opposition fans would despise but love to have in their team. Case in point in injury time. It was obvious after the sendings off that Harlee was pumped full of adrenaline, he could barely contain his anger. What would raise the roof other than a winning goal, but a Harlee sending off, so Maupay got himself into a tangle waiting for Harlee to lash out. Against type, Harlee this time thought before he reacted, but a good try!

    My MOM was Macleod. Good distribution, but also gets stuck in and fights hard. And Alan Judge, few disparaging comments heard leaving the ground. I thought he had a good game considering a first league start for some time. Some excellent touches and passes let down by his finish on this occasion, but hes always been like that. Id keep him in

  4. shipston blue October 3, 2018 at 6:27 pm #

    Nick,

    I always enjoy your blog, spoken from the heart like a true fan. It’s often amusing, especially your continued dislike for Blues. I know we took your players, but it was w*nk pot Redknapp should be blaming, not us! It really is time to move on!

    It’s interesting how opinions vary so much about the same game, and in particular, whether you saw the game through red and black specs, or blue and white ones.

    I didn’t think Barbet had Rey Jota in his back pocket, far from it. He got by your defence on numerous occasions and was always a threat. I felt that if Maghoma and Jukey had taken gilt edge chances, the game would have been over by half-time. Then, Lee Camp managed to throw McEachran’s free kick into the net. and allow you back into the match.

    As for Maupay, it was impossible to see what really happened, but the tv close ups of him on the ground writhing and clutching his face suggested that he could be nominated for a Bafta. Sad, but such is ‘gamesmanship’ in football these days.

    Anyway, Dean Smith ( dirty V*lla b*st*rd) is doing a marvellous job for you with limited resources, just as he did at Walsall. There are similarities between yourselves and Walsall, in as much as Smith has continually had to sell his best players, yet continues to produce competetive sides on a relative shoestring. You are trying to play football the right way, and I fancy that you’ll be there or thereabouts this season. I fancy we will too, potential points deduction notwithstanding.

    Good luck and KRO SOTV.

    • nickbruzon October 4, 2018 at 1:13 pm #

      Ha. All very true and appreciated. To be honest, if Harlee hadn’t said ‘that thing’ we’d all be well, well over it. But us football fans do love a pantomime villain.

      • James Fleming October 4, 2018 at 1:40 pm #

        Cheers Nick,

        I agree that Harlee probably should have been more considered in his remarks, particularly as he seemed to be a popular character at GP. It was quite disrespectful, not what you’d expect from a former player.

        We do love a pantomime villain, our ‘favourite’ right now is Steve Bruce. The Blues social media is awash with cabbage humour and very little sympathy for him! It’s a shame really, as he’s a nice, sociable fellow. He crossed the divide and some fans never forgive that, unless it suits us when they come in our direction!

        KRO SOTV

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