Visitors inflict more pain as the record continues.

25 Nov

Brentford 1 Middlesbrough 2. What can you say? Bogey team? Curse of the cameras? That there was never any hope against a side we’ve not beaten in the league since a 2-1 win at Griffin Park back in December 1938? Or just an awkward game where, once more, a flurry of goals conceded in a short space of time (two in five, second-half, minutes) saw the result put beyond reach and the post Dean Smith era now see us with a record of P6 L5. With play-off chasing Sheffield United to visit on Tuesday, it is a record that is only going to come under further scrutiny.

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View from the Braemar – Henrik attacks

It had all started so promisingly. Even before kick-off, five-year old Harry had put possibly the biggest football-related smile on my face that’s been there in a while when he turned to Mrs. Bruzon over lunch and said, “Mummy. The best thing you can do this afternoon is watch it on TV. Because when you come to the ground, we lost”. It was a point he reiterated outside the clubshop at 5pm – both times, totally unprompted. He’s brave, I’ll give him that. Mrs. B (whose record isn’t, quite, that bad) duly stayed away. Sadly, it made no difference.

The first half was as cagey as a caged tiger watching the collected works of Nicolas Cage on video. Frankly, something that would have been infinitely more entertaining than a frustrating opening period where Moses Odubajo running for an impromptu toilet break was the highlight for many. Certainly, the subsequent song that broke out from the Ealing Road. He whatswhere he wants?  Yet aside from the relieved number 2 taking aim from distance with an effort that Middlesbrough goalkeeper Darren Randolph had to push over, I don’t recall much else from the first half. It was just that low key an opening period with the visitors coming close-ish a couple of times but never, truly, leaving us with fear of the net bulging.

Instead, with the referee offering little protection, it was a case of trying to out-play the wall of muscle in front of us. With the stats all heavily weighted in our favour, it was an attempt that would prove futile in the one that truly counts – goals scored – as the teams went in for their half tea and a wee with the game goalless.

And then it began. 55 minutes gone, 0-0. 61 minutes gone, 0-2. The first goal given away down the left where despite questions about offside being asked, the Bees were sliced open with a combination of passes that allowed Jordan Hugill a tap in that even Ian Moose might have finished off. Scored rather than eaten, for the record. Five minutes later the lead was doubled when the Brentford defence allowed Marcus Tavernier all the time and space needed to direct his downward header past a diving Daniel Bentley. Game over, man. Game over.

To be fair, it was the kick up the backside we needed. The Bees pushed and pressed. Thomas Frank changed his team around. The momentum built. This was more like it. This was the Brentford we know and love. Alan Judge, who had a great game, pulled one back with a quarter of an hour remaining.  His goal a beauty as he drilled a low diagonal shot through a crowd and past goalkeeper Randolph. From a short corner. A short. Corner. This is not a drill. This is not a typo.

The words “Don’t take it short, it never blinkin’ works” hadn’t even emerged fully formed from my mouth before the usual exhortation was changed quite miraculously into a lungbusting scream of GOOOOAAALLLLL!!

Oh. My. Word. We’d seen one. It actually happened. This most maligned of set-pieces had actually worked. Moreso, the first goal Tony Pulis’s team have let in from a corner this season by all accounts.  Could it be? Was this THE sign that the Middlesbrough hoodoo was about to be lifted?

With the reinvigorated Bees chasing a point, former player George Saville put in an appearance for Middlesbrough. His presence was barely felt. Frankly, he could have dropped his trousers and he’d have made more of an impression. Instead, Brentford continued. Sergi Canos came close. Breaking through a crowded defence he perhaps snatched at it before the referee could blow his whistle. But Mr. Brooks wasn’t giving anything, to either team and perhaps, with the obvious benefit of hindsight, there was an extra touch available to be taken.  

Likewise Josh Da Silva came close. His own shot from distance forcing Randolph into a full length save. It was a moment that had the crowd gasping but was about as close as we would get. Instead, Middlesbrough had the wherewithal to close this one out and secure all three points. Points that, on the evidence of what played out, only the most churlish could have denied them. And it hurts to say it but their finishing when presented the space in that five-minute period was, ultimately, what decided the game. From that moment on Brentford were playing catch up and it was a race too far.

No sour grapes from yours truly. No whinging. We’re off the boil at present, that’s for sure, although I’m not sure I can put my finger on just why.  I have no doubt it WILL come good again whilst I’d also point to the performance of Alan Judge alongside josh and Emilian Marcondes from the bench as highlights. Chris Mepham had a bizarre rush of blood to the head just towards the end which earned him a yellow and, with a more Stroud-esque referee, could have been worse.

Sheffield United are next up. It’ll be interesting to see it Thomas restores captain Romaine Sawyers. Whether Josh Da Silva has done enough to earn himself a first start. How he toughens up the defence. Just how we fair against a side containing a pair of centre-backs and a reserve goalkeeper we know very well indeed.

No doubt Jack O’Connell, John Egan and Simon Moore will have a point to prove. Then again, I’ve no doubt Thomas Frank will aswell.

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Our visitors made themselves comfortable both before kick-off and early into the second half

Nick Bruzon

7 Responses to “Visitors inflict more pain as the record continues.”

  1. Rod Davidson November 25, 2018 at 11:06 am #

    OK! I’m not going to knock the team, but is it not a time for some realisation here?
    We are struggling, and the signs were there before Thomas Frank took over.
    I think it stems from the departure of Woods. His quick tempo of play enabled us to build from the back so that we progressed down the pitch while utilising a ‘spare’ man. Time and time again we looked impressive, and defensively the opposition were unable to quell our attacking intent.
    So what has happened. Take the Millwall game our only victory in this current poor run. They pushed up a third man to the edge of our penalty area and stopped us building with the ‘spare’ man. We had no plan ‘B’ and had to play it long. Accordingly our tempo and rythm got disrupted. Apart from that, although we won, they could have been 2-0 ahead from headed chances within our box.
    Bentley in goal looks uncertain, and that seems to have spread. His distribution has gone to pot, and that has put other players under pressure and slows the build up tempo.
    His woes seem to have started with a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes during Dean Smiths’ time, and I wonder whether the goalkeeping coaching department are addressing things, such as confidence issues. Our goalkeeping coach was changed in recent times, wasn’t he?
    Sergi Canos has piles of potential talent, but he needs to do the normal things on a more regular basis. He perhaps tries to over elaborate when link up play is needed.
    He has pace, but so has Josh Clarke. Is he injured? There have been times when Clarke has added both pace and directness to the right hand side of the pitch.
    Aerial weaknesses at the back has been obvious for some time, yet we have two of the most accomplished centre backs performing well, week in and week out. The lapses keep cropping up from defending set pieces, so is there not a case for getting Barbet back into the side to add some height.
    Moses is playing at left back, and he looked as though he is starting to get his rhythm and confidence back, which is great. But is that the best postition for him?
    The squad is talented, but some tweaks are needed to get the balance right.
    Could Konsa play in a Woods’ role, could Clarke add ‘impact pace’ should Barbet add height at the back etc etc.
    These next few weeks will be critical. Perhaps some round pegs in round holes are needed. What we want is a settled side, utilising our ‘uninjured’ players, playing to their individual strengths, and if that can rebuild confidence within the team, then individual positions can be contested and fought for.

  2. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) November 25, 2018 at 12:49 pm #

    The starting XI was pretty much what I predicted. Both DaSilva & Emiliano, possibly not quite there to be starters yet, but in Lewis & Nico we saw a pretty dire performance, with Nico’s first touch poorer than that seen in the Poole-Brentwood FA Trophy tie I recently attended.

    Lets face it, no one could disagree that Boro were the better team and deserved the win and with them closing down what appears to be our only means of attack, playing from the back, we were struggling. It concerns me that under Frank we seem to have less ideas. It all feels so predictable. Yet one of most creative players was a player of old, Alan Judge. I have said for some time that we need to give Judge a chance and have a run of games. Let him settle, rather than be restricted to cameos, and we may see the Judge of old, which will also be good to shut up some of the Twitter children who want to slag him off at every opportunity.

    One thing I was pleased to see was that we were keeping our discipline, well up to the final minute anyway. With Romaine out due to some utterly needless backchatting, Mepham decides to wade in at steam train pace when all on ER were telling the player who did have everything under control ‘dont foul him!’. It was a pointless ending to a frustrating night and one that started so emotionally. I have to admit there was a tear in my eye hearing Peter G struggling to keep his composure. Congratulations to all who put together the matchday programme which will become a permanent tribute to Robert Rowan.

  3. Brighton Bee November 25, 2018 at 7:35 pm #

    A composed article Nick to add my thoughts evenings game;
    Poor team selection, even with some players missing.
    We were physically weak compared to Boro
    Not sure Frank is the right man – his comments about fine margins were nonsense
    We were over run in midfield with no answer to Boro’s experienced midfield
    Continued defensive errors were costly again!
    Our continued use of possession football with every attack revolving around Josh Mc slowed the game down and gave Boro the time to get 10 or 11 men behind the ball
    Boro even had the luxury of leaving players like Assombolonga on the bench
    We had nothing up front, I felt sorry for Maupey
    Once Boro scored we were never going to get back in the game
    Our one and only style of football is really becoming boring – high possession stats but no penetration. Teams have worked us out!
    I am starting to worry now, looking at the results of teams below us rather than above.
    One win in eleven games is relegation form and it doesn’t look like getting any better if you look at the games we have coming up.
    We need a marked improvement on Tuesday to get something from the game
    Finally – Come back Ryan Woods!!!!!

    • Nigel Garrigan November 27, 2018 at 9:42 pm #

      I agree, unfortunately we have another inexperienced manager who appears clueless about the English game – I’m sure this will provoke howls of protest – but please review our current form. Phil Giles, as promised will sell our prized assets in January with us not being in contention, I don’t blame him, and for the business model that is the correct thing to do. What is a crying shame is that we have a really good squad with tremendous potential, but an utter novice in charge with no idea of how to get the best out of it. We’ve made this mistake before, and in my opinion we need to address this ‘Blip’ before it turns into a crisis. Good players – like Bentley – don’t turn into bad players overnight, they need confidence in the management and I’m afraid that is not forthcoming. A very sorry state with no end in sight.

      • Nigel Garrigan November 27, 2018 at 10:10 pm #

        Point proven – another loss.

  4. Beesfan November 25, 2018 at 8:33 pm #

    In fairness, we weren’t that bad, we’re just poor going forward. Don’t get the criticism of Josh MC, thought he was the only one driving us forward. Da Silva looked ok when he came on. We’ll be ok once we get more players back. We missed sawyers, Watkins and benrahma

  5. David Carney. November 26, 2018 at 1:02 am #

    The defence has been suspect for a number of years. Too many goals were conceded under the management of Rosler, Warburton, Smith and now Frank, yet remarkably the issue has never been adequately resolved, despite the fact that the defence, man for man is light years ahead of anything since I became a supporter in 1954.
    The attack has been consistently criticised by many supporters yet every season ‘goals for’ have been in the upper quartile of the League and the outstanding and regular goalscoring feats have tended to paper over the ongoing defensive frailties.
    There are two major problems in my view, firstly Bentley seems to be lacking in confidence, particularly aerial crosses and that is undermining the whole defence and secondly there just does not seem to be a real on field leader because otherwise the team would not fall apart and concede goals in a flurry on a regular basis, nor would they lose composure when the opposition ‘roughs up’ the playmakers – as they do with impunity on a regular basis because they are allowed to by consistently inept referees.
    The team will soon get their mojo back and the learning curve of the past few weeks will serve the players well – there is nowhere to hide in elite sport performance and lessons learnt from public humiliation generally stay with sports people for ever, so that the experience is never allowed to be repeated.

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