Bees celebrate a special 50th and another game unbeaten. Happy 2019!

1 Jan

And so a chaotic round of festive fixtures comes to a close with Brentford and Norwich City sharing a point following a 1-1 New Year’s Day draw. The Bees are unbeaten in 2019. Unbeaten over that four game congested run that now sees some respite approaching with Oxford United next up in the FA Cup. On an afternoon that  was chosen to mark Peter Gilham’s 50th year as Griffin Park’s ‘man-with-the-mic’, the game ended with both managers no doubt feeling their respective teams had done enough to win it. Yet, being honest, there were no complaints about another point earned following the Christmas draws on the road at Bristol and Birmingham City. Moreso, given the somewhat erratic performance of referee Gavin Ward who did his very best to enrage both sets of supporters with a stop-start performance, random bookings and several penalty calls ignored.

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And this is Saunders territory… Norwich City were visitors to Griffin Park.

Thomas Frank saw his Bees start this one at 100mph. Attacking, confident football was the order of the day as Said Benrahma and Sergi Canos drove forward with intent. Neal Maupay making a nuisance of himself, Kamo bossing centre-mid and Rico Henry impressing down the left side. Flank partner Moses Odubajo can count himself somewhat unlucky in missing out on this one but perhaps the procession of games over such a short space of time has been telling. 

Pressure built with Brentford taking the lead half way through the opening period. Julian Jeanvier, again part of the three centre back set up that has coincided with our own upturn of form, heading home from a Benrahma corner kick in front of the Norwich supporters. 

I have no idea, but Leo Vegas sponsor every Brentford goal”, proclaimed Peter Gilham as he announced the opener. This, before a brief apology to the French defender. If ever there was a moment to show how much we know and love the man affectionately known as Mr. Brentford then here it was.

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Fifty years on and Peter Gilham still has us enthralled.

The Bees pushed on. Half time came and went with the single goal lead remaining in place. Neil Maupay v Tim Krul in the Norwich City goal becoming a battle that would ultimately decide the fate of the game. Whilst Timm Klose levelled things up late on – a goal that had been coming as Brentford visibly tired in front of us – it was the Canaries ‘keeper who pulled off two wonder saves from the Championship’s leading scorer in the second half which proved pivotal. Do check these out on the video highlights – Sky have theirs up now – then doff your hat to the visitors. They’re at the business end of the table for good reason yet, at the same time, our own running them so close tells you as much as you need to know about our own fighting spirit returning.

Peter Gilham had done his best to whip the crowd into a frenzy. The players kept it going. Gavin Ward played his part too as a series of somewhat ‘random’ (and that’s the polite word) decisions kept both sets of supporters on their toes. The relief that greeted the Norwich City equaliser was palpable from the visiting fans. The disappointment at running them so close evident to the home set. 6 points out of 12 now marking an upturn in form for the Bees who had been on that horrific run.

Turn a few more of those into wins and the top ten is more than possible. That’s a long way off, of course, but at a time that it looked as though Brentford might get sucked into the relegation mire it’s nice just to be looking up once more. It’s wonderful to see our team playing with heart and gusto. To see those defensive howlers fast disappearing into the nether reaches of the memory. Long may it continue.

Next up are Oxford United in the FA Cup. That’s going to be an equally different sort of test. If only  the trying to find any leftover bacofoil after cooking the Christmas turkey. That replica trophy isn’t going to make itself but that’s a challenge for another day.

For now, it simply remains to take comfort in the return of an infinitely more positive and solid looking Bees team. Whilst we are by no means the finished article compared to earlier in the season, and the now open transfer window could wreak further havoc (or benefit) there is plenty to remain optimistic about. Julian Jeanvier continues to impress. As does Rico Henry. Kamo was a rock in the midfield whilst Yoann Barbet’s return can only be a positive. One run in the first half saw him slice through the Norwich City midfield, riding tackle after tackle as he surged upfield before being unceremoniously upended in Saunders territory.

Long may it continue. A very happy start to the New Year. Now bring on Oxford United in the cup….

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View from the Braemar – Rico Henry impressed today.

Nick Bruzon 

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6 Responses to “Bees celebrate a special 50th and another game unbeaten. Happy 2019!”

  1. Moriarty January 1, 2019 at 9:40 pm #

    It sure is eerie, how the team’s performance has done a 360!
    Norwich looked troubled by a BFC , that had been recut from the frankenstein lumber shed that has sauntered onto the pitch, from September, until thevlast couple of games
    After all the admirable effort, in all sectors, the off- form Bentley , lets the show down.
    Give Daniels a game, or two! Not out of the Woods, yet!

  2. David Carney. January 2, 2019 at 5:45 am #

    So, your aspiration for this season is now a top 10 finish?
    To finish 5 or 6 is a big ask, but certainly not beyond this very talented group. If Thomas Frank & Co has managed to effectively plug the leaky defence for the long term then anything can happen.
    There is absolutely no reason why Brentford cannot win as many points in the second half of the season as Leeds and Norwich did in the first half. If they can achieve that then a playoff place awaits.
    I suggest that you give the players a few more games before writing them off for this season.
    The argument against will be that a player or three will depart in the window, but I struggle to recall an instance in the Benham era when losing ‘key’ players has halted any momentum.
    I, for one, still have total faith in the playing group to deliver this season.

    • nickbruzon January 2, 2019 at 6:13 am #

      Awww. Thanks David. Not so much aspiration as realism. Many thanks for your suggestion but I also have one – a simple look at the table . One can have all the faith possible in the current squad but what you suggest, given the situation into which we have dug ourselves, is statistically unachievable. With over half the season gone and only 20 games left we are 15 points and inferior goal difference behind 6th place. You are relying on Derby County and the other 11 teams between us and them to all lose 5 games just to give us a chance to draw level. We’d have to win them aswell. That can’t happen. Somebody has to pick up points somewhere.
      I’d absolutely LOVE us to get promoted and I won’t stop shouting for this team until the last. But I also know how football works and you simply can’t have that many teams lose so many games to allow us to catch up. Who’s going to beat them?

      • David Carney. January 2, 2019 at 7:51 am #

        I certainly concede that probabilities and history is with your logic, but I hope like hell that that you are wrong!!

  3. nickbruzon January 2, 2019 at 1:29 pm #

    You and me both !!

  4. Sutton Tutors January 3, 2019 at 11:27 pm #

    Top 20 finish will suit me this season!

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