Uncanny parallels on a day of Gayle v gale as the run comes to an end.

17 Mar

And with that, the home streak was over. After 7 (seven) straight wins at Griffin Park, Brentford went down to West Bromwich Albion 1-0 in a game dominated by two goalkeepers and awful conditions. On a day windier than a naughty puppy at Christmas after snafflling an entire family size tub of Roses, it was West Brom who played both the conditions and the ref to win the game with their one moment of true quality – Kyle Edwards embarking on mazy run through the midfield and the Brentford defence to steer it past Luke Daniels six minutes into the second half. Elsewhere, there was more than a passing interest in how our own FA Cup conquerors, Swansea City, would fare in the next round at home to Manchester City. It would be fair to say there was no irony lost in how that one turned out. But we can only start with matters at Griffin Park.

The writing was on the wall before the game even kicked off in anger, if we’re being honest. And not just the appointment of Andy Madley as our ‘referee’. There was that lowest of low tricks at the toss – changing ends. I’m not a fan of having to kick ‘the wrong way’ in the first half. It doesn’t feel right and gets everybody’s back up. Especially given it meant we’d spend the second period kicking into the wind. And it was strong, very strong. The trees behind the away end were bending double whilst three balls were lost over the stadium roof after being hoofed high into the gusty stratosphere.

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View from the Braemar – West Brom had it when to counted. Sadly.

It was a bad start to the game but entirely understandable given the circumstances. Despite pressure and chances, the Bees were unable to find a way past Sam Johnstone in goal for the opposition in that opening period. It was another game where we went for it from the off.

Yet where previously we’ve had the ability to step it up in the second period, this time there was no way through. The elements providing a massive help to a team who defended with strength whilst cynically running down the clock at every opportunity. The ball was kicked away whenever possible, the ref allowed The Baggies to get in his ear and under his skin, throw ins were delayed and dives that would have had Tom Daley smiling were common place.

Much as against Sheffield United midweek, Brentford were locked out by well drilled opponents. When the chances came, the ball didn’t quite fall right or Johnstone was on hand to pull off top drawer saves. One in particular, from a Yoann Barbet free kick, had the fans out of their seats for 1-0 Brentford before the diving’ keeper’s outstretched palm managed to guide it to safety at the explosion of the ‘goal’ celebration. Canos and Maupay also came close but it wasn’t to be. 

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View from the Braemar – Yoann comes close. So close.

When West Brom had their own opportunity, Edwards took it with style. There can be no complaints about the way he started and finished the move. Even if there were plenty afterwards as the clock headed towards it’s inexorable denouement with all the pressure and tension of a losing Countdown contestant trying to make a last round word out of JKXDZBEIO.

More so, when referee Madley followed a strong first hour with a final thirty minutes which suggested his focus was anywhere but on ensuring the game could flow. His own performance very much going to the dogs as Brentford battled against Dwight Gayle, a roaring gale and a rogue ref.

So after the play-off dream had briefly raised its head in recent weeks, we’re now nine points off the top six with nine games to go. Given the way this team can play, I’m not going to say it’s over until it’s over. But being realistic, things are going to need a remarkable swing.

On the plus side, we’ve got international break to all catch our breath and recuperate before that final push begins at the end of the month with two away games – Wigan Athletic and then a midweek trip to Swansea City. At the very least, another top ten finish is more than attainable. Another finish over the likes of Birmingham City and QPR well within our grasp.

Yesterday was frustrating and notably so, given the conditions we had to watch the game in. Whilst I’d never trade being at Griffin Park for TV, there was a pang of jealousy about the comfort of those watching ‘on screen’ from sunnier climes.

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Not exactly TW8….

Still, if it was all about the comfort then you may aswell stay at home. Something a group of West Brom fans must have been wishing after putting on the worst pre-match display for TV’s Soccer AM since, well, that day we don’t talk about against Doncaster Rovers.

With football done, it was back home to catch up on the FA Cup action. In particular, the game between Swansea City and Manchester City. That one being of particular interest to Bees fans after we’d seen a 1-0 half time lead at the Liberty Stadium in the previous round turn into a 4-1 fifth round exit at full time. The catalyst for that one being turned around was, of course, the unfortunate equaliser where a free kick had beaten Luke Daniels, hit the post, struck the back of the still diving goalkeeper on its return and deflected straight back into the net for 1-1.

So there was no irony lost as Swansea saw a 2-1 second half lead at the Liberty Stadium turn into a 3-2 sixth round exit at full time. The catalyst for that one being turned around was, of course, the unfortunate equaliser where Sergio Aguero’s penalty had beaten Kristoffer Nordfeldt, hit the post, struck the back of the still diving goalkeeper on its return and deflected straight back into the net for 2-2.

That the penalty decision, like Aguero’s late winner, had probably been made the wrong way can only have added to the sense of frustration felt by the home fans. Tell me about it. Yet another two fingers up delivered from VAR or, more the case, the lack of VAR. The FA Cup only allowing the system to be used in games players at Premier league grounds. Nothing like keeping the competition consistent, eh? 

For Manchester City, an incredible opportunity to scoop a quadruple still awaits. For Brentford and Swansea City, we’re back to the drawing board. The Championship play-offs remain a mathematical possibility but are going to take an incredible combination of wins and favours from other teams.

 With Leeds United and Frank Lampard’s Derby county still to visit, who knows what might sill happen…..

Nick Bruzon

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9 Responses to “Uncanny parallels on a day of Gayle v gale as the run comes to an end.”

  1. Justine Wenderfield March 17, 2019 at 10:41 am #

    You like the word ‘moreso’ don’t you. Never seen it used so may times, well done. It’s two words by the way.

    • nickbruzon March 17, 2019 at 10:45 am #

      I do – thank you. Although must admit that even by my standards this seems a little incessant in reflection

      • David Carney March 18, 2019 at 12:42 pm #

        Re Justine’s criticism. There should be a question mark at the end of the first sentence and the second sentence is grammatically incorrect.
        At the end of the day content is far more important than knit picking on grammar, so use as many ‘moreso’s’ as you like. It is just like football because it is possible to score a goal with a mis kick!!

  2. Brighton Bee March 17, 2019 at 11:00 am #

    The wind played a part yesterday but it was the same for both teams. We just didn’t take advantage of it in the first half. Overall, I didn’t think we were too bad in the first half but our second half performance was very, very poor. We came up against a team packed full of premier league players who just had too much experience, physicality and nous for our team. They effectively ran the clock down after they scored and we couldn’t do a thing about it, more importantly, we didn’t have the players on the pitch / bench who could anything about it. That spell in the second half when we couldn’t get out of our own half for 10 minutes was almost embarrassing. I thought we had too many players who were trying to do their own thing rather than be part of a team. Canos & Benharima were poor, Sawyers dropped too deep when we should have been pressing further up the pitch. Was Maupey actually on the pitch? One of his poorest games in a Brentford shirt but there again he had very little service and no support. I thought Daniels was possibly the only player to come out of the game with any credit.

    Not for the first time this season, when a team shuts up shop like WBA did yesterday we don’t seem to have any answer to it. We have no alternative way of playing. I would have liked to have seen something different on the bench ie Ogbene, at least he would have run at them and possibly unsettled their two centre halves who, I suspect, had their quietest afternoon for weeks.
    Any chance for the play offs is now realistically gone so it will be interesting to see how TF selects his teams for the rest of the season and how he and the DofF will deal with potential additions / losses of the playing staff leading up and including the summer transfer window. I hope they will ensure that we have a glorious last season at GP.

  3. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) March 17, 2019 at 12:53 pm #

    I think Brighton Bee & yourself have pretty much summed up the game.

    Experience won that game. Experience in working the conditions, experience in neutralising the opposition, experience in working the ref and experience in working the clock.

    It was a poor display from the Bees who never adjusted to the conditions. So many misplaced passes, and other than Yoann, few first half long shots with Neal sniffing for a rebound.

    I do despise refs like Madley who think they are the dogs bits! Waiting for their promotion to the Premier, so they pally up to the big names to make his own future easier. It happens so often. Made Stroud’s display last week seem like Collina! Wasnt helped by an appaling lino on the Braemar side.

    Im pretty sure 14th is going to be there or thereabouts for us this season, to be followed by a summer of trauma with plenty going

  4. Rob Osborne March 17, 2019 at 3:42 pm #

    A game to sum up the season. Thought we played ok but just a bit naïve at times. Sergi is the epitome of that. Some great enthusiasm and running at the opposition, but then losing the ball at crucial moments putting us on the back foot (the goal being one of them).

    I think we’ve probably had too young a side overall this year. Missing the organisational skills of someone with a bit of experience like Bjellend.

    Sill we’ve had worse seasons:)

    BTW if your puppy eats the Roses then take him to the vets. Chocolate’s poisonous to dogs.

  5. James Norwood March 17, 2019 at 8:54 pm #

    Guilty as charged, so far as watching and listening (to the third Gayle of the day) from sunnier climbs, but it had rained in California every day from January 1st until March 15th so I don’t feel quite so bad. I was only able to see the first half, the golf course was beckoning, but it seemed a fairly even affair to me. The margins in the Championship are as we all know “waffer thin” and the difference from being 14th or 4th is very small too. The difference for me is that as you explain, the Throstles and the Blades are both super tight at the back and able to find that one breakthrough with a moment of brilliance. Brentford create more chances than most and on our day that goal could have gone our way, but just not today. Can’t comment on the ref in the second half but seems the bad decisions where even higher than my handicap. I’m of course hoping for the playoffs but my prediction is we finish 9th. Good stuff Nick, keep up the “whilsts” and “moresos.” Proper English at its best.

  6. Ted Soudan March 18, 2019 at 8:16 am #

    Season:- “Not with a bang but a whimper”

  7. newroadEnder77 March 19, 2019 at 1:24 am #

    you doubtin tomases weel win!

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