One shot. One goal. No excuses. No sales.

4 Aug

Every good run comes to an end. Birmingham City enjoyed that rarest of experiences on Saturday afternoon, victory over Brentford, after coming away from Griffin Park with all three points for the first time since 2016. It was our first home defeat on the opening game of a season since 1992 – that, a 2-0 loss to Wolves which ushered in the start of the post Dean Holdsworth era and saw talismanic Terry Evans crocked for the vast majority of the campaign. It almost felt like that with Neal Maupay missing amid the stories linking him with Brighton, Aston Villa et al not going away. Yet there was plenty to be encouraged by  from what was, ultimately, a frustrating afternoon. One not helped by referee Gave Ward doing his very best to lose control of the game in the second half.

Deano & Terry Evans lr

Deano and Terry  – their last game together as Bees

With transfer speculation hanging heavy in the air, there was an audible gasp when the team was announced 59 minutes before kick off. Or was that just my asthma? No Neal Maupay in the 18. A bench where Josh Clarke was the most experienced of those named by Thomas Frank. Kamo and Benrahma both absent (although that had been expected, given fitness reasons as much as anything else).

Despite those missing, Ollie Watkins (whose name has been linked with Crystal Palace on the clickbait sites all week) did start and hit the ground running. As did my man of the match, Sergi Canos. With Pontus Jansson named as captain at the heart of a three man central defence the new look Brentford  team still had a solid feel to it. And it WAS new look, with only three of those who started the equivalent game last season, the 5-1 pasting of Rotherham, beginning this one. Sergi, Ollie and Henrik – for the record.  


View from the Braemar – Captain Jansson impressed.

But with Peter Gilham getting the crowd going, his task aided by the presence of Harlee Dean (C) in the blue of Birmingham City, Thomas Frank’s boys wasted no time in pouring forward. Surely it was only a matter of time. Boom – the crossbar hit not once but twice in close succession as the goal threatend. A clutch of great saves from Lee Camp. Another onto the post. Shots fizzing just wide. A goal was coming….wasn’t it?

We’re in danger doing a Brentford here”, I quipped to one Braemar Road observer sitting alongside after the second shot onto the bar. That, from Marcondes who may be disappointed not to have found the net in retrospect.  Within 30 seconds Kristian Pedersen had headed the visitors into the lead. A quickly taken free kick where I’m not sure if Mr. Ward had even blown was met deep. Nobody picked up Pedersen’s short run and his precision header looped over and in from distance. One effort. One goal. One nil to the visitors. 

Much like Shakira’s hips, the stats don’t lie. At least, the one that says ‘goals scored’.  Despite that being they solitary time Birmingham threatened, and our own first half dominance which saw the game end on 76% possession to Brentford, the only piece of data that really counts is balls in the back of the net. And Birmingham City edged that. Somehow. Yet goals win games and, as such, one can’t try to deny them the points.

Screenshot 2019-08-04 at 07.45.21

Brentford 0 Birmingham City 1

Looking across social media and match reports, the ‘d’ word is being floated around by all manner of observers. Deserved, not Dean. Yes, we looked fantastic at times. Yes, we DID play well in the first half. Very.  But NO, we didn’t deserve to win because we couldn’t score a goal. We slowed down noticeably in the second half and looked laborious in the build up where the cut and thrust of the wide men and wing backs had diminished noticeably. No matter how leaden, physical and solid Birmingham City looked, they did manage to score and then succeeded in closing us out. On the plus side, I take heart from the clear and almost universal recognition of the way played for a significant chunk of this game.

I liked the look of Mathias Jensen in the centre of the park when he was able to push forward although Romaine and Kamo were clearly conspicuous by their absence. Josh Dasilva struggled whilst one free kick that he took from the heart of Saunders territory ended up in the heart of Tarkowski territory as it cleared the Ealing Road stand.

Romaine’s not coming back – we’ll just have to get over it – but Kamo’s presence around the ground did put a smile on the face at full time. As did a chance encounter with Sam Saunders who was as amiable as ever when discussing the game with an enthralled HB. Something all the more special given that the uttering of standard line: “And this is Saunders territory…” when the aforementioned free kick was awarded was met with the response “Daddy? What IS Saunders territory?” Where do you even start? Just not with the wife….

Screenshot 2019-08-04 at 08.38.01

Ian Moose was loitering. Amazingly, a look at his Twitter feed this morning shows there’s no criticism of Neal Maupay’s performance. Despite the player’s absence it is a mode that seems so hard-wired into the Talk Sport shock jock that I half expected to see some form of negativity towards Neal. Perhaps the pillars were in his way.

For now though, there’s nothing more to do beyond clenching the buttocks ahead of our trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday.  We’ve another painful wait until the transfer window finally slams shut at 5pm on Thursday afternoon. Will Neal still be here or might Brighton make an offer we can’t refuse? Has Said’s absence made him invisible to big spending Aston Villa? Indeed, has Dean Smith run out of money after his latest acquisitions this week in Tom Heaton and Marvelous Nakamba ? Might the Griffin Park ‘in’ door swing further ? 

All or none of the above happening wouldn’t surprise me. The one thing to expect these days is the unexpected. Let’s not forget that despite all the rumours and whispers, nothing has actually happened as it stands. None of the names in the frame have left the club. All we can do is sit tight and wait to see who Thomas has available when the team sheet is handed in at the Riverside.


Screenshot 2019-08-04 at 08.01.58

The look from Thomas says it all….

Nick Bruzon


19 Responses to “One shot. One goal. No excuses. No sales.”

  1. R Smith August 4, 2019 at 8:21 am #

    Every time Birmingham play at Brentford and you don’t win it is the referee’s fault. Last time, even when he sent off a Birmingham player for nothing due to your player cheating, .some Bees fans said you didn’t win due to the ref.

    I have nothing against Brentford, in fact they are one of only three London teams that I have any time for, but you really do need to stop blaming everyone else for your failings.

    • nickbruzon August 4, 2019 at 9:55 am #

      You may want to try re-reading the article. Think it’s pretty fair to say in the piece that whilst Mr Ward wasn’t great, you took your one chance and we didn’t. I’m not in the ‘deserved to win’ gang and never have been – regardless of the opposition.
      Is it a case of Birmingham fans taking their obsession with Brentford too far and looking for sour grapes even when there are none on offer? Perhaps.
      Ultimately, they scored and we didn’t. On another day maybe but for now just one we’ve got to take on the chin and remain happy with what we did well.

  2. Edward Soudan August 4, 2019 at 8:33 am #

    Familiar refrains from Frank, ‘One sided game, plenty of territory’. We play too slowly and have no invention when the opposition is happy to defend in numbers.

  3. Bazzathebluenose August 4, 2019 at 9:10 am #

    A very honest assessment of the match from my understanding. I couldn’t get a ticket despite being a Birmingham season ticket holder. They sold out before I became eligible which was irksome given that I live in the south of England and Griffin Park is relatively easy for me to get to by train. It is a venue I generally get to in the season so I had to follow on the Blues web site. It sounds to me that Brentford were mugged and every fan has had to witness games like that from time to time but I am of a similar mind to you in that when it happens to us I say that nearly went ins, hit posts and near misses don’t count on the score sheet. If, because of missed opportunities, you lose the game, you deserve to and I commend you for stating that obvious fact. As for the free kick, my understanding of the laws is that the referee does not have to blow the whistle to restart the game unless he specifically tells the players ‘on my whistle’ which you see them doing often with free kicks around the box where walls are being organised and the like. Even here, a quick thinking player can take the kick if the referee hasn’t indicated he can’t. Good luck for the rest of the season; you support a proper family football club. Keep Right On!

  4. Ijaz August 4, 2019 at 9:40 am #

    Well that was certainly unexpected. With Che Adams gone and no replacement striker brought in. All the talk has been where the goals are gonna come from. Garry Monk was sacked by our moronic owners because they wanted to see a more possession based style of football. The 80% possession by Brentford tells a different story. However despite all the possession you only had 3 shots on target which tells you just how wasteful you were in front of goal. At this rate though I can see you doing well in the Soccer AM crossbar challenge. This was a proper smash and grab victory reminiscent of the Gary Rowett days. Have to say what a header. Any away victory is a good one but to play this poorly and still come away with an unexpected 3 points is even better. The football needs to improve or its gonna be a long hard season

  5. Brighton Bee August 4, 2019 at 10:39 am #

    A truely shocking second half performance by Brentford yesterday against the mass ranks of the Birmingham defence. After such a promising start we fell apart once Birmingham scored and their management team realised all they had to do was just sit back and watch Brentford shoot themselves in the foot with sideways passing, back passes, short passes going nowhere etc. Not for the first time in the recent past did we fail to break down a defensive 4-5-1 formation. This has happened too many times now for it to be “ unlucky” There as clearly a lack of creativity, invention, incisive passing etc. Doesn’t TF realise that not every team is going to come to Griffin Park and take us on playing football? I certainly don’t want to praise Birmingham as I thought they were quite poor but fair play, they did what they had to do to get their win with their only shot. A couple of other things also concerned me yesterday, 1. Maupey – correct me if I’m wrong but is he not contracted too and paid by Brentford to play football? So why isn’t he playing? Unless there is something dramatic going on that we have not been made aware of I think he let the supporters and his team mates down big time yesterday by not playing. I don’t buy this “is head is not in the right place” crap. If he’s worrying as to whether he’s going to earn £10k or £40k a week then he ought to have 90% of the country’s population problems! and 2. The quality of our bench yesterday was perhaps the worst I have ever seen. Daniels aside, the rest looked like a bunch of schoolboys who could not have changed the game from the bench. Very worrying.

    • David Carney August 4, 2019 at 12:22 pm #

      Your opinion of course, but me thinks, way off target. Frustration at losing to an average team who’s manager has perhaps worked out that salvaging away points by parking the bus tactics might just keep them in the Championship come may. All credit to Birmingham, no matter how irritating that is for every Brentford supporter.
      Mauplay is a Brentford player in name only and that is the reason he has not played since last season He seems to have moved on and there is just the haggling of the issues of which club destination and the details of the size and structure of the fee, plus presumably personal terms.
      If the three shots that hit the wood work been an inch the other way or fallen to a Brentford player and a couple hard been converted into a 2 – 1 win, would your comments be the same or would it be, we don’t need Maupay to win?
      As for the bench I think you are being a little disingenuous with your comments. No one other than the coaching staff know the real position with injuries, who is playing well enough to justify a place on the bench, and what strategy was in place for the match.
      I wonder, based on what you wrote have you given up on promotion this season?

      • Ijaz August 4, 2019 at 1:27 pm #

        This game reminded me of a game versus West Brom many years back where we absolutely battered them and their keeper made save after save. I think we hit the crossbar 4 times with their defenders making 2 goal line clearances too. They had a long punt up the pitch and scored in the 86th minute. The baggies fans singing ‘One chance we only need one chance’ has lived long in my memory. I wouldn’t be too despondent you played very well.

      • nickbruzon August 4, 2019 at 2:43 pm #

        Thanks. Just had that sort of feel

      • nickbruzon August 4, 2019 at 2:43 pm #

        Thanks David. And welcome back. Another article where I’ll say black and you’ll say white, almost as a default.
        Comments re the bench hardly disingenuous but factual. Quote: “A bench where Josh Clarke was the most experienced of those named by Thomas Frank. Kamo and Benrahma both absent (although that had been expected, given fitness reasons as much as anything else).”
        Maupay – I’ve never said we need him to win but there’s no question that the side is better with him. Only a fool would think otherwise.
        I’ve not even mentioned promotion and never do until the magical ten game mark. So to answer your question I’ve neither given up nor considered it in the running based on one game where we played really well for a half hour then slowed down.
        I suspect you are dangling the fishing rod emoji and I’ll happily nibble – it’s the first game of the season 🙂 Hope you enjoyed the game – it was great being in a rocking Griffin Park. Here’s to more….

  6. John flavel August 4, 2019 at 2:09 pm #

    You lost get over it.

    • nickbruzon August 4, 2019 at 2:44 pm #

      With the level of punditry it’s safe to say Ian Moose can sleep safely tonight

    • Martin west August 4, 2019 at 4:46 pm #

      Where did you study sports journalism John,the university of stating the bleeding obvious

  7. Michael Dance August 4, 2019 at 2:24 pm #

    The KLM shirt looks fresh from the wrapper, bonus brownie points for whoever washes it. If I bring my slightly jaded one to boro.,…

    • Hobbo August 4, 2019 at 6:24 pm #

      Once a players or head coaches head has been turned and no longer want to pull on a Bees shirt(something we are having to get used too over the last few years, Bees fans they are not), Woods being a prime example,off they trot as far as i’m concerned if the fee is right, knowing the money will be reinvested wisely more often than not now at long, long last we are a well run club thanks to the Benham and the dofs.

  8. David Carney August 4, 2019 at 11:17 pm #

    Nick, I wasn’t disagreeing with you at all. I felt Brighton Bee was wrong with his comments and was responding to him. I do not disagree at all with your comments as they were very good. My apologies for the confusion.

    • nickbruzon August 5, 2019 at 5:58 pm #

      Thanks David – its always good to get a diversity of opinion . Don;t you worry. Thanks for staying involved 🙂

  9. Alan Watton (@AlanAlanwatton) August 5, 2019 at 10:26 am #

    Rare Victory against Bees? Griffin Park ends with Blues only one defeat in SIXTY-FIVE years. I hope Maupay goes to VILLA they deserve him.

    • nickbruzon August 5, 2019 at 5:59 pm #

      That’s brilliant 🙂 Thank you so much !!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: