A generous slice of good fortune keeps things tight at the top.

12 Feb

I’ll take that and party. Leeds United, arguably the stronger team on the night, were held by Brentford at Griffin Park. We were second to most things but stats, possession and performance count for naff all when the man comes around. The only thing that will be remembered  is in the ‘goals scored’ column and for that we must be truly grateful things finished one each. Benrahma’s early opener, gifted him courtesy of a horror moment for visiting ‘keeper Kiko Casilla, was matched just before half-time by opposition skipper Liam Cooper. Yet with Charlton Athletic doing both teams the biggest of favours after their stunning 0-1 win at Nottingham Forest, the Bees move up to fourth. Still two points off Leeds and five behind West Bromwich Albion at the summit.

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View from the Braemar – Brentford, erm, push up

So, in short…. Leeds United dominated. Leeds United pressed, pushed and took the game to Brentford. Should have wrapped it up in the second half and will no doubt consider this one that they ‘deserved’ to win. The Bees very much on the back foot but, equally, given the temporary moment of sitting second in the table after Casilla’s nightmare. Somehow, a soft backpass from Cooper evaded him and as he desperately stretched to recover, Said was there to hoover up the most generous of gifts. Boom. 1-0. Game on and Leeds set to fall apart. Again.

But no. This was a different United. A team of mental and physical strength. One that didn’t crumble but came straight back at us and cranked up the pressure until Cooper was there to pounce at the other end just before half-time. And that’s how things stayed. The second period being one noticeable by our absence from proceedings. Or rather, our attacking prowess. 

The defence still missing Pontus Jansson coped admirably, by and large, completing the first task of keeping the gap to second place close. With Charlton doing the business in Nottingham, one hopes that on reflection we’ll all be waking up today and consider this one with all the positivity that the situation warrants.

Of course I wanted to win. Of course I was desperate to deliver a knockout blow to Leeds United’s fragile nerves. But you have to respect the fact that they are second for a reason and played the almost perfect game last night. Yet still they failed to beat us. Still Patrick Bamford looked a luxury item in front of goal. Costa profligate. Still Leeds haven’t won at Griffin Park since the days of black and white telly.

We can’t win every game but the plus factor being we’ve still made ground on the top of the table. Put simply, we’re now back in front of Nottingham Forest on level games. Huge thanks to Charlton for that one.

There’s not much else to say about our on pitch performance. We got the point. Might have had three but, in the end, given the chances they had Leeds will undoubtedly feel they should have won. We’ll thank that huge slice of good fortune for our goal and our visitors’ lack of potency who opportunity knocked. Will that be enough to keep the demons pecking at the back of their mind? A home game with promotion chasing Bristol City on Saturday won’t be the easiest of challenges. For us, a trip to Birmingham City. That’ll be an interesting one with Scott Hogan doing the business for Blues again last night but it’s also a topic for later in the week.

Another night under lights. Another game at Griffin Park done. The board now reading 7 to go (no brackets, though) . It was a night where two moments really made me appreciate how much we’ll miss this place.

Firstly, ducking out to the ablutions block in the second half I spotted something you’d struggle to find anywhere else and which could only take place given our close confines. A chap leaning over his garden wall to watch the game  ‘live’  – via the stadium TV channel. The things you do to get past a sellout crowd.

stadium TV Griffin Park Brentford

Secondly, former Bee Stuart Dallas. It’s not often you get the chance to reminisce about the single best ever goal scored in a Brentford shirt with the man who scored it (My word – ‘that’ strike at Fulham still sends shivers up the spine) so grab those moments whilst you can. Even if it’s in the middle of a football match.

He even posed for a picture. Only a stadium as bijou as Griffin Park would allow this.

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Of course I’m looking forward to Lionel Road but, once again, it was a case of very much enjoying what is a rapidly dwindling number of chances to experience that which makes out current home so unique. So special. With Blackburn Rovers next to visit, let’s hope we can use it our advantage.

Until then, snaffle up those last few tickets for Birmingham City and see you there.  

Nick Bruzon  

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8 Responses to “A generous slice of good fortune keeps things tight at the top.”

  1. Simon Sapper February 12, 2020 at 7:44 am #

    Thanks as ever for this Nick. I struggle to work out what I think about this game. Your assessment is at the kindest end of the scale. If we look at it a different way, there’s some work to be done by Thomas and the boys: Leeds’ goal should have been a ball the keeper held onto, some frustration, petulance even, from one of two of the team towards the end, often over-run in midfield, passes going astray, and I could go on! On the other hand the defence were magnificent, it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to play at 100% all the time, both sides looked like they had left everything on the pitch by the end. At our best – in the middle period of the first half, we were tearing them apart, but couldn’t sustain it. But we hung onto a precious point and other results were kind. Now if Millwall can deliver this evening………..Roll on Birmingham.

    • nickbruzon February 12, 2020 at 8:59 am #

      I think you’ve nailed it Simon. We’ll never play at the top of our game week in, week out. And you have to think about who we were up against. I think, as much there was a lot of anticipation – not expectation – about what might have happened. Sadly, it wasn’t to be but at least they are no further ahead. AS for Charlton. wow. More of the same tonight would be just amazing

  2. BORU February 12, 2020 at 10:12 am #

    Yes, Simon, to put it otherwise, always lacking perspective; and your being too kind!

  3. Martin west February 12, 2020 at 10:23 am #

    Sorry BORU irony and sarcasm pass right over my head. Highlight or lowlight was Ayling doing a marvelous comic turn as a ghastly mother in law by continuing to moan and be in the refs was all night.

  4. BORU February 12, 2020 at 11:13 am #

    On a trip, perhaps?

  5. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) February 12, 2020 at 12:45 pm #

    I do think that was one we got away with. I thought Leeds were excellent, but only to the point of going forward where a mixture of a lack of quality and Ethan Pinnock put paid to that.

    What concerns me most is how our midfield was completely overrun, mainly by the outstanding Kalvin Phillips, who could possibly win the award for best away perfomance at GP this season. Jensen & Dasilva in particular looking as if they were missing that added bit of quality to compete against the Leeds midfield. Before the injury i was thinking maybe its time to give Dasilva rest and play Emiliano against Brum.

    Also a word for Ollie. Outstanding! How he has developed this season. What i saw last night, was a true front man. Although he didnt get the service, he fought hard, used what physical presence he had and gave the Leeds defence a tough night. Its very clear that Ollie can easily make that step up to the Premier League

  6. Brighton Bee February 12, 2020 at 1:32 pm #

    I agree with all your other correspondents Nick. I don’t think we were at the races last night. Too many players had off nights and a touch of petulance crept in with one or two of our players to the point where just in front of us Watkins really laid into Benrahma for his lazy approach in the second half. Apart from a few minutes after our goal, I thought we were second best all evening. Leeds has a plan and they worked it very well. As others have said, I thought Phillips had a great game but we really didn’t put any pressure on him. At times he had the freedom of the park to spray the ball around. My mates and I were also baffled by the substitutions two minutes from the end. It was unfair in the two new lads as both Da Silva and Jensen were so bad in the second half they should have come off half and hour before the end to allow the new lads to have a chance of effecting the game. We were lucky that the Leeds players didn’t have their shooting boots on and that the Charlton lads were riled by the arrogant Forest team selection last night. There’s a lot of work to do before Saturday if we are to get a positive result at Brum!

    • nickbruzon February 12, 2020 at 7:33 pm #

      True, all true. I’m just trying to reflect on the fact that against the second placed team in the division we got away with it and, frankly, have done well in terms of points / position.
      Something on our side to be this awful yet still come out smiling and higher up ?

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