Tough conditions. Tough opponents. Tough to take.

26 Feb

The referee. The weather. Murray Jones. VAR. Barnsley tickets. Ron Noades, Marinus. The South dressing room at Millennium stadium. Jamie Cureton, Jasper Carrot. Birmingham City. It would be easy to find things to blame for last night but the simple fact of the matter is that a 2-1 defeat for Brentford at Luton Town was about as disappointing a performance as we’ve seen all season. The Hatters wanted it, were quick on their feet and first to everything. The Bees struggled to break down our hosts and despite the attacking options available, a rejigged line up was unable to make headway. With Nottingham Forest also winning to move third, the ball is very much in the court of both Fulham and Leeds United – should they want to try and take the opportunity this evening.


Brentford were unable to find a way through the Luton defence

Ahh, look. I’ve slept on it before even thinking about committing words to paper. It hasn’t changed the disappointment. The sniping on Twitter was there for all to see last night. The struggle on the pitch apparent. Julian Jeanvier was added to the injury list before kick-off and Christian Norgaard joined him during the second half. Mathias Jensen was missing again whilst we were desperately crying out for the solidity of Pontus Jansson to add some shape to the makeshift back line. 

A bright start where we took the game to Luton came crashing down to earth with a bump where an innocuous looking free kick across the box seemed to elude everyone before going in on off Shandon Baptiste. Less than ten minutes gone and Brentford a goal down. With the clock being killed at every possible opportunity, our hosts refused to give an inch. The Bees’ super slick passing machine snuffed out time and again as the midfield and defence held firm. With no way through and Simon Sluga in inspired form between the sticks when an opportunity was forged,  the tension built. And built. 

Then, right into the depths of stoppage time, it was 2-0. Another free kick and another goal. This time at least Luton having the decency to score it themselves. Martin Cranie the man celebrating as he fired the half-cleared original effort back from where it came and high into the net. Brentford left the field to a chorus of boos. The smiles and bright start of forty-five minutes earlier nothing more than a distant memory, washed away in the incessant sleet and rain.

The second half brought more of the same. Frustration. Wayward passes. Ferocious defence. A brick wall midfield. A late goal from Ollie Watkins offering faint hope. A very late sortie upfield from David Raya almost bringing salvation as Ethan Pinnock saw a corner scrambled off the line and Said Benrahma curled one just wide. Yet it all felt too little, too late.


David Raya – almost grabbed the equaliser (not a typo).

No excuses made – Brentford were second best last night. Luton Town wanted it more and got exactly what their gameplay and endeavour was due. On the plus side, we are still in the play-off zone. We are still six points off second place. Middlesbrough may do us a favour against Leeds United tonight. Swansea City may see their game with Fulham as the opportunity to reignite a rapidly faltering play-off push. Should those results go our way then we are no worse off than before. The upper places still in sight. There are only eleven games to go and we still have destiny very much in our own hands. The chance to lock down a play-off spot, at the very least, one which is ours to own.

But let’s not pretend that we can play like that again and get away with it. The patched up team looked knackered as they chased both the game and their tenacious opponents. Throwing mud at individuals won’t help and I’m certainly not going to start this now. We win together. We lose together. This one gets chalked down to the file marked ‘lessons learned’ and everyone can just pretend it never happened. 

A win at Cardiff City on Saturday will put the smile back on our faces. Perhaps Middlesbrough and Swansea may even do that job for us tonight. Otherwise, its a case of chin up and roll on the weekend. See you there. 

Nick Bruzon



4 Responses to “Tough conditions. Tough opponents. Tough to take.”

  1. Paul Fletcher February 26, 2020 at 8:02 am #

    Like you I have waited until this morning before commenting in an attempt to be rational.
    What I would say is that I am baffled as to why TF chose to play 3 at the back when 2 of the 3 were not CB’s?
    That didn’t help our cause along with the ever growing injury list which sees 5 key players absent. In addition Luton seemed more motivated playing to their (limited) strengths ably assisted by yet another inept official who took no cognisance of their time wasting throughout the game.
    It isn’t only this performance that worries me though as I think it’s been coming .Its about where we go from here because I personally don’t see things changing until we get some of our better players back.
    Yesterday was a reality check for me. Forget automatics , they were never a reality in my mind .I just hope the playoffs which always seem to end in tears are still within reach.
    Oh and finally for somebody reckoned to be worth circa £30 mill could Said learn how to take a corner !!

  2. Brighton Bee February 26, 2020 at 8:43 am #

    Like you, if I had written a summary last night the keys would have been burning with frustration and anger at such an inept performance against a team at the bottom of the league. Quite frankly it was shocking and why oh why did TF play a back three when earlier on in the season, playing this way we were hopeless. Yes we have injuries but that is no excuse for last night. The absence of Pontus is a major issue for me, we just haven’t looked the same team while he has been out. Let’s hope he is back soon otherwise I fear for our potential place in the play offs

  3. David Carney February 26, 2020 at 12:44 pm #

    There is still a quarter of the season remaining so just why all the doom and gloom, gnashing of teeth and criticism?
    So…….Brentford have had a bit of a ‘wobble’ for a few matches, just like every other team at the pointy end of the Table. Better to lose to Luton that Fulham, Leeds, WBA, etc, where the points lost really would hurt.
    The players are not robots, they are human, they do their best but sometimes come up short for a whole variety of reasons, including individual form, injuries, opposition tactics, referees and so on.
    How often do experts state the Championship is one of the most difficult leagues in the World of Football. Everyone should recognise that fact before going off like a two bob watch.
    For what it is worth I am looking forward to seeing Brentford in the Premier League next season and yesterdays result did not alter my view one iota.

  4. BerksBee February 26, 2020 at 4:54 pm #

    Great post Nick as always, a good summation and read.

    There are three things going on here (with our performances) I think.

    Firstly, I always thought that injuries would be the only thing that would derail our push for the two auto places and so it has happened. We’re just not as effective, either going forward or defending without our first choice XI. The replacements just aren’t good enough, either quality wise or experience wise at the moment to replace the first choice players and continue the same level of performance.

    Secondly and linked to the above, the absence of Jansson in terms of his defensive, organisation and leadership qualities is severely missed.

    Finally, teams are working out or have worked out how to deal with us and nullify our threat. We’ve seen time and again, sides that stay compact and in defensive shape, press us hard, give us no time on the ball and foul and niggle to break up play and tempo take points off us.

    It’s highly frustrating because it’s not so much the other side trying to win, but employing tactics not to lose and frequently end up getting a lucky goal from a set piece and taking all three, as last night.

    You have to give these sides credit though, even though you may not like the way they play or the tactics they employ. Luton wanted it more than we did, fought for everything and got two lucky goals, three points, thanks very much.

    Sadly and with a heavy heart, I think I’m going to have to admit that, we’re not good enough at the moment to get an auto promotion slot as I hoped we might. And we all now how well we do in the play offs?

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