The new era at Brentford is now, officially, under way.

7 Sep

The first ‘competitive’ fixture at Lionel Road has taken place and it has been marked with a victory. Brentford beating Wycombe Wanderers on penalties after a 1-1 draw. A win which sees us progress to the second round where we now face a trip to Southampton next Tuesday. There’s no messing around, with this one, that’s for sure, with the draw for the third round having also taken place. Don’t lose any sleep waiting for that tie – another away game to visit the winners of the clash between West Bromwich Albion and Harrogate Town. Instead the focus is, surely, on the forthcoming trek to Birmingham City and the start of the Championship proper.

Let’s start with Wycombe, though. Brentford lined up with the expected mix of B-team players and first teamers in an encounter that was treated more as a pre-season friendly than a chance to progress in the cup. There were run outs for new signings Charlie Goode and Ivan Toney whilst Sergi was on from the start and back to his best. He did everything but score, unleashing a delightful through ball in the first half to release Ivan then curling one oh-so close in the second. He eventually got the goal his game deserved in the spot kick shoot out.

Luke Daniels was captain for the day and Ethan Pinnock got the goal. A quite superb header back across goal after connecting with a sweet Jensen dead ball delivery found the back of the net late on in the first half. Despite Fosu, Toney and the aforementioned Spaniard coming close things remained level until a rare error from the imperious Pinnock – overcooking a ball in the defensive zone – opened up the game for Wycombe and there was no mistake from Daryl Horgan. 

This, despite, the visitors being down to ten men for most of the second half. Their physical approach – that saw at least two bloody noses – reaping the expected ‘rewards’ after Dominic Gape was shown red for ploughing through Jan Zamburek. Yet they held their own and in the end it came down to penalties. Luke Daniels pulling off a save before Marcus Forss stepped up to bury the fifth and take Brentford through. Job done.

I can’t draw too many conclusions from this one. By the time we get to Birmingham City, those on international duty will be back in the fold. The squad sure to be looking ten times better despite the expected absence of Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma. Thomas Frank made it clear we are planning for life without them already. The first of those ten games towards the table ‘taking shape’ is going to give much more of a sign as to how he sees his team lining up this season.

As for our new home, the universal response from those present was that Lionel Road is superb. Looking at the various ebullient Twitter feeds on Sunday, it seemed we had a stadium full of journalists in there to go alongside the Sky cameras. All of them gushing about how amazing it was. It certainly appeared to be for those of us looking in from the couches and pubs. Even Jon Varney was there in front of the sky cameras, giving a guided tour. Safe to say his acting hasn’t progressed overly since the run in with Kurupt FM.

Thomas Frank has lost his whiteboard. A more traditional team talk accompanied the build up to the spot kicks although he did, at least, have the advantage over his opposite number when it came to the battle of the luxuriant locks.

Say what you want about Gareth Ainsworth but he sticks to his principals – on and off pitch. Wycombe were robust but kept going until the end. The Bees can count themselves lucky to progress after not putting this one to bed earlier. Yet at the same time, we are through. With no injuries. I’ll take that and party.

Next up, Birmingham City. The season proper starts this weekend. Until then, there’s just a few more loose ends to tie up. First up, the auction. ‘That’ red jacket has now made it home. I can’t wait until we are allowed back into a stadium. The obvious allure of being able to watch live football aside, surely Thomas will have no choice but to wear this for real?

We spoke yesterday about the novelty cheques, strange signs and other items now finding new homes. For me, seeing the jacket in action will be a sign that dome form of normality is returning.   

The other thing at this time of year is the publication of the usual ‘season review’ on kindle e-book. The latest version is up now and contains a season’s worth of these musings along with the Park Life columns submitted for the programme column. As ever, ANY money made will be given to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.   However, give it a day or so and it should be up on a five day free download – along with the previous works. Personally, I’d sit tight for that but it’s your call. That’s even if you want it which, let’s be honest, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

But if you’d like to read more and relive last/previous seasons at your leisure  – whether for free or by giving a little donation to the Sports Trust – then the link is here.

Enjoy. Or Endure (given how things played out).

Nick Bruzon

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