Was this the performance that defines the season?

30 Dec

How good was that? Brentford with the king of comebacks. On the ropes from the off . Bournemouth raining early punches like Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Our plucky heroes flat on their backs. Pontus scooping one off the line within seconds and, really, lucky not to be two down within the opening ten minutes. Yet the consummate display of determination, relentless pursuit of the prize and sheer balls saw the Bees turn 0-1 into an eventual 2-1 victory. Goals from Henrik Dalsgaard and Tarique Fosu sealing the points that saw us overtake Swansea City and move into second place. Norwich City, perhaps feeling they already had six fingers (one hand) on the league trophy, seeing the gap whittled down to just three points when full time came. It was a quite gargantuan performance of never say die football. Both teams giving it their all and, on this showing, sure to be battling it out for ‘automatic’ at the end of the season.

Fair play to Bournemouth. They flew out of the traps and should have been ahead within seconds. Dominic Solanke seeing Pontus somehow hyper-extend a leg as he chased down a nailed on goal before scooping it off the line to safety. Minutes later the same man had another glorious opportunity with Rico the one to this time hoick it clear after a butt clenching scramble. 

How Brentford hadn’t fallen behind is one to rank alongside the alleged popularity of Mrs. Brown’s Boys. Nobody knows or can explain. Instead, Brentford grew back in to it and we were off. Rocky picking himself up off the canvas to take the fight back to their opponents. A shot from Sergi Canos fired just wide. A trio of fine saves pulled out of the locker by Cherries’ ‘keeper Asmir Begović . Mbeumo and Toney working their magic. It was only a matter of time before the goal came and sure enough, it did. To Bournemouth.

Urghh. Dominic Solanke the man to finally get the goal his efforts had warranted. Credit to the player for picking his spot. The Bees defence carved open and no mistake made this time. 1-0 up and the visitors’ strength finally paying dividends. That midfield would have graced most top flight sides, let alone the Championship. Yet if anyone thought this was game over they were sorely mistaken. Mathias Jensen (the ultimate man of the match) turning provider for Henrik Dalsgaard little over ten minutes later. The Danish World Cup star heading home an equaliser that our performance may have warranted but which was in no way guaranteed. Nobody deserves to score. Unless, of course, you actually take your chance. And Henrik made no mistake with his.

1-1 at half-time and both teams, surely, well happy with that. Bournemouth probably ruing those early chances spurned but still alive and in it. Indeed, they started the second period much like they’d began the first. Pressure building, the goalmouth threatened but nothing of real substance coming. Dominance not rewarded with anything beyond recognition of their potent attacking prowess. Then Bryan Mbeumo popped up to do his thing and, with it, the game transformed. His work down the right legendary. A run into the box lit up with his dazzling footwork. One little back flick in the midst of this opening the Bournemouth defence like a can of tuna. His delivery across the penalty box absolute perfection. Tarique Fosu had already done his own thing to find the perfect position and by the time the ball dropped, he was given the freedom to gorge at the Bournemouth ‘all you can score’ buffet. One bite at the cherry was all he needed.

Boom. What a ball across. What a finish. Open the social media floodgates as the gushing began. And rightly so. The final ten minutes and additional time added on trickled by with no real fear of conceding. Pressure, yes. Panic, no. Game management to the max mixed with a couple of substitutions as the clock played out. Drago floored. Brentford triumphant. Thomas Frank making an emotional post match speech in which he’d note our awful first ten minutes, our efforts to close out the game and our opponents’ class.

The result was a cracker. Had we lost, then it wouldn’t have been fatal. Having won, it’s a wonderful way to end the year. It sees us breathing down the necks of Norwich City. Come on!! Where are you? Right behind. Swansea City overtaken ahead of their own game with Reading. The Bees now 16 unbeaten in all competitions. The ‘Frank Out’ brigade silenced once more. Instead, the u-turn of support that (yet) another win brings was evident.  

Next up, Bristol City on Saturday. Here’s hoping we have fit players. Josh Dasilva looked uncomfortable as he went off. Fingers crossed that was nothing serious. Only time will tell there. For now, though, we need to catch our breath. To marvel at a quite fantastic game of football between two top, top sides. Brentford took the points. Bournemouth will feel hard done by. Understandably. Yet I’ll leave the last word tonight to our Harry. Only 7(seven) years old but his bedtime summary of the game proving that age is no barrier to insight…

Harry: You know Bournemouth?

Me: Yes.

Harry: They must be devastated right now.

Nick Bruzon

6 Responses to “Was this the performance that defines the season?”

  1. Simon Sapper December 30, 2020 at 10:08 pm #

    To answer your question Nick – Yes, until the next one! HNY!

  2. Brighton Bee December 30, 2020 at 11:44 pm #

    Spot on summary Nick. It was an excellent game of football between two teams who really wanted to win. We were a little fortunate, as you say, not to go a couple of goals down early on but I thought our lads rolled their sleeves up, fought back and gave their all in first equalising and then going on to get the winner late on. Bournemouth are a good side but I was a little surprised to see Tindal taking two off of their more creative players and bring on lumps like King and Surridge. They started knocking the ball long and this played into our centre halves hands in the final 10 minutes or so. It was never in doubt! One Brucie Bonus for me is that living on the south coast all you hear on the local BBC TV news is Bournemouth this and Bournemouth that. It will be interesting to see how Louis Coombes on South Today explains the result tomorrow night. Onwards and upwards to the weekend and Bristol City 🐝🐝🐝

    • Martin West December 31, 2020 at 8:24 am #

      Good work Nick and Brighton Bee, the comment on Tindall panicking by throwing on subs to go direct is interesting, he was lucky to inherit a decent squad when most new managers take over a struggling team. He certainly has an exciting group of players at his disposal. Those first 10 minutes were painful to watch but as we rode our luck we gradually came into the game. We deserved to win after those late goals scored by Swansea, Norwich and Blackburn.
      .

    • Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) December 31, 2020 at 1:53 pm #

      To be fair to Cherries fans, they are naturally more pessimistic than we are. A great New Years present to the many Bees down here by the seaside.

      For me, this is as big as QPR or Fulham, and I have waited nearly 6 years for this game, so now I will be able to go into the office after New Year with my head held high

  3. Brighton Bee December 31, 2020 at 9:27 am #

    One final point Nick – the pitch. I don’t know what you think but for a new playing surface that cost a lot of money it doesn’t look that good. It looks to have bare patches, areas of puddling and at times last night the ball was bobbling all over the place. If our free flowing style of football is compromised and prevents us from reaching our ultimate goal of promotion – then why did we ever consider sharing the ground with LI?

  4. Alan Thompson December 31, 2020 at 10:24 am #

    The 6 finger gag and that you had to explain it was never funny and isn’t now. Stick to reviewing what was a wonderful performance by the Bees which Sky described the first half as being a game of Premiership standard.

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