Top of the what now? Bees relish their Royal appointment.

11 Feb

Wow! Just wow. Brentford were at their very best to win 3-1 at Reading on Wednesday evening and overtake Norwich City at the top of the Championship table. The. Top. The penthouse suite in the promotion hotel. There’s still one heck of a way to go but after putting in about as resilient a performance as they come, against Premier League chasing opponents who took the lead and dominated proceedings in the first half, one can’t help but feel excited. Next up is a home game with Barnsley on Sunday lunchtime (given their own FA Cup tie with Chelsea tonight) followed by the midweek trip to Loftus Road. With them, the chance to improve on current figures that see us 21 games unbeaten in the league, Ivan Toney now up to 23 goals scored in the league this season and 25 points out of a possible 27 earned in the last 9 games. 21, 23, 25! What comes next in that sequence? Thankfully, for once, this isn’t part of the home schooling routine but more the excitement which seems to greet every game at the moment.

“What a team” – the words of Ethan Pinnock

For now though, we need to start by catching up on events last night. Thomas Frank shuffled his squad, with Josh Dasilva returning and Mbeumo / Fosu occupying the flanks. Sergi Canos and Samman Ghoddos having to be content with places on the bench. The former in particular perhaps disappointed after his excellent run of recent form but fitness and the squad come first. Besides, his entry into the fray  just after the hour coincided with Brentford continuing to turn the screw after holding off Reading for so long.

As seems to be the way at present, we conceded first. Thankfully not in the third minute and it was one from the penalty spot with Henrik Dalsgaard adjudged (and that’s the most generous word I can come up with) to have brought down former Bee Josh Laurent. He only ever played one game for us, ‘that’ Marinus inspired nightmare in the league cup at home to Oxford United, but the potential we saw was on evidence last night. He, and the Royals, were not here to make up the numbers even if the decision to award the spot kick seemed a soft one. Nobody complained, David Raya got his hands to it but Lucas Joao hit it too well and the hosts were ahead. 

In truth, it had been coming and if the award of the penalty itself had felt iffy (they always do when you are on the receiving end) there was no bitterness towards Reading who had been well on top. Then, things changed. Brentford pushed up (somebody needs to make a chant about that when we are allowed back in) and found their feet. Having spent 25 minutes being carved open we started to play. Josh Dasilva electric as he cut in from the right, waltzed through the defence and into the box before striking a beauty across the face of goal and into the opposite corner. It was a thunderbolt of a run and shot. A beautiful goal and one which really needed fans there to witness it. 

Alas we were all confined to barracks although at least had Mark Burridge and team to guide us through the action on i-follow. They had been sorely missed by many for the trip to Middlesbrough at the weekend but despite being stuck out in monitor free isolation at the Madjeski (not even given team sheets) were still on hand to do their thing in the bitter cold. And they had to be on their toes as Dasilva’s strike, sublime though it was, only seems to shake Reading back to life. David Raya and Ethan Pinnock both keeping the Bees in it as we were pushed onto the back foot for the last ten minutes of the half. The later in particular pulling off one quite incredible tackle that had penalty written all over it , were it not for the absolute precision in his timing.

1-1 at half time and if the first period had seen opportunity knock, the second felt very much as though both teams wold settle with a point. To be fair, it would still have been enough to see us overtake Norwich on goal difference but this team never say die. Never stop running. Had strength on the bench with Sergi providing a much needed breath of fresh air for in place of Mbeumo for the final half hour. Ghoddos adding further energy on 80 as the Bees wrapped things up in style late on.

First, it was Josh Dasilva. Again. Ivan Toney chesting the ball into his path with the deftest of touches , allowing the midfielder to lash home from close range. The finish was perfect but the build up play exquisite as Ivan made it all look so, so easy. 86 minutes gone and Brentford finally in front. With the clock reading 88 we were out of sight. A fierce drive from Sergi only able to be parried out and Ivan turned from provider to poacher, gobbling up the rebound before anyone could react. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe this man. Truly, truly incredible. Dean Holdsworth scored 38 in our own  ’91-’92 Third Division Championship season (all competitions) but one has to fear for the safety of that record should he carry on at this rate, given he’s already just up behind the total Deano scored in the league.

Josh equalised and then steered us into the lead

Four minutes of injury time became six but there was no danger. No feeling of stress or angst as the Bees held firm. It was an absolute huge result, make no mistake about that. The run and stats are impressive but now it is all about keeping the position at the top of the table we’ve finally been able to claim in our own right. Our own games in hand have played out and we’ve reached the summit with a little bit of clear air. There are still 18 games to go and now all we can do is chalk them off, one by one. Barnsley are next up on Sunday in a game that could take place with us having been replaced at the top given Norwich entertain Stoke on Saturday afternoon. And we’re assuming a game with Stoke could ever be described as entertaining. No doubt the Canaries will have a point to prove and its going to be very interesting which way this one plays out.

Still, that’s their issue. For us, the top of the table is now home. What a fantastic performance last night. What a team. Here’s to more of the same. Starting with Barnsley.

Can we reach 22…..?

Nick Bruzon 

3 Responses to “Top of the what now? Bees relish their Royal appointment.”

  1. Brighton Bee February 11, 2021 at 8:50 am #

    Great summary Nick and as you said wow, just wow. Whist impresses me is that recently, as the game goes on, the team seems to get stronger and stronger. Plus, because they can attack from all over the pitch the opposition seem to be confused as too who to mark and which run to track. I’m not getting carried away because as you say, there is a long way still to go but on this form anything and everything is possible.

  2. ROY BOLTER February 11, 2021 at 9:12 am #

    WHAT A TEAM no more to be said

  3. Rod Davidson February 11, 2021 at 9:32 am #

    Great team spirit, togetherness and effort against a Reading team who pushed hard at us for the first 30 minutes or so.
    The man management of the squad is impressive too. There seems to be an excellence of effort from different individuals coming to the fore just at the right time, and that’s down to Thomas Frank and his team.
    I must say that Sergi Canos provided the spark last night when he came on to blend in seamlessly to join numerous top performances.
    Well done Brentford!

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