Shoulda Woulda Coulda. Mixed bag of results leaves it tense at the top.

21 Mar

Two points dropped or another gained in a performance that was streets ahead of that second half no show on Tuesday? Brentford held 1-1 by Nottingham Forest in a game that arguably we could have won , given the chances created, or making further ground on Swansea City who lost at home to Cardiff City? The gap between us a solitary point. The huge fly in our ointment being a Watford team who won, again, and are now looking to make their own insurmountable assault on second place. A position they currently occupy with a 7(seven) point advantage over the Bees, albeit having played an extra game. With so many Brentford fans fixated on the potential 8 point lead available to the Swans after the dog’s dinner we served up at Coventry (how are those maths working out?), how many stopped to focus on The Hornets as the main danger threat to our automatic aspirations? They’ve been chipping away with win after win after win and now, all of a sudden, have found quite the clear air between second and third place as their rivals’ current milieu has been one more favouring draws and defeats.

The final score – as seen on Brentford official.

Our own game started so brightly. Ivan Toney scoring yet another from the penalty spot. It was as stonewall as they come in the decision making stakes. As ice cool as ever in the execution. Another one rolled into the bottom corner, taking the Championship’s leading scorer up to 28 from 37 games. Twelve minutes gone and Brentford ahead. Nottingham Forest on the ropes and doing well to stay alive. Mbeumo could have done better. Dalsgaard had a a glorious chance. The pressure building and the approach play suggesting more was to come.

Our visitors limited to a half-arsed penalty shout of their own that had both sets of players laughing and earned Alex Mighten nothing more than a yellow card for his trouble. The Tricky Tree less felled in the box and more needing to smooth over the rough edges on his Tom Daley tribute act.

Perfect 10s for effort, if not executionthe GPG at the right place on the screen grabs for this ‘penalty’ analysis

But let’s not get cocky here. Dominant though Brentford were, it had the feel of a game that needed more than one goal got make it safe. Half time came and went with the thought that taking one of those additional chances in the opening period might have eased stress levels in the environs of TW8. Calmed some strained nerves as the inevitable happened just after the hour. Mathias Jensen losing out to Bong after the Forest player manhandled his way through and past our man before releasing the ball forward. Brentford still had enough back to cover but Winston Reid could only guide his clearance straight to Filip Krovinovic close in. Ping. The ball was returned with interest straight back in the direction from which it came, straight past the defender and straight past David Raya in nets. 1-1. Well done. That play had been allowed to continue after the assault on Jensen a cause of huge frustration (and that’s the polite term) but, frankly, we still should have had the nous to cut that one out. Instead, the visitors handed out the consummate lesson in taking your chance when it comes.

This was not a park the bus exercise either. Progress was hard, as much through our own decision making, but there were still chances to seal it. Substitutes Ghoddos and Fosu who, personally speaking, should have come on much earlier, both coming close. Mbeumo had already had a glorious chance, foiled only by time quite wonderful defending. It had seemed an odd on goal after the square ball across the face from Ivan but, instead, a last gasp challenge saw a corner the best we could salvage. And then with almost the last kick of the game Toney saw his own deflection assisted shot go just the wrong side of the post. So near yet so far. 1-1 it finished. Forest good value and deserving of their point. Brentford left frustrated. Twitter given a wide berth. Frankly, life’s too short to read that in the heat of the aftermath.   

Checks for #Frankout

Sunday morning. Time to pick up the pieces once more. To read match reports and see what Thomas had to say for himself. His key take away being that, “this was close to a spotless performance in every aspect, we defended well, created chances, pressed forward and first half we should have been 2-0 up“.

Well yes, he’s right from many respects. Shoulda Woulda Coulda, though. Chances don’t win games, strikers do. Or, at least, goal scorers. Any other day at least one of those probably goes in and the game is safe. But it didn’t. It was today. Not the other 9 times out of 10. And it’s agonising. As much as anything else because we know how last season played out when opportunity knocked. That’s the obvious downside and the place people are likely to gravitate towards. It’s football. We’re pessimists. We’ve been here many, many times. Dont even start me on there W place in North London.

Personally speaking, I’m of the more optimistic school of thought. It goes without saying I’d prefer to be in the position Watford find themselves, even though they have played that additional game. Yet they aren’t home and hosed yet. Anything but. Let’s not forget they still need to come to Lionel Road in the penultimate game of the campaign. That’s before they host Swansea City.  We win that one and our game in hand over them then the gap is a solitary point. Imagine actually needing a favour off Swansea at the end of all this? 

I can’t really think that way. This is on us still. We still have the time and potential on our side. There are still 9 games to play. That’s a fifth of the season as near as makes no difference. This campaign still has SO much football left in it. We’ll call it after game 46. Not after a result that doesn’t go our way. 

Everybody now gets the chance to reset and recover. Hopefully our internationals will all be suffering from niggles that cause their precautionary resting from World Cup qualification and U-21 duty. We’ve still got Josh Dasilva and Rico Henry to return. Hopefully this season . Hopefully soon. Along with Ivan they are two of the best players in the division, let alone this team. Name me any Championship side that could honestly say it was better without players of their calibre? Well, we all know the answer to that and whilst lamenting their absence won’t help anyone, I’d love if they play some significant role in that final run in. Fingers crossed the anti-gravity treadmill, or whatever else they are hooked up to, is doing its thing.

Until then, time to try and chill for a bit. There are two weeks until the next round of fixtures. We’ve got the Mark Devlin derby at Huddersfield on Easter Saturday. The day before, Watford host Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea go to Birmingham City.  Fingers crossed that’s a Good Friday. For Brentford.

For a moment, it looked like we’d have comfortable afternoon. Sadly, this was the only chance taken

Nick Bruzon

6 Responses to “Shoulda Woulda Coulda. Mixed bag of results leaves it tense at the top.”

  1. Alan Truman March 21, 2021 at 9:58 am #

    Another spot on analysis of yesterday’s game Nick keep up the good work and ignore those so called supporters who are only happy when we lose and no matter what happens its been a memorable season thank you

    • Andrew March 21, 2021 at 11:08 am #

      The season is not finished and hope springs eternal. The lack of squad depth is being exposed at the business end of a very condensed match schedule. Nothing ever comes easily at Brentford so another two months of heightened tension for all of us who care about the club is par for the course. The fear of failure can be corrosive and nothing is to be gained by playing the blame game at this stage. This deal can still be closed. Nothing is lost. Far from it!

  2. Rod Davidson March 21, 2021 at 10:29 am #

    Can’t flaw you’re analysis at all and agree with every point you make.
    If Ivan Toney the ‘creative’ could feed Ivan Toney the ‘finisher’ we would have won, but he can’t do both jobs at the same time can he ?
    But never mind, the statisticians can make something of that I suppose.
    They say that 42% of statistics are wrong, and 59% are unknown – Oh dear that’s 101% isn’t it.

  3. Martin West March 21, 2021 at 2:52 pm #

    ‘ lies, damn lies and statistics’ is that the right quote? Don’t know who said it, but spot on

  4. Max March 22, 2021 at 8:16 am #

    Need to stay positive as bees fans to help the team .the simple truth is that if we hit top form ,even with the wide positions blowing hot and cold we can beat anybody in this league .we all know that we have given far too many points away from winning positions, but we are still well in it and I don’t think anyone else has a squad any deeper than ours .season may come down to luck and refs decisions.

  5. Brighton Bee March 22, 2021 at 9:37 am #

    Am I the only one smelling the coffee and not viewing the Forest game through rose tinted glasses? TF said it was a top performance – really? If it was that good, how come we didn’t win? I really want to believe we can go up but we have dropped 18 points from winning positions and in the last week we have thrown away four points against teams in the lower part of the league not to mention only one goal from open play in four games and only three wins in the last nine games. We are not playing well and IMO we do not have a strong squad available to TF, either in numbers or physical strength. Its not his fault, I blame the D of F and the so called Head of Recruitment. If only we had that guy Cafu who dominated the midfield and trod all over Jensen on Saturday! TF had a lot to do over the next couple of weeks, I hope for all our sakes he finds a way to re invigorate and motivate the players for the Huddersfield game and beyond.

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