All to play for in second leg with key decisions to be made.

18 May

90 minutes from Wembley. Brentford a goal down after a 1-0 first leg play-off defeat at Bournemouth. A game our hosts may feel should have been out of sight after creating the lion’s share of the chances but, instead, we go into Saturday’s return fixture at Lionel Road with the deficit as narrow as they come. Indeed, it could well have been a case of honours even had Bryan Mbeumo managed to convert a glorious opportunity in the second half from six yards out. That’s football. The Cherries will no doubt be upset about not having a larger advantage after the combination of David Raya and a resolute defence combined to keep them out on all but the solitary occasion. The other semi final saw Swansea City hold on to a 1-0 win at Barnsley in a tie that, like ours, remains wide open.

All to play for, still

Positives? The tie is wide open still. Only an idiot would prefer to be behind rather than level or better but at 0-1, we find ourselves no worse off than last season against Swansea. The difference this time around being we’ll have close to 4,000 supporters lifting the roof off Lionel Road on Saturday lunchtime. Bournemouth manager Jonathan Woodgate would describe last night’s atmosphere as “Just unbelievable, it was electrical.” Imagine what it will be like for the second leg with double the amount of fans and Peter Gilham egging us on? If ever there was a time to welcome supporters back it is now. 

Last years’s return tie saw us storm out of the traps and the aggregate the lead restored within fifteen minutes. Thomas will no doubt be expecting the same, noting at full time that “We’re 1-0 down, so there’s plenty of time still to turn this round. We’ll be ready and come flying out 100%.”

It is the only way to approach the game. The noise will be incredible and the players will be chomping at the bit. Likewise, we’ll have Rico Henry and Henrik Dalsgaard available for selection once more. Both players made second half cameos from the bench to give Thomas the nicest of selection headaches for the return leg. Stick or twist? Sergi or Rico? Mads or Henrik? Revert to the mid season formation or keep on doing what we have for the last few months? Who’d be a head coach?

The obvious negative being we go into it a goal down. All the aspirations and parallels won’t change that. Having weathered the first half storm, it was a soft goal to give away. Pontus losing possession and Bournemouth breaking with devastating speed. Carving us open with no possibility of salvation. It was a blitzkrieg assault and a brutal finish. For once, Raya left with no chance. A lesson very much to be heeded for Saturday. For all we will approach this one differently, taking the game to our opponents from the off, one can’t under estimate their own ability to make something out of nothing. To turn a spark into a flame. I predict goals. I predict noise. I predict a riot (on field).

There’s not much left to really say this morning. We’ve all seen it and Bournemouth deserved to win on the night – they scored , we didn’t. It wasn’t even as though it felt stolen or against the run of play. We lost the battle in the midfield and didn’t create enough opportunities. The flip side being that , cliche alert, it really is only half time. Get it right on Saturday and last night’s result will count for nothing. A historical curio en-route to the final. IF we get it right…. You can bet that Bournemouth will have their own tails up. They’ll have their own decisions to make about approach. Go for broke as we will or look to stifle the game and run down the clock? If Thomas has selection decisions, Jonathan Woodgate will very much have tactical ones. 

Still, that’s their problem. For Brentford, we know exactly what needs to be done. I can’t wait for this one. Bring it on and hopefully see you there. As Thomas said at full time, “Bournemouth fans did an ok job… we need you guys. We need a hostile environment.”

This could be fun….

Nick Bruzon


5 Responses to “All to play for in second leg with key decisions to be made.”

  1. Max May 18, 2021 at 7:06 am #

    Agree with you and tf ,the fans will be massive on Saturday.lots of 50/50 ,s to Bournemouth last night our turn on Saturday. It’s a new game and we are still well in this, but I think it will be like last night’s game , decided on who finishes their chances ,we created lots of good positions last night without really testing their goalkeeper. Fingers and everything else crossed that ivan toney is fit and ready as he appeared to hobble through last night’s game .as always coyb

  2. Rob May 18, 2021 at 11:46 am #

    Agree Nick / TF. Make it hostile for them. Get on the ref’s back, harass their players. Pressurise Begovic, but CHEER EVERYTHING WE DO. Don’t get frustrated with our players, just will them on. No groaning that Sergi hits a shot wide or Bryan misses an open goal. We’ve got to be positive for us, and aggressively negative for them.

  3. newroadkasualfirm May 18, 2021 at 11:49 am #

    I truly believe we will beat Bournemouth in the second leg

  4. Paul Fletcher May 18, 2021 at 2:30 pm #

    We can turn this around “if” the right formation and team selection are made.
    Both RH & HD need to return in my view whether we continue with the current system or revert to 433.
    Also Marcus Forss needs to be replaced by BM or SC to start alongside Ivan Toney.
    Then it requires the Internationals in the squad to step up to the plate (another lukewarm performance from Mathias Jensen isn’t acceptable), whilst the Captain needs to lead by example !
    Lastly for every Bees fan in attendance please remember you are representing us all and make the Stadium a hot bed of Bees support ! 🐝

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