Bee keeper (outer) wins plaudits and game. What an evening at Lionel Road.

17 Oct

It was hell on Earth, the last 20 minutes”. Not my words Carol, but those of Chelsea goalscorer Ben Chilwell. Ordinarily a phrase used to describe being in the studio audience for a recording of Mrs. Brown’s Boys but this time a reference to Brentford throwing the kitchen sink, and more, towards the impregnable goal at the West Stand of Lionel Road. My word. With the Bees trailing to the England man’s piledriver just prior to half-time, it was a final phase of gameplay as intense as just about any ever seen. Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was in inspired form, using everything from his hands to his face to keep Brentford out.  When he was finally beaten there was Trevoh Chalobah to clear off the line, Bryan Mbeumo saw one crash back off the post (not for the first time this game) whilst there were more scrambles than an early 80’s video arcade. That’s before you even chuck the machinations of ‘referee’ Anthony Taylor into the mix. Cripes, he was utterly horrific. The Bees were incredible but came away with nothing beyond heads held high. Moreso given the earlier results which saw fellow promoted team Watford absolutely hammered at home to Liverpool. 5-0 to the visitors the final score there.

Crudely photoshopped match analogy. Sorry, but it’s too early for quality control.

What can you say? The usual phrases of pride and deserving to win. Perhaps this is what Dean Smith means when he uses his oft quoted line. But we didn’t. Frustratingly. Brentford dominated the later stages of the second half to such an extent that, surely, it was only a matter of time before the equaliser came? Surely? The arrival of Marcus Forss for Frank the Tank giving new impetus and drive as we took the game to Chelsea. Yet every time we broke, there was a wall of blue to somehow keep it out. There was Mendy, that magnificent man in orange, to pull of a series of worldies that had Bees fans so far off the edge of our seats we cold have been on the pitch with them. Willing the ball in and kicking every ball alongside.

When Christian Norgaard suddenly found room in stoppage time, his control and bicylce kick had an almost slow motion feel to them. Matrix style bullet time playing out around us as the Dane positioned himself, caught the ball on his chest and executed a quite wondrous strike with his back to goal. Yesssss!!!! 1-1. Nooooooooo….  There was Mendy to get an outstretched hand to it and push the ball on to the bar. An incredible effort and a save equal to it. A save better than any he had already pulled off and showing why there is such uproar at his lack of nomination for the Ballon d’Or .

It was intensity like none seen before. The team willed on by another vociferous Lionel Road crowd as we chased a game that had looked for so long like slipping away. Chelsea started this one with Brentford not even able to get close. Given no room to make space as the European Champions pinged it around with ease and snuffed out any attempt by the Bees to push forward as easily as blowing out a candle. We weren’t even second but then, as against Liverpool,  confidence arrived and we were in a game. Bryan hit the post in a crowded box when for a moment it seemed he would emulate Ethan in that previous home game. Immediately, Chelsea stormed down the other end for Romelu Lukaku to find the back of the net, only to be denied by the Lino’s flag. 

But with the game alive and Brentford, at times, feeling as though we were hanging in there, Chilwell was left unattended on the edge of the box and hammered one through a crowd of players, past the despairing dive of David Raya and into the back of the net. A thunderbolt shot and nothing that could be done the moment it left his boot. It had been coming. The visitors dominant in that opening period but never quite striding clear, until now. Referee Anthony Taylor beginning to earn the wrath of the home fans. Something that only escalated as the game progressed.

For those among us grateful at Keith Stroud missing out on promotion to the top flight, be careful what you wish for. Taylor was everything the Chelsea supporters had built him up to be and beyond. Ivan Toney in particular given zero protection from an official set to random. 

There are no words to describe how seemingly inept he was. Hey, perhaps things look different at pitch level. Likewise, the approach adopted by Chelsea to counter our second half resurgence. Next level shithousery with players tumbling like skittles and clocks being run down for fun. Actually, I’ve no complaints about any team trying this. It’s a facet to our game that until recently (how are those gloves, David?)  has been long missing and if the ref is going to be this spineless then why not do anything you can to disrupt the flow? 

What is more telling is the fact that the Champions of Europe and league leaders had no choice but to resort to his level of gamesmanship against us. Against Brentford. There was no wining by outplaying the opposition but more in grinding the game down. As Mrs Bruzon said afterwards, “I’ve never seen them have to do that.” Perhaps we don’t watch enough TV football or maybe MOTD airbrush the cynicism away. For me Clive, that’s the biggest mark of respect we could have earned.

Close but, in the end, no cigar. Bees fans are talking about how proud they are and, whilst that is true, I’m ultimately left with a huge feeling of what might have been. We should have had a point and the fact we were kept at bay after playing so well is about as frustrating as it comes. You don’t get anything for being plucky. For playing out of your skin. By having some dubious moral justification to have earned something. Instead, its balls in the back of the net that count and despite the clear heroics, Chilwell’s howitzer was the ultimate difference between the teams.

We’ll learn from it. The key thing now is how we take what we’ve done, bottle it and then uncork the stopper when Leicester City come to visit next week. Brentford WERE immense. There’s no point crying over spilt points. Instead, its about picking ourselves up and using that combination of perceived injustice and what we’ve achieved so far this season to go forward.

And if you need a yardstick as to how well we are doing, then we only have to check the results from earlier in the day. Of course, our last home game had been that titanic 3-3 with Liverpool. They were back in the capital (or its hinterlands) for a trip to Watford. That one ended with the visitors humping the Hornets 5-0. Mo Salah with the pick of the bunch, waltzing through the home defence, the ball tied to his foot with a piece of string.

So, yes. I am feeling hard done by this morning. It was a stunning game of football and one has to acknowledge who we were up against. Compared to Watford and Norwich who both finished above us in last season’s Championship, Brentford have so far looked the strongest by a country mile. So far. The season still has along way to go but if we carry on like this then things are going to be alright. Just as long as the injuries don’t bite…

Until then, here’s to Brentford. Here’s to the Champions of Europe. Here’s to a visit from Leicester City. Bring them on and see you there.

Bryan was denied by the post. Twice. This one in the second half

Nick Bruzon


7 Responses to “Bee keeper (outer) wins plaudits and game. What an evening at Lionel Road.”

  1. Brighton Bee October 17, 2021 at 7:45 am #

    Fully agree with all your comments Nick. I thought we laid off Chelsea too much in the first half and didn’t get in their faces. They were undoubtedly helped by a poor referee who made Keith Stroud look like a world class official. I think once we realised in the second half that we could get something out of the game we ramped up the pressure with a change of formation, substitutions and intensity so much so that Chelsea had to resort to feigning injury and time wasting at every opportunity, The referee assisted them in this by his total incompetence and where did he only get 4 minutes injury time from – clueless! So beaten but proud of what we achieved, taking the Champions of Europe all the way was no mean feat and should give everyone confidence for the rest of the season.

  2. JonathanBee October 17, 2021 at 9:40 am #

    Enjoyed your piece Nick.

    It has always been a complaint that referees in the Premier Leagues favour the bigger clubs. I can now see where they are coming from. There was no protection for Ivan and we were often penalised unnecessarily.
    Nevertheless, what a game! I wanted it to go on for ever even if we were never going to score.
    I just hope the team is not too disappointed by the failure to secure at least one point as it was the performance that mattered and what a performance!

  3. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) October 17, 2021 at 3:45 pm #

    It was always obvious that Referee Taylor would favour Chelsea after 80,000 people signed a petition to stop him from refereeing any Chelsea games. He needed to get back on their side. To curry favour. Chelsea are a huge presence politically in the Premier, and to be on the bad side of one who has so much power. Therefore, a little bus stop in Hounslow was to be the expendable one.

    We can be immensely proud after yesterdays game. We have played Arsenal, Liverpool, West Ham and Chelsea now, and only lost to one of them. We lost more games last season and this stage of the season, and look what happened in the end then.

    Yes we sat back a little, but when you have one of the best players in the world and World Cup Winner in Kante, orchestrating things in the middle, perfectly acommpanied by Kovacic and LoftusCheek, then we were always going to struggle. Our defence kept a £145m strike partnership look fairly ordinarily, with a free transfer frequently dealing with them with ease. Norgaard looked at the same level as Kante as he did with Fabinho previously, and a West Brom reject who came through the B team completely changed the run of the match.

    We can all hold our heads up high. I was just as proud of that performance as any of the previous 7 this season, and we are a great inspiration to the many clubs who played us 10 years or so ago, to say, you can do this too. It can be done.

  4. VeeBee October 17, 2021 at 3:56 pm #

    Stat of the moment must be Bryan Mbuemo leading on ‘hitting the woodwork’ in the Premiership – 6 times, nearest rivals on 2 apiece. Only a matter of time, Bryan ! Meanwhile, where was our talisman Wissa – not on the bench?

    • nickbruzon October 17, 2021 at 4:07 pm #

      Apparently Wissa took an ankle injury in training. Still doubtful for next week (if what I’ve heard is correct)

  5. Brighton Bee October 18, 2021 at 9:37 pm #

    Can I just add that the latest Sky/BT Sport and Amazon fixture changes are a complete farce. I know Brentford take their money but practically every December game has been changed to suit these greedy TV companies. I suspect as a result, many young families will not now be to attend some of the fixtures. Brighton away at 2000 on Boxing Day night is a complete joke of a fixture. I wonder what, if anything, Brentford are going to say about it??

    • hobbo October 23, 2021 at 3:46 pm #

      Rather play Hartlepool away in the fourth tier with a nice 3pm ko. NOT.

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