Tag Archives: 1-1

Brilliant Bonham helps Bees take point at Barnsley.

17 Apr

Barnsley 1 Brentford 1 . A game where we might have taken all three points yet equally, were it not for Jack Bonham making his Championship debut for the Bees, we may well have been returning to London empty handed. It’s a point which guarantees we finish above QPR and whilst Fulham may now be too far ahead to catch up with in the West London mini league, the opportunity to put a dent in their playoff campaign remains a very distinct possibility.

As ever, go to the BBC, Beesotted, Brentford official etc for your full fat match reports. High level talking points for this one were a very accomplished performance from Jack Bonham between the sticks, an injury for Lasse Vibe that saw him replaced very early by Sergi Canos, a missed penalty early in the second half from Jota (with the scores locked at one each) and a sweet finish from Flo Jo to level things up just before the interval.

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Captain Fantastic marshalls the troops during that injury break

It was a goal that was somewhat against the run of play in terms of chances created. As was the opener from Barnsley. Certainly, these were rare highlights in a relatively low key first period that was full of effort but no real breakthrough. It was one that gave no indication of what was to come after the players had gone in for their cuppa and the mascots had come out for their own personal battle.

This, a 45 yard dash that saw Toby Tyke beat Buzz Bee by a short head. Ironic, given the anthropomorphic dog’s oversized cranium. But size is no indication of quality and sadly, despite the dispute over who came first at Griffin Park back in October, this time there was no doubting the winner.

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Toby got the better of Buzz, this time

But whereas Buzz had gone down, both teams emerged reinvigorated with clear intent to end this one victorious. An early penalty awarded after handball saw Jota step up to send the ball goalwards. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Barnsley shot stopper Adam Davies doing sufficient to keep the ball out and break Brentford hearts. But from there it went crazy. Canos headed against the bar from point blank range. George Moncur almost broke the one in front of the Barnsley fans. With the home side seemingly under orders to shoot on sight, Bonham was equal to everything that came near him. One effort seeing the Brentford defence stretched thinner than a pair of cheap curtains before a certain goal was denied by the onrushing ‘keeper.

In the end, a draw was a fair result. It was sufficient to keep us above QPR (permanently) and still with that hope of running Fulham out on Saturday week. As for Barnsley, nothing but fairplay to them for what really was a cracking game of football. Both teams went for it from the off and really stepped up their game in the second period. This was no stroll in the bank holiday sunshine.

Additional kudos for our host’s work in the official match day programme. Whilst we have, quite rightly, praised Mark Chapman for his own work at Griffin Park this season one does wonder if he’d ever go to this level? Specifically, a refusal to recognise former player Sam Winnall who scored for Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday against the Tykes side he’d left in January.

Certainly, it puts a spin on A.Trialist…..

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Nick Bruzon

Gloves are off as rivalry with Birmingham City resumes

26 Nov

Saturday. Match day. Time to renew one of the more recent, but unlikely, rivalries. For Brentford supporters the likes of Fulham and QPR are, of course, the ones to get the blood pumping when it comes to those ‘must win’ games. Yet for those of us supporting a little longer, Birmingham City have more than given us a run for the money and some high stakes battles over the years.

1990-91 saw us go head-to-head in an epic Leyland DAF Southern zone semi with the Blues. Having already disposed of them in the FA Cup second round, Brentford could have fancied themselves as knock out football favourites. But with Wembley beckoning ,  there are no prizes for working out who eventually won both legs to record a  3-1 aggregate win.

The 91-92 Third Division title race famously saw things go our way in the final game of the season as Huddersfield Town and Gary Blissett ‘did the needful’ at Peterborough. A moment made all the sweeter by Saint & Greavsie having already used their Saturday morning show to congratulate Birmingham on being champions.

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View from the terrace – Deano and Terry celebrate promotion at Peterborough

Things weren’t so sweet the following season as the Blues just edged past us in the battle to be named the least bad of our respective sides. Both teams fought a desperate, and in our case doomed, battle against relegation from Division One (now the Championship) with that final game humbling at Bristol City being enough to sink the Bees and save the Blues.

However, the coup de grâce was delivered in 1994-95 where, thanks to the joys of Premiership restructuring, there was only one automatic promotion place to the Championship available. With both teams neck and neck at the top, one game stood out like a sore thumb on the fixture list. For months in advance the trip to St. Andrews, only three games before the denouement of the camapign, was the one we all thought would be the crunch match.

Sure enough, it was. In the pressure cooker atmosphere of a packed stadium, where a win for Brentford would have made it all but mathematically impossible for even us to stuff things up, it was The Blues who came out on top with a 2-0 win. To this day, I’ve been unable to watch half-time guest of honour Jasper Carrott. I’d love to blame psychological scarring from that result but, in fact, it’s more just his material. Ahhh, insurance claims.(kids, ask your dads).

Oh well, despite defeat at least we were still in the play-offs…..

And that then, three seasons ago, something wonderful happened. Brentford returned to what is now the  Championship. With it, a chance to deliver some pay league back. Finally. Yet whilst our own campaigns at this level have seen wonderful finishes of 5th, 9th and the Bees currently five points off the play-offs, Birmingham have been somewhat of a bogey team. A solitary point from our four encounters to date being the best we’ve had to show for it  – that, a 1-1 back in August 2014 .

So which way will it go today? Money where the mouth is – a Brentford win. Gut reaction was to call it 1-1 in a match preview for the Birmingham Mail yesterday but, I’ve been thinking more and more about this. For me, this has the look of a gritty game played out between two sides with rock solid defences. Yet, at the same time, I think it will have goals in it. Three to be precise. With the Bees coming out on top by 2-1. Lasse, Scott and, for the visitors, a certain Mr Donaldson.

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Clayton – a Brentford legend

Yes, the other highlight of today (not counting the free chili in The Hive) is the chance to see Clayton back at Griffin Park.

Always a hugely popular figure, even to this day, he’s a Brentford legend whose goals helped fire us to promotion and earn the chance to take on the likes of Birmingham once more. Of course, there’ll be no pleasantries when action begins (although hopefully fans will show him the respect due) but I’m sure I won’t be alone in feeling a pang of fondness for the big man when he’s out there.

As a final note, a quick follow up to yesterday’s piece in regards to Rainbow Laces weekend. Fans may already be aware of the special match day programme on sale in/around the ground whilst Captain Harlee Dean (who also gives an exclusive on his ‘coming of age’ and life at Griffin Park) has already been photographed with a special armband.

Fans expecting to see him sporting that one on match day may be disappointed. Infact, the rainbow captain’s armband is a promotional item and it is expected that regular versions will be used at the games this weekend.

Indeed, Stonewall have told clubs that they understand that players might not want to change their laces for a game. Instead, players can show and document their support in other ways, such as Harlee did in such wonderful fashion on Thursday.

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Harley Dean shows his support

I can fully get behind that. We all have our match day kit jinxes, rituals and comfort factors – magic pants, lucky shirt, the ragged old scarf from the 70s that all go towards Brentford winning. I was devastated when the lucky ‘spiderman’ undergarments went to that great bin in the sky. For the players, I can only imagine the importance of kit, footwear, boots and laces that they are familiar with is tenfold to that of us on the terrace.

Whichever way they are dressed, here’s hoping for a great game and the right result. It’s been a long time coming. 62 years, to be precise. Looking at the BBC preview this morning I was shocked to see the last time Brentford beat Birmingham in a league fixture at Griffin Park being a 2-0 back in March 1954. Top scorer Frank Dudley adding further to his tally with both goals on that day.

Perhaps time to look to history and revise that bet? 2-0 Brentford with Scott Hogan scoring is 22/1. Then again, the earlier 2-1 /scorers prediction comes in at a very handsome 177/1. On second thoughts, knowing my betting history spare coins will probably better spent on the aforementioned match day programme instead.

I wouldn’t want to jinx the team….

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Nick Bruzon

Call off the annihilation. Aston Villa to pack it in and fold after failing to beat pub team

15 Sep

Well that’s not a bad few days work. Brentford pulled it back to draw 1-1 with Aston Villa in a game which, arguably, the Bees can end up feeling disappointed not to have won. Certainly, based on a final ten minutes of frenetic pressure that built to a dazzling crescendo and almost an additional two points. Coming hot on the heels of Saturday’s win at Brighton, Dean Smith can probably allow himself an extra portion of coco pops this morning as reward for a job well done.

It was a point which was all the sweeter for having run the gauntlet of pre (and post) match abuse from a section of Villa home fans on social media. Da kidz giving it large from the safety of their keyboards is not uncommon these days but how delicious when it blows back at them.

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In truth, it wasn’t a classic in terms of end to end action.

Wonderful though the atmosphere and surroundings were (nobody could deny how impressive a stadium Villa Park is with the TV doing her scant justice), on the field of play we had two teams who cancelled each other out as chances were, what we will politely call, limited .

The flip side to this being that the annihilation predicted yesterday by the Birmingham Mail failed to materialise.

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Villa Park – prior to kick off. Annihilation imminent. Possibly

Villa played a largely turgid brand of football, especially in the second half, that Brentford weren’t quite able to rise above. In midfield Nico seemed a touch quieter than normal, Romaine Sawyers would perhaps benefit from a break on Saturday whilst I was surprised to see the positive Josh Clarke replaced. The supply to Scott Hogan was limited yet we were never outclassed in a game that, for the neutrals (should there have been any), struggled to really get going.

Alternatively you could argue that Villa, as the home side and hot favourites, were unable to break down the Bees. That they were locked out. Yet those are the standards we now set ourselves and the point that expectation levels have risen to as we start a third season in the Championship. Other teams underestimate Brentford at their peril whereas we know the peaks we can reach.

That’s not to say Brentford didn’t compete. Far from it. We bossed the game for large periods but having fallen behind to a rare moment of genius from the home side it looked as thought things would stay 1-0. Jonathan Kodjia’s exquisitely struck shot after 20 minutes, curling into the far corner through a crowded box, would have beaten just about any goalkeeper on the planet and was a rare moment of quality in a stop-start first half.

Yet despite chances remaining few and far between the Bees kept going and, as the visiting support began to crank up the noise (a lengthy rendition of Oldham’s song standing out in particular), you got the feeling that all was not lost. Sure enough, in that wonderful period known as Jota time, John Egan was able to drive the ball over the line following great work in the build up from Sullay Kaikai.

The Bees fans erupted. The Villa faithful fled. Melting away like ice in the sun as the proverbial fire drill took hold. But wait; there’s more. Almost. Oh, had it come ten minutes earlier. With Villa reeling, the Bees pressed desperately for a knock out blow.

It would have been a thrilling denouement but, alas, wasn’t to be. The game finished one apiece but Brentford can be proud to have come away from such illustrious surroundings with at least a point.

Even the pre and post match diversions around Birmingham couldn’t dampen spirits. The high of managing to swerve the M6 gridlock on the way in was somewhat tempered by the coach driver’s realisation (as we almost ran aground on a countryside canal bridge) that ‘his boss’ had programmed the post code for the Aston Villa training ground rather than Villa Park into the sat nav. I’m genuinely not sure if his subsequent question of, “Does anybody actually know where we are going?” was meant tongue-in-cheek or seriously.

What else can you say? It wasn’t a classic but Brentford more than held their own. Who amongst us, being honest, wouldn’t have taken four points form a possible six prior to away games with Brighton and Aston Villa?

Not bad for a shower of sh*t pub side.

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Bees fans celebrate the equaliser in palatial surroundings

Nick Bruzon

Bees snatch draw from the jaws of unlikely victory

28 Aug

That’s five games against Sheffield Wednesday since Brentford ascended to the Championship and still the Bees are to record anything more than a draw against the Owls. Yet we’ll never have a better chance than yesterday after entering injury time 1-0 up despite having spent huge swathes of the game under the cosh, survived wave after wave of pressure and seen some glaring misses.

With Wednesday fans already calling the police to report the proverbial robbery, Sam Hutchinson stole in to grab a late, late headed equaliser from an injury time free kick. On chances created by the visitors it was probably a deserved result but chances count for jack if you don’t put them away. Instead, it was Brentford who ended the game feeling bitter disappointment after coming so close to making it three wins from three games at Griffin Park with no goals conceded.

The first half was woeful from the Bees. No question. Even Dean Smith was honest enough in his post match assessment to admit, “We were very, very poor…. If somebody had offered me a point at half-time I would have ripped their hands off, but we are disappointed to concede so late in the game.

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View from the New Road – the memo about managerial uniform had been received

Highlight of the first half was the incredible miss by Lucas João. Just yards out and unmarked in front of the goal, the back of the net was at his mercy as a Fernando Foristieri pass found its way past Brentford goalkeeper Daniel Bentley. If ever you needed the dictionary definition of open goal then this was it. Yet, somehow, after making a couple of stabs at the ball the Wednesday striker somehow managed to hoof it clear of the bar.

One Ealing Road observer, standing directly behind the goal, would later remark that he was going back to Church because the Virgin birth was more believable than that miss. It was THAT bad.

If the Wednesday fans would end the game feeling as though they were being robbed, this was a case of Brentford very much getting away with murder. Defensively speaking. Strigiformicide?

Yet the Bees had to thank Bentley as much as João for keeping us in the game. A series of fine saves, including one stunner from a Nico Yennaris header, ensured we ended the first half level. And from there, things changed.

Lasse Vibe showed just how important it is to follow up on a backpass. Wednesday ‘keeper Kieren Westwood had been put under unnecessary pressure by his own defence fannying around in the sunshine instead of clearing it forward. The subsequent hurried clearance he was forced to make was charged down by the great Dane and bounced straight back into the net to give the Bees the lead.

It was a goal neither knew too much about but, at the same time, a reward for putting in that run at the ‘keeper. So often a futile move yet one which can pay off every now and again. Likewise, it heralded a return of everybody’s favourite chant.  “It’s all your fault, It’s aaallll yourrr fault” ringing around the home end.

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The second half saw us outmuscle our opponents more

With the game adopting a more even feel, and Wednesday then reduced to ten men following a second yellow card to David Jones (for dissent), surely there would be only one winner? Surely….

But no. Brentford seemed content to keep their somewhat unwieldy shape and rather than press for the winner, sit on the lead. This is never a great strategy, moreso with the Bees also down to ten men late on. Lasse Vibe being the recipient of refereeing justice after a somewhat innocuous coming together with Foristieri saw the Brentford man receive his second yellow with just minutes left on the clock.

With Wednesday having nothing to lose they went for it. And this time Hutchinson’s header, and a point, was their reward as the game ended 1-1.

Ryan Woods and Dan Bentley again provided the highlights for Brentford. The former was everywhere whilst our new goalkeeper has, once more, shown just why so many teams were after him in the summer. His performance was one that Sky Sports would describe as “A succession of breathtaking saves.” The highlights package shows just how well he did. Along with that miss.

Mark Burridge works more magic on the mic

Dean Smith appears to have have adopted a total reverse of substitution philosophy compared to previous seasons. In days gone by, three changes made in the 60 -70 minute ‘zone’ were a footballing routine as predictable as Arsene Wenger subsequently claiming to have missed a penalty incident or West Ham’s new stadium being mentioned. This, no matter how good or bad we’d been up until that point.

Now, he seems intent on running his players into the ground. I’m sure he’d argue that is part of building a solid, settled team and whilst I can respect that, why persist so long when by his own admission we’d been very, very poor?  Konstantin Kerschbaumer in particular, who had such a fine end to last campaign, must be desperate to get out there.

Outside of the game itself, plus points from the afternoon also included the new look gantry. Whilst we’ve all had our two-penneth worth on the way the upgraded structure was (or wasn’t) announced to the world, it’s welcome to see just how quickly the club have since reacted. Fair play to them and the team at BIAS (who I understand have been involved in discussion) for making what changes we could in such a short space of time.

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View from the Braemar – the upgraded gantry now visible

On personal note, I’d also like to offer huge THANKS to all those involved at Brentford for their help in making sure my son had such a wonderful afternoon as team mascot. He was made nothing but welcome by everybody involved  – from Malcolm in the match-day team all the way through to Dean Smith, the players and even Wednesday mascot Lucy. It really was a wonderful treat and the attention of everybody showed yet again, as if any reminder were required, what a wonderful family club we have.

Sam Saunders has, I’m afraid to say, now been pushed into second place as his favourite player. It was 90 minutes of “Where’s Harlee?” and “Come on Harlee!” as our captain has now become his new number one.

Harlee – if you are reading (who knows?) then an extra big thanks from Harry and dad.

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The new defensive line up still needs work

Nick Bruzon

The two most beautiful words in footballing parlance are back.

18 Aug

There are just two words to mention today for Brentford fans. You’d be forgiven for thinking these are Leeds and Barnsley. This, after their respective 90th minute goals in the latest round of fixtures denied three points for Fulham and turned a plucky away draw into a glorious defeat for QPR. You could even have Shane Duffy in mind after the Blackburn defender has endured what could be politely called a ’torrid’ a start to the season. But you’d be wrong. For me, it’s all about the most beautiful piece of alliteration in the English language…. Terrace Talk.

Yes, football’s most brilliant feature is back. And this time Sean Ridley is in charge.

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What, if we’re being honest, began life with a few teething issues as everybody got used to the format quickly became Griffin Park’s most hotly anticipated piece of videotape. Forget Mark Burridge losing the plot (in the best sense) on the Sunday highlights, what we secretly all loved was Jo Tilley going rogue with the mic and asking Brentford fans those most random of Bees related questions.

Then, against Ipswich Town for the season opener, it was gone. Despite the assurance from Mark Devlin that we would be seeing the return of Terrace Talk, there was nothing. Nothing.

Fortunately this was only a temporary absence. The relief was palpable in TW8 as this most hotly anticipated five minutes of fan footage reappeared yesterday. With a new host. None other than Sean Ridley. Brentford’s video whizkid and part time Alex Pritchard body double is back in front of the mic.

Sadly, Jo has moved on but with Sean having already proven his abilities in a one off guest slot last season, we know that the TT baton has been safely passed. And sure enough, within 90 seconds, it would be fair to say that nothing has changed. A black and white montage in tribute to Jo’s work kicked off 2016/17 in style.

Who doesn’t love a montage? Cinema’s favourite means of showing new skills being acquired or progress made in a short frame of time. Preferably to a stirring soundtrack. The training sequence from Rocky IV, a double montage with compare and contrast training methods, being my all time favourite of course. But this one is no exception.

Come for Terrace Talk. Stay for Drago and Rocky

This (Jo, not Sylvester Stallone) was instantly followed by Sean’s first interviewees of the season all being Reading fans so having no Brentford memories whatsoever. Jamie who now? Move along, nothing to talk about here.

To give anymore away would be to ruin it. Suffice to say that whilst I’ll miss Jo, Terrace Talk has lost none of the spirit which she filled it with. Why not check it out now?

Sean Ridley does his thing. wonderfully 

The other football news from yesterday involved the latest round of Championship fixtures. A late winner for Barnsley at home to QPR stopped the visitors dead in their tracks after winning the opening two games of the season. Shame. With Fulham also being pegged back at Leeds United on Tuesday night, it means the play-off zone already has a very interesting look.

Whilst, of course, it is far too early to gain any significant meaning I’d rather be where we are in the table than down at the bottom end. The Bees are already six points closer to safety and two points clear of where Marinus had taken us this time last season.

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The BBC table doesn’t lie (Although will tell a more accurate story after 10 games)

But if QPR fans feel upset at missing out on any points then perhaps they, and we, should all spare a thought for Blackburn Rovers. They’d already lost their first two home games of the season , with defender Shane Duffy further adding to their woes by scoring an own goal in the 3-0 loss at Wigan on Saturday. But that was a mere drop in the ocean compared to last night.

Not one, but two more own goals followed for Duffy as Rovers went down 2-1 at Cardiff City. Then, to compound the ignimony, he received a last minute second yellow to see red and take a slightly earlier bath than his team mates.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. No matter how bad Brentford fans think things might be at times, there’s always somebody worse off.

For now though, lets just enjoy the fact that we’re one point off the top. Could results go our way at the weekend? Might we head up the West London mini league?

Roll on the trip to Rotherham when we can find out. Until then, I might go and watch Terrace Talk once more.

Farewell Jo and good luck in the future. TT is in safe hands.

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Jo – Queen of the TT ‘walk and talk’

Nick Bruzon

The Juggernaut v the Oil Tanker awaits as Bees take on Ipswich

8 Apr

It only seems like five minutes ago that Brentford couldn’t buy a win yet now we have the chance to make it three on the spin with the trip to Ipswich Town imminent. Victories at Nottingham Forest (3-0) and then home to Bolton (3-1) have surely crushed those lingering relegation doubts as morale has soared.

In his press conference on Thursday Dean Smith made all the right noises about the huge boost these results had been whilst giving an update on the current injury situation. With our Head Coach confirming that John Swift and Leandro Rodriguez (amongst others) will both miss out again through injury, I really can’t see any changes to the team that started so brightly against Bolton on Tuesday night.

Given that  the Bees did, if we’re being honest, allow Wanderers back into a game where a stronger team would have punished us in the second half, there can be no room for any let up this time around. Ipswich are still pushing for the play-off spot that they also made last season and you can be sure Mick McCarthy will be expecting three points from his team.

Last season’s encounter at Portman Road finished in a 1-1 draw, notable for Daryl Murphy somehow missing an unmissable goal for the home side when all he had to do was tap it into the gaping net. It was an effort described afterwards by Mick Mills and his local radio commentary team as: “Breathtaking. It will go into the top ten all time misses. If you can find ten worse ones I’d like to see them.”

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BBC FLS viewers saw Murphy set to pounce. And fail (for once)

Murphy remains leading scorer for Ipswich this season although will miss out this time round as he his still suffering with a knock picked up on international duty.  Despite ‘that miss’ this should really be seen as a boost for the Bees although, of course, we still have the prospect of lining up against Jonathan Douglas once more.

The thought of seeing him facing off to Alan McCormack in midfield is a delicious one. Goliath v Goliath. The Juggernaut v the Oil Tanker. No prisoners will be taken whilst, of course,  there was the incident at the end of our clash at Griffin Park this season.

Back in August, we opened proceedings at home to Ipswich as the Marinus era kicked off with such optimism. Then it all went South as the game started with Andre Gray on the bench, the pitch turned into that infamous minefield and Ipswich cruised into a two goal lead either side of half time. We didn’t even see Macca take on Dougie as our man went off 6 minutes before the former Bee came on.

From that point though, things went a bit bonkers. Andre pulled one back in Jota time before James Tarkowski sent the crowd wild with a 96th minute equaliser. Dougie still had time to accidentally (I’m sure) stand on Jota’s foot and spanner him for the next few months. Indeed, there was an exchange at full time where eagle-eyed Bees Player viewers caught sight of Douglas swinging an arm at the Spanish hero.

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Bees Player viewers saw Dougie appear to give Jota a ‘girly slap’.

Will that be water under the bridge now or will the memory linger? I’m sure the former, if for no other reason than Jota has (sadly) moved back to Spain ‘on loan’ whilst Dean Smith will no doubt have drilled the importance for discipline into his team. Regardless, the fans are likely to remind Dougie of this incident whilst the battle with Macca, regardless of anything that had gone before, will alway be a fascinating one.

That said, what do I know? Listening to the latest Beesotted podcast on the way to work this morning it was very interesting to hear the views of Town supporter Harry ‘from Bath’. Of course, come for the views of Billy (Grant), Sav, Matt, Dave and terrace wag Gemma Teale but stay for Harry’s insight. You’ll find that part just after the hour…

Another point of note from Dean’s press conference was his observation that, “Historically the pitch at Portman Road has always been fantastic so hopefully it will be the same and we can play some of our football.” Nobody needs any reminding about the state of the Griffin Park pitch at the start of this season and the huge holes that began to appear where it seems that somebody had forgotten that all important point of letting the turf bed in.

With the Bees confidence returning and the side being encouraged to run at their opponents, it will be fascinating to see what we can now do on a level playing field.

Whether in the stands at Portman Road or alongside Billy Reeves on Bees Player, on Saturday afternoon we find out.

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Bru celebrated (too early) as Ipswich opened the scoring last time

Nick Bruzon

Does Madonna know you’re here? Super Sammy does it again.

27 Jan

Oh Sammy Saunders, you are the love of my life. Oh Sammy Saunders, I’d let you…”. etc etc etc.   That’s plenty. You know the rest and this is a family publication. Yet full tribute is due to the ever popular winger who played a starring role as Brentford drew 1-1 with Leeds United at Griffin Park last night in the ultimate game of two halves.

That goal . Oh, that goal. Those watching in the stadium erupted. Those listening in at home on Bees Player, well I don’t know what they did but I can imagine. Picking up the ball close to the half way line, he ran at Leeds. And ran.

Like a modern day Forrest Gump (except enjoyable) nobody could stop Sam as the United defence parted like the Red Sea. And then, when he’d had more time to think about it than anybody wants or needs, he blasted it home into the bottom corner.

Charging straight through on the middle of goal is one of the hardest things to do – certainly in terms of a finish. Just ask Clayton. Much as I loved the big man, he was so much deadlier cutting in from the side or acting on instinct rather than given time to look into the whites of the goalkeeper’s eyes.

Yet Sam made no mistake and gave Brentford a deserved first half lead. His link up play with Max Colin down the right flank saw the Bees at their most dangerous as possession was dominated but goals failed to arrive.

And it was his removal from play, along with the arrival of Toumani Diagouraga on the hour, that saw the balance really shift. Leeds pushed and pushed as they were allowed into the game with Brentford unable to penetrate in the gusty conditions. Being fair, the visitors probably deserved their equaliser with the only surprise being that Toums didn’t get it (much to the relief of the bookies).

That it came from a very rare defensive lapse is almost a moot point. That’s football. These things happen and, ultimately, had we wanted the win then you need goals.

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Toumani makes his debut at Griffin Park as Steve Evans looks perplexed

Yoann Barbet had received glowing reports for his work at Preston on Saturday. Those who saw him in action last night for the first time could only agree. A few days ago I made some hard comments about, amongst other things, the strength of the team relative to last season. I stand by those yet, along with Maxime Colin, Yoann is looking like a fantastic acquisition from the new crop.

Calm, assured and oozing confidence. Tackles under pressure were made with a minimum of fuss and it felt as thought he’d been sitting alongside Harlee for months rather than just a few days.

Fair play to Josh McEachran, too. I though he had his best game in a Brentford shirt by a country mile. The midfield axis with Ryan Woods gives great hope for the future, if they can do this again.

John Swift remains a ball of confusion. For every deft touch and little shimmy was a ball into touch or a missed pass but, in the end, it was one of the old guard – Sam Saunders – who pulled the strings. I’m so pleased for him, too. Regular readers of these pages will know of my own admiration for our longest serving player as Sam showed, yet again, how dangerous a team can be when you run forward with the ball.

We even got a return to ‘Saunders Territory’ as everyone’s favourite number 7 (seven) briefly resumed free kick duties from Alan Judge. That said, I do have to ask what is going on with our ‘dead ball’ coach? Despite more walls than an ice cream shop we failed to find the back of the net. Just give it to Sammy and let him whack it.

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Bees 2 Leeds 2. The score in defensive walls

As for Steve Evans, it would be remiss not to talk about a visit from the ever popular Leeds manager. The Ealing Road were at their most vocal with the larger than life character (I said it was a family publication) being on the business end of most chants.

Does McDonalds know you’re here?” went one. I’m not sure if it was any better than the misheard equivalent that one terrace observer just behind me thought was being sung.

Why on earth would Madonna know he’s here?” was one question I never thought I’d hear asked. Worse, the mental imagery it then conjured up.

Some things are, perhaps, left in the dark recesses of the mind.

Nick Bruzon

Leeds Untied as Brentford keep them at bay. Again

13 Sep

Happy with that? Brentford picked up another point at Leeds United in a game (1-1) they could, arguably, have emerged triumphant from. Mind you, whilst Marinus gave a post match interview with BBC Billy in which he praised the Bees and seemed disappointed by ‘only’ a draw, I’m sure Uwe Rösler would have felt the same. The former Brentford boss reflecting, “The last 25-30 minutes we battered them in a football sense and could have won the game.”

Uwe . Once a Bee, now at Leeds

Uwe . Once a Bee, now at Leeds

Well Uwe, you could have but you didn’t. And not for the first time. I saw an interesting stat on the BBC that noted Leeds United have only scored two goals against us in five matches, failing to win any of them in a run that stretches back to the 2009-10 season and League One.

Indeed, it is 7(seven) points out of a possible 9 in less than 12 months for the Bees, following our 2-0 win at Griffin Park in late September 2014 and the 1-0 triumph at Elland Road back in February. Not bad for a team that have been frequently referred to in the past, by certain elements of the opposition support, as some sort of tinpot outfit.

Our tinpot holds 11 points out of the last 15 against Leeds

Our tinpot holds 9 points out of the last 15 against Leeds

As ever, if you want the full match report then the BBC, Beesotted, the official site or Sky Sports (who also had first crack at the video highlights) are the places to go. Otherwise, the official site now has their own version up on YouTube. The ever wonderful Mark Burridge providing comms and excitement, with Mark Chapman the club’s deputy head of media and communications (rather than a shock transfer from 5live) on ‘sidekick’ duties.

Mark Burridge – could make paint drying sound exciting

What we do need to note here is that it’s the first time this season that Brentford have scored the opener rather than having to come from behind (as happened against Ipswich Town, Bristol City, Burnley and Reading).

Of course, this was no different to last season where we seemed to have a knack of conceding the first goal, rather than scoring it. The Bees had an identical record then before finally ending that hoodoo fifth time around, against Rotherham.

On Saturday, Marco Djuricin was the man to break the deadlock, scoring on his Brentford debut after great work and a delightful ball from Alan Judge. He almost made it two, denied only by the post after Lasse Vibe picked up a somewhat wayward clearance from Leeds ‘keeper Marco Silvestri. But it wasn’t just these two efforts.

After the somewhat lacklustre and shot shy performance on our previous away trip, to Burnley, this was a team who have remembered the way to goal. Even if they did only find it the once.

As for Leeds, their equaliser was one we have seen before. A clearance out from the goalkeeper combined with midfield faffery.

Debutant Ryan Woods, only on the pitch for two minutes, has taken full ownership, and had the finger pointed at him. Fair enough, it happens. That said, with a player bearing down on the new boy, was this really the best ball out to him from the goalkeeper? Or is the midfielder solely responsible?

Ryan Woods holds up his hands

Ryan Woods holds up his hands

I hate to sound critical. David Button is an absolutely a fantastic ‘keeper and I wouldn’t swap him for anybody in the division. Indeed, at just 26 could the national side still beckon? It’s just a tad frustrating given it’s not as though we haven’t been caught like this several times before.

This is small complaint though. And as has been noted, Leeds were only the width of a post away from similar at the other end. Instead, what I really take from this game is a goal conceded by an unfortunate mistake rather than players going awol or huge holes being carved through our defence. Likewise, a much more positive performance in front of the opposition goal.

Next for the Bees are a few days together up North before heading over to Middlesbrough for Tuesday night’s game at the Riverside. Nobody said Championship life would get any easier second time around. I’m just loving the fact we have the chance to really test ourselves.

Marinus has his new look squad together and learning more about themselves on – and off – the pitch. Fingers crossed we can pick up against Middlesbrough from where we left off here.

Nick Bruzon

New pitch and TV cameras await Reading and QPR at Brentford

27 Aug

In the most expected piece of news since the sale of Andre Gray was confirmed, the announcement has been made that Brentford’s game with QPR has been moved to the evening of Friday 30th October. And, it seems, we have a pitch in place for the visit of Reading this weekend although, of course, whether it gets the seal of approval from Steve Clarke is another thing altogether.

Will the pitch pass muster?

Will the pitch pass muster?

So. Our first game with QPR since a 1-1 draw at Griffin Park back in February 2004 will now take place on the evening of Friday 30th October. Given the local police presence required for the following day’s rugby World Cup final at Twickenham this was only ever gong to happen. Moreso, given the lure that such a game would have held for the Sky TV camera who have also exercised their option to broadcast this one.

Aside from the ‘official site’ being mathematically challenged / supporter pedantry (delete as applicable), bringing it forwards nineteen and quarter hours does, instantly, destroy all chance of Halloween horror headlines. But it’s a small price to pay.

So, a 3pm kick off on Friday then?

So, a 3pm kick off on Friday then?

Who doesn’t enjoy a game played under the new look Griffin Park Floodlights? Moreso, one against our closest rivals with a mere 5.2 miles (that’s about an hour on the 237 bus, using London Transport timings) between TW8 and Loftus Road.

Last season saw the home game with Fulham played in the same time slot and that all ended rather well for the Bees, thanks to Harlee Dean’s piledriver and then Jota ‘doing his thing’ in the last minute. We won’t even talk about the away game, yet, suffice to say it still brings a smile to the face thinking about the 4-1 hammering.

Jota - his winner against Fulham at Griffin Park was quite exciting

Jota – his televised winner against Fulham at Griffin Park was quite exciting

These local games are certainly the ones we love to win and hate to lose. We’ve got four of them this time around and I’m already getting excited about the approach of this first encounter with QPR in over a decade.

This is, of course, assuming we have a pitch to play it on (which might not be a stupid a comment as it might have sounded a month ago). That said, those of us living in the TW8 vicinity saw the floodlights burning long into the late evening as work in laying the Motz turf has now been completed.

Certainly, @JamieCrosby24 has been the man, if not on the ground, then the one loitering just outside it. He has kept Twitter updated with covert photographs and up to the minute updates, before finally advising at just after 9pm last night that “the final touches are (being) carried out.”

Jamie has kept Brentford fans updated all week

Jamie has kept Brentford fans updated all week

So Reading have somewhere to play. Referee Andrew Madley has a pitch that he can inspect. Marinus is expected to take training on the new surface this Friday. Steve Clarke might even smile. Perhaps.

I can understand Clarke’s nervousness and concern. The pictures following the Ipswich Town and Oxford United games were somewhat terrifying. However, the necessary remedial action has been taken and we now have to hope/ trust that the Motz turf does what it is supposed to between now and Saturday.

Like Fulham and QPR, a game with Reading is another that falls into the ‘local’ bracket. There are sure to be a good 1800 fans piling up the M4 for this one and it promises to be a cracking atmosphere. Last season saw a Jota inspired 3-1 victory over the Royals and Brentford fans will be hoping for more of the same as we consign the disappointment of Burnley to the waste bin of history.

There are sure to be more than a few people watching the on pitch action this weekend. And, for once, not just the men in red and white.

As ever at Griffin Park, Saturday could be interesting.

Nick Bruzon

Damp squibs, no bangers and dressing room fireworks

12 Apr

So that’s what it feels like to be mugged. Brentford were denied three vital points at Derby County yesterday after Darren Bent’s 92nd minute equaliser levelled things up in a game we could have won by a country mile. But with Birmingham City beating Wolves at St. Andrews (where the rumoured sausage protest failed to materialise) and Ipswich Town only just edging past Blackpool, opportunity still remains directly within our hands to reach the play offs.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

Sky viewers see Jeff Hendrick 'shoot' as Darren Bent gets into position

Sky viewers see Jeff Hendrick ‘shoot’ as Darren Bent gets into position

Clem waits at Preston for another draw

Clem waits at Preston for another draw