Tag Archives: 1-2

Visitors inflict more pain as the record continues.

25 Nov

Brentford 1 Middlesbrough 2. What can you say? Bogey team? Curse of the cameras? That there was never any hope against a side we’ve not beaten in the league since a 2-1 win at Griffin Park back in December 1938? Or just an awkward game where, once more, a flurry of goals conceded in a short space of time (two in five, second-half, minutes) saw the result put beyond reach and the post Dean Smith era now see us with a record of P6 L5. With play-off chasing Sheffield United to visit on Tuesday, it is a record that is only going to come under further scrutiny.

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View from the Braemar – Henrik attacks

It had all started so promisingly. Even before kick-off, five-year old Harry had put possibly the biggest football-related smile on my face that’s been there in a while when he turned to Mrs. Bruzon over lunch and said, “Mummy. The best thing you can do this afternoon is watch it on TV. Because when you come to the ground, we lost”. It was a point he reiterated outside the clubshop at 5pm – both times, totally unprompted. He’s brave, I’ll give him that. Mrs. B (whose record isn’t, quite, that bad) duly stayed away. Sadly, it made no difference.

The first half was as cagey as a caged tiger watching the collected works of Nicolas Cage on video. Frankly, something that would have been infinitely more entertaining than a frustrating opening period where Moses Odubajo running for an impromptu toilet break was the highlight for many. Certainly, the subsequent song that broke out from the Ealing Road. He whatswhere he wants?  Yet aside from the relieved number 2 taking aim from distance with an effort that Middlesbrough goalkeeper Darren Randolph had to push over, I don’t recall much else from the first half. It was just that low key an opening period with the visitors coming close-ish a couple of times but never, truly, leaving us with fear of the net bulging.

Instead, with the referee offering little protection, it was a case of trying to out-play the wall of muscle in front of us. With the stats all heavily weighted in our favour, it was an attempt that would prove futile in the one that truly counts – goals scored – as the teams went in for their half tea and a wee with the game goalless.

And then it began. 55 minutes gone, 0-0. 61 minutes gone, 0-2. The first goal given away down the left where despite questions about offside being asked, the Bees were sliced open with a combination of passes that allowed Jordan Hugill a tap in that even Ian Moose might have finished off. Scored rather than eaten, for the record. Five minutes later the lead was doubled when the Brentford defence allowed Marcus Tavernier all the time and space needed to direct his downward header past a diving Daniel Bentley. Game over, man. Game over.

To be fair, it was the kick up the backside we needed. The Bees pushed and pressed. Thomas Frank changed his team around. The momentum built. This was more like it. This was the Brentford we know and love. Alan Judge, who had a great game, pulled one back with a quarter of an hour remaining.  His goal a beauty as he drilled a low diagonal shot through a crowd and past goalkeeper Randolph. From a short corner. A short. Corner. This is not a drill. This is not a typo.

The words “Don’t take it short, it never blinkin’ works” hadn’t even emerged fully formed from my mouth before the usual exhortation was changed quite miraculously into a lungbusting scream of GOOOOAAALLLLL!!

Oh. My. Word. We’d seen one. It actually happened. This most maligned of set-pieces had actually worked. Moreso, the first goal Tony Pulis’s team have let in from a corner this season by all accounts.  Could it be? Was this THE sign that the Middlesbrough hoodoo was about to be lifted?

With the reinvigorated Bees chasing a point, former player George Saville put in an appearance for Middlesbrough. His presence was barely felt. Frankly, he could have dropped his trousers and he’d have made more of an impression. Instead, Brentford continued. Sergi Canos came close. Breaking through a crowded defence he perhaps snatched at it before the referee could blow his whistle. But Mr. Brooks wasn’t giving anything, to either team and perhaps, with the obvious benefit of hindsight, there was an extra touch available to be taken.  

Likewise Josh Da Silva came close. His own shot from distance forcing Randolph into a full length save. It was a moment that had the crowd gasping but was about as close as we would get. Instead, Middlesbrough had the wherewithal to close this one out and secure all three points. Points that, on the evidence of what played out, only the most churlish could have denied them. And it hurts to say it but their finishing when presented the space in that five-minute period was, ultimately, what decided the game. From that moment on Brentford were playing catch up and it was a race too far.

No sour grapes from yours truly. No whinging. We’re off the boil at present, that’s for sure, although I’m not sure I can put my finger on just why.  I have no doubt it WILL come good again whilst I’d also point to the performance of Alan Judge alongside josh and Emilian Marcondes from the bench as highlights. Chris Mepham had a bizarre rush of blood to the head just towards the end which earned him a yellow and, with a more Stroud-esque referee, could have been worse.

Sheffield United are next up. It’ll be interesting to see it Thomas restores captain Romaine Sawyers. Whether Josh Da Silva has done enough to earn himself a first start. How he toughens up the defence. Just how we fair against a side containing a pair of centre-backs and a reserve goalkeeper we know very well indeed.

No doubt Jack O’Connell, John Egan and Simon Moore will have a point to prove. Then again, I’ve no doubt Thomas Frank will aswell.

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Our visitors made themselves comfortable both before kick-off and early into the second half

Nick Bruzon

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Where’s Miss Marple? BBC Phil nails it as Birmingham City get away with murder.

27 Nov

Well, perhaps murder is a bit extreme. Although if not that, certainly a case of “Call the police, there’s been a robbery” as Birmingham City left a sunset drenched Griffin Park with all three points yesterday following a 2-1 win over Brentford. With Norwich City also losing, again, it makes next weekend’s road trip very interesting indeed.

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Griffin Park looked glorious, even if the result wasn’t

But before we get too ahead of ourselves and think about Carrow Road , let’s look back at this one first. For me, it was a game which could be summed up at the highest level in three quotes:

Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett :“We rode our luck and if luck was a horse I have won the Grand National today”.

Dean Smith: “If it was a boxing match it would have been stopped”

Phil Parry of BBC London : How is it still 1-0 to Brum??? How did Vibe not score?? Where’s Miss Marple?

First up, Mr Rowett. Honest of him to admit but, equally, teams ride their luck. Teams take their chances. Teams play worse and win. His Birmingham did that yesterday, ably helped by a couple of wonder saves from Tomasz Kuszczak in the second half.

As for the goals, both were presented to Birmingham on a plate. The first saw a penalty awarded for a foul on Clayton Donaldson as the former Bee ran onto a ball threaded straight through the midfield and our plethora of centre backs. Dan Bentley was adjudged to have brought him down and the spot kick duly despatched. Indeed, but for Andreas Bjelland running across, surely red would have been shown and, with it, a possible league debut for Jack Bonham.

The irony of Clayton even winning a penalty at Griffin Park was missed by nobody. I’ve lost count of the number of nailed on spot kicks denied in League One as he’d be kicked, tripped , manhandled or wrestled to the ground only to see his claims waived away. Maybe it was just a Brentford thing.

I’ve all the time in the world for the big man, even now. When his contract expired, Birmingham were there to offer him what he wanted and allow him to move closer to home. We couldn’t match that. And so some of the abuse he was coming in for yesterday seemed harsh – especially after the penalty. What’s he going to do – not score? I’m not going to openly cheer somebody who is now an opposition player but at the same time, have some class.

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View from the terrace – Clayton fires home for 0-1

The second goal was an equally disappointing one to concede. Also, from a dead ball situation as a free kick was awarded in front of the away fans and out near the Braemar Road touchline . With all the time we needed to set ourselves up to defend, City were still able to float it over our plethora of centre backs to the far post where Ryan Shotton was able to stroll clear of his marker and tap home for 2-0.

As for Dean Smith, he can talk about it being a boxing match that should have been stopped but that’s not how football works. Nobody cares how much possession a team had, how many shots were rifled in or how unlucky you were. At the end of the day, Clive (and as we’ve said many times before) the only stat that counts is balls in the back of net.

“If we played them ten times again we would beat them nine times: It was that one sided” he also added – that one in the interview on ‘official’. He’s probably right but we got off to a very slow start in a system that took everybody some getting used to – three centre backs in the middle and a fourth playing out left, with Max Colin on the right. To be fair to Dean, I had wondered if this is how he would crowbar the glut of defensive talent together and so let’s not write this one off. Certainly, it allowed Barbet to get into some very advanced positions and I’ve a feeling we’ll see more of the same against Norwich next weekend.

Yet despite Brentford continuing to build the pressure, turn the screw and find ourselves in full ‘unlucky’ mode, it was the second half and Birmingham were 2 goals up. Then Scott Hogan happened. Again.

Getting onto the end of a ball floated into the box from Josh Clarke, he beat Kuzczak to dink his header past the otherwise excellent ‘keeper and into the back of the net to send the home fans delirious. It set up the proverbial grandstand finale in which if Dean Smith had a kitchen sink on the bench I’m sure he would have brought that on, such was the amount chucked at the Birmingham goal .

And then it happened. 2-2!! Andreas Bjelland with a header from a Ryan woods cross. Or was it Scott Hogan with the faintest of toe pokes from an Andreas Bjelland header? Either way, the one man goal machine was adjudged offside as a result. Standing behind the goal it looked like Bjelland’s effort all the way and a very harsh call from the referee and his his assistant. Brentford official were more diplomatic in their match repot saying, “It is possible that if Hogan had not touched it the goal may have stood but the movement of the Brentford man definitely affected Kuszczak and he would probably have saved it without the touch.

The third quote at the top end was from Phil Parry, on Twitter, mid-match as Lasse Vibe failed to put it in from yards out with the ‘keeper beaten and two defenders on the line.

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Gut reaction at the time was, like Phil, just how did he miss that? How? Looking back at the video  – and you can see the highlights on Sky at present (until the BeesPlayer goes live at mid-day)  – perhaps at first the ball gets gets caught up in his legs a bit. Likewise, he maybe takes one turn too many that allows the defenders time to position themselves more. Either way, a chance that he’ll be bitterly disappointed not to have buried from that starting position.

It was always going to be tough game. To be honest, we created more decent chances than I expected us to . It’s just a huge shame that when it came to putting them away a combination of great ‘keeping and bad luck have conspired against us. Then again,  Birmingham City have delivered the quintessential lesson in taking the opportunity when it arises.

Dean Smith also noted at full time that,  “We have played two weekends, Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City, and we should be sitting here really pleased with six points…However, we are here with zero and that is the Championship.

It is Dean, it is. But with only 1 win from the last 8 games, I’m very interested to see what you do next to try and increase those points from zero to three. Surely it can’t all be down to bad luck?

As for next weekend and Norwich City, well they lost again yesterday. That’s five defeats in a row for the once high flying Canaries. Are they the ones to help us return to wining ways…?

Nick Bruzon 

Could we celebrate like we’ve won the FA Cup (fifth round)?

17 Mar

It’s all to play for on Tuesday night as Brentford have another fine chance to close the gap on the Championship leaders at Blackburn Rovers. With Derby County hosting Middlesbrough something has to give above us whilst Bournemouth and Watford face tricky trips to Wigan Athletic and Cardiff City respectively.

Of course, just as on Saturday other results won’t count for much if we can’t do our thing at Ewood Park but I have a feeling this one will be different. The BBC report that Blackburn have been hit by several injuries following their own weekend exertions whilst, with last night’s other FA cup replay fresh in the mind, can the Rovers team honestly say that prospect of a trip to Wembley won’t be any form of distraction?

Wishful thinking or blind optimism? Probably the former yet, with only nine games to go and the Bees with an excellent chance of promotion, I’m reading every potential positive from every game. Equally, though, it could just be own skewed line of logic and football, association.

Bliss - goals as fine as his moustache

Bliss – goals as fine as his moustache

I can’t hear the words Blackburn Rovers without immediately thinking of Gary Blissett performing his heroics back in 1989. Just as the goal scoring legend’s brace had helped knock his beloved Manchester City out of the tournament in the fourth round at Griffin Park, more was to follow in the next game.

Few gave The Bees a chance as a club issue ‘football special’ train from Ealing Broadway helped take us to a very industrial looking, pre-redevelopment, stadium. It was certainly a ground full of character rather than today’s sterile efforts whilst being escorted through town by the local constabulary hardly helped set the mood as a welcoming one.

Still, nobody was out to win friends with the visiting fans, especially in the late eighties, so it just made what happened next all the sweeter. Two late goals from Bliss, almost carbon copies if I recall correctly (highlights were somewhat thin on the ground back then) sent the Bees into the quarter finals and, to coin a phrase that Tony Gubba would use in the following round, our fans into dreamland.

Video evidence of the 2-0 win at Ewood Park is thin on the ground

 

Listening this evening, I’ll no doubt have a nostalgic thought about that game once more. Yet, equally, there is a chance for one of our own to carve his name into legend. Three points for Brentford will give the promotion push a massive boost and mean that, perhaps, it isn’t just Bliss who we think of when it comes to significant wins at Blackburn.

We’ve already beaten Rovers this season with a fine 3-1 win at Griffin Park. Another one tonight would be a double to rival those of the mustachioed goal machine.

Rovers can worry about the FA Cup. We’ve got a promotion to aim for

Blackburn got four chances to practice their kick off routine back in December

Blackburn got four chances to practice their kick off routine back in December

 

Slade in Flame as Bees burnt (and a shock at Bournemouth)

15 Mar

Well that was all a bit ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’. With Ipswich Town going down 4-1 in the lunchtime game at Middlesbrough, Cardiff City were all that stood between Brentford and a four point gap from the pack chasing the play off spots. But rather than take advantage of the opportunity, the Bees put in a sub par performance against a workmanlike opposition that we gifted two woeful goals.

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.

(the long arm of) Clem's law is broken - a rare win for the BBC man

(the long arm of) Clem’s law is broken – a rare win for the BBC man

Was this the worst performance ever? Come on England.

15 Jun

Not the football team. I thought England did really well against Italy in their opening World Cup game last night and, to be fair, were unfortunate to come away without at least a point. Indeed, there was enough from Roy’s boys in the opening 15 minutes to excite more than the whole of the ‘no show’ in South Africa 2010 put together.

In a tournament that has been all about goals, goals, goals the England – Italy game delivered more and was anything but the dour, cautious 0-0 this numpty predicted. Ok, we lost but we played well in doing so. With the emphasis being very much about England on the front foot rather than camped in the defensive third, I’m anything but downbeat about our chances of progress.

My disdain is more for Phil Neville. The BBC really have dropped the ball in their team selection at the World Cup. The likes of Lineker, Shearer and Henry are still street ahead of anything ITV have to offer but are they taking it for granted?

Things got off to a bad start on Friday with the Manchester United referencing Rio Ferdinand. He continued name-dropping on Saturday (yawn) but things then hit a real low when we switched to the main game.

Phil Neville, as analyst in the commentary box, seems to have had all the charisma surgically removed from him prior to taking his seat (that is, assuming he had any charisma in the first instance). For a game that kicked off at 11pm, the last thing a tired audience needed were the soporific tones of this human Horlicks. It was like listening to a robot. He really was that monotone.

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Just one more needed to complete my sticker album

Ironic, considering we really needed a robot on the pitch. Daniel Sturridge’s fine equaliser saw a celebration that was less Peter Crouch and more seasick scarecrow.

To compound the felony, with both Leighton Baines and Andrea Pirlo having second half set piece efforts in front of goal, Phil couldn’t even give us a, “And this is Saunders territory”.

The BBC still has far too much in the tank to be worried by ITV but their choice of Phil Neville seems a really odd one. His brother, Gary, does a fine job on Sky – I’m the first to admit. Clearly, it doesn’t run in the family.

Or perhaps, with the selection of Rio, the thought is that Manchester United’s fallen stars are the future of football punditry.

I hope not.

As Brentford and Wolves P-P, who were the winners and losers?

9 Feb

With Brentford’s game against Crawley and Wolves trip to Stevenage both ruined by the weather, the stage was set for Leyton Orient to go back to the top of League One yesterday.

Thankfully (really) Peterborough hadn’t read this particular script and their two goals in as many minutes at the death saw the O’s snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. With the top three sides now on level games, it means that Brentford remain in first place. Things are still too tight to call but I’d rather be two points ahead than two behind.

If The Bees emerged better for a weekend where they haven’t even had to get their boots dirty, who has woken up on Sunday wishing it had never happened?

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

‘That band’ play second fiddle to Team 54

19 Nov

“0-0 – an incredible result”.

Not my words but those of commentary team Paul Grant and Richard Lavagna as Gibraltar (population 29,436 at the last count) made their ‘official’ international football debut against Slovakia. So exciting was the moment that I’m not sure if it was even Paul or Richard  although, to be honest with you, it probably wasn’t the best game for the neutral in terms of football. However, for what it represented, it blew the subsequent England-Germany game out of the water. So much so that even the ever tiresome ‘Supporter’s band’ couldn’t upset me.

After years of Spanish objections, Gibraltar were, in May, of this year, finally allowed entry into UEFA as their 54th member.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.