Tag Archives: Jeff Hendrick

Don’t Panic. Or is it trouble? 7(seven) isn’t the magic number.

21 Feb

Derby County have ended their poor run. Brentford’s continues. A 3-1 victory for the Rams at Griffin Park was one which, if we are being honest with ourselves, they deserved on their first half performance alone. Equally, as we know too well, ‘deserving’ counts for nothing in football if you can’t take your chances. For Brentford to have been a goal up with ten minutes to go yet still lose (whilst shipping three) was just woeful. Derby wanted it more and got it.

The final whistle was greeted with a chorus of boos and I can well understand why. Regardless of our gratitude that Brentford are in the Championship,at present the Bees look all at sea and the stats don’t make good reading:

7(seven) defeats out of 9 games in 2016.

Only 7(seven) goals scored in those 9 games – take Preston out of the equation and its 4 from 8.

10 goals against in the last three games.

QPR now ahead of us in the league table.

GP v Derby

The overcast conditions matched the mood at Griffin Park

Indeed a wonderful first half performance from one of the old guard, David Button, was the difference between 0-0 and the game being out of sight before 3.45pm. A series of world class saves kept things level, the pick of which came from one of his own players.

Unmarked in the six yard box, Jake Bidwell volleyed a clearance straight towards the Brentford goal. That man Button was on hand to parry it to his left at almost point blank range and somehow out to safety.

But going in 0-0, it seemed as though Derby had blown their chance when Alan Judge gave Brentford the lead 7(seven) minutes into the second half. And oh, what a goal.

Picking the ball up inside his own half, Judge ran and ran down the right flank before reaching the edge of the box. With Kerschbaumer making a late, unmarked, run into the centre Judge ignored him and kept going before firing home to the far corner from the acutest of angles

Whilst not quite as narrow as Van Basten in Euro ’88, it wasn’t far off. Judge had no right to score from there yet, such is his confidence and ability, he made it look simple. What a goal and what a moment for the Bees. If nothing else, the media team would have breathed a sigh of relief as it means they won’t be combing footage of the development squad to find an entrant for February’s ‘goal of the month’ competition.

And that was the high point. With the Bees’ creative juices drying up as we looked to keep it tight, things went South in the final ten minutes. The first came as the Brentford defence (rightly) called for handball. Yet only Jeff Hendrick played on and, left in yards of space, slid it neatly between Button’s legs . The previously unbeatable ‘keeper was given no chance as the rest of his defence stopped running and just waved their arms in the air, seemingly more interested in having a private game of ‘who can hail a taxi first?’.

Was it hand ball? Absolutely. Should it have stood? Probably not. But it is one of the most basic lessons of football to play the whistle, not the ball. You can’t legislate for that level of schoolboy defending. Standing still and relying on a referee to make what you believe to be the correct call is as risky a defensive strategy as they come. And it was the wrong one. 1-1.

From that point on, we were dead in the water. Cyrus ‘the virus’ Christie gave Derby the lead four minutes later, tucking in from close range and breaking Brentford hearts.

With 87 minutes on the clock, Dean Smith opted to bring on one of his two attacking midfielders in Sergi Canos (I don’t count the largely ineffectual Swift). Why he or Sam weren’t introduced earlier, or even started, I have no idea but perhaps there was a belief our fragile team would hang on to a 1-0.

And, as time ran out, it almost happened. With no working scoreboard or fourth official’s timer, the game was well into Jota time when the chance to salvage something came. And then went. Jake Bidwell’s goalbound header was miraculously saved at the death by  Scott Carson.

The ‘keeper, who seemed to have taken the advice of Rams’ sponsor ‘Just Eat’ a bit too literally, dived to his left and somehow tipped Jake’s downward header away on the goal line. If Judge’s goal had been ‘not quite Van Basten’, this save was ‘almost Gordon Banks’. Again, the angle wasn’t quite as severe as with the famous predecessor but I still don’t know how Carson got down there. Well played , that man.

And with that, it was Doncaster Rovers all over again. The chance having been and gone for the Bees, Derby broke down the other end to put the game officially out of sight, courtesy of Chris Martin. Bees fans were left feeling yellow as the indignity of another defeat in that style was further compounded by an inevitable volley of Coldplay puns.

twitter

And this was at 0-0….

Being honest, whatever the logic behind the change in manager and decision to sell the players from last season, we are a pale shadow of the team that played with so much freedom and confidence 12 months ago. Such is the general vibe that the campaign objective now seems one of simply limping over the line and hoping we can hang in there for a fresh start in 2016/17.

But for Alan Judge and David Button, I have no idea where we’d be heading. Yesterday really would have been a wonderful chance to show a reaction after Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday. Instead, up against a team on an even worse run of form than ourselves, we ended up with the proverbial damp squib.

The only plus point of the day (aside from the genuinely unexpected arrival of the ‘Terrace Talk’ cameras into the upper room at The Griffin….) was the news that Matthew Benham is back on Twitter following his second period of self-imposed exile.

No matter how frustrating an experience some are finding it supporting the Bees at present, let’s hope people treat him with the respect he deserves this time around.

Having been spoiled to ambassadorial levels last season, the luxury of the Ferrero Rocher pyramid has now been replaced by what tastes like cold leftovers. That’s a hard thing to swallow but, whatever confusion is happening on the pitch, this is still the team we support and the club we love. Saturday’s wouldn’t be the same without it.

We’ve had a tough run of games and Tuesday night against Wolves won’t be any easier. Whilst we can’t rely on the likes of Judge and Button forever, it would be great to see if Dean Smith and his management committee can inspire some of the new breed to step up and show their potential over the coming games. It looked like we might do that a few weeks ago, only to have now taken three huge steps backwards.

That said, we are where we are. Crying over it won’t make a difference. Given the sheer lunacy of the season so far, frankly I’d be happy for another 13 points and a couple of local derby wins.

And for any County fans still reading, I’m not talking about beating the Rams at Griffin Park…..

leaving GP

Fans trudge out in the shadow of Denmark’s finest

Nick Bruzon

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Is anyone courting the Judge?

17 Nov

Congratulations to Alan Judge and the Republic of Ireland who last night qualified for the finals of EURO 2016. Getting out of a group including Germany, Poland and the potential potato skin of Gibraltar is no mean feat. Moreso to follow it up with a play off victory against Bosnia-Herzcegovina that saw the first leg shrouded in fog and the second in emotion following Friday’s events in Paris. And if Lasse Vibe’s Denmark can do the needful against Sweden in Copenhagen tonight, then Brentford could have even more representation at the summer tournament.

Whilst Alan didn’t feature last night (although he was on the bench for the first leg) it shows, again, the developing strength in both the Brentford team and the Championship as a whole. The side that won in Dublin featured league counterparts Richard Keogh and Jeff Hendrick of Derby County along with Ipswich Town striker Daryl Murphy. And with Austria already qualified, then the Bees could have even more representation in Marco Djuricin.

Still, all that is a long way off. We don’t even know if all involved will be at Griffin Park by that point. Djuricin is, of course, only here on loan (albeit we have the option to buy) whilst Alan Judge is no doubt going to be the number one target for those looking to further plunder a club that has seen Moses Odubajo, Stuart Dallas, Andre Gray and Northern Ireland international Will Grigg all leave over the summer for 7(seven) figure sums.

Alan’s performances have, rightly, earned him the divisional player of the month award for October. He is the one that supporters are worried will be the next to go but will it happen? Could it happen? Do we have any choice – either financially or personally? Quite simply, the lure of the Premier League might be too much for us to compete with, regardless of any other factor.

Alan Judge and Lee Carsley

 

October saw the profile of Alan, and Brentford, raised further

This isn’t me trying to scaremonger. I’m just being realistic. We’ve had these jitters before and the last two season’s January transfer window – with the Bees pushing for promotion to the Championship and Premier League respectively – have been torturous times.

The good news then was that nobody left midseason but this time around it feels different. The well documented managerial situation, along with those huge summer sales, have many fans fearful that, in conjunction with Alan’s own stunning success, we could be preparing to say farewell.

Understandably, Brentford ‘official’ will not say anything about potential transfers whilst there hasn’t been a sniff of a rumour from our beloved local press or other sources (close to the club). The transfer window isn’t due to open for another six weeks but as we get closer to, and then enter, that period I have no doubt the stories will crank up.

Let’s be clear – I don’t want Alan or any of our prized assets go. No doubt the likes of Jota, Sam Saunders, David Button and Harlee Dean (to name but a few) will also be linked with the big leagues come January. I’m not so naïve as to think we are untouchable – the summer alone showed that. It is all part of what makes up the modern game and a club such as ours, which has seen some huge investment, doing what it needs to in order to ensure we comply with all the rules around FFP.

I’m merely putting this out there because, genuinely, I have no idea which way things are going to go at the end of next month. We have a big squad, especially in midfield, when everybody is fully fit. Equally, those players in form only have the potential to get even better as part of a settled team.

Instead, let’s hope that some more results like those in October keep that push up the League going. Then, it could all be a moot point.

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