Tag Archives: Josh Dasilva

Top of the what now? Bees relish their Royal appointment.

11 Feb

Wow! Just wow. Brentford were at their very best to win 3-1 at Reading on Wednesday evening and overtake Norwich City at the top of the Championship table. The. Top. The penthouse suite in the promotion hotel. There’s still one heck of a way to go but after putting in about as resilient a performance as they come, against Premier League chasing opponents who took the lead and dominated proceedings in the first half, one can’t help but feel excited. Next up is a home game with Barnsley on Sunday lunchtime (given their own FA Cup tie with Chelsea tonight) followed by the midweek trip to Loftus Road. With them, the chance to improve on current figures that see us 21 games unbeaten in the league, Ivan Toney now up to 23 goals scored in the league this season and 25 points out of a possible 27 earned in the last 9 games. 21, 23, 25! What comes next in that sequence? Thankfully, for once, this isn’t part of the home schooling routine but more the excitement which seems to greet every game at the moment.

“What a team” – the words of Ethan Pinnock

For now though, we need to start by catching up on events last night. Thomas Frank shuffled his squad, with Josh Dasilva returning and Mbeumo / Fosu occupying the flanks. Sergi Canos and Samman Ghoddos having to be content with places on the bench. The former in particular perhaps disappointed after his excellent run of recent form but fitness and the squad come first. Besides, his entry into the fray  just after the hour coincided with Brentford continuing to turn the screw after holding off Reading for so long.

As seems to be the way at present, we conceded first. Thankfully not in the third minute and it was one from the penalty spot with Henrik Dalsgaard adjudged (and that’s the most generous word I can come up with) to have brought down former Bee Josh Laurent. He only ever played one game for us, ‘that’ Marinus inspired nightmare in the league cup at home to Oxford United, but the potential we saw was on evidence last night. He, and the Royals, were not here to make up the numbers even if the decision to award the spot kick seemed a soft one. Nobody complained, David Raya got his hands to it but Lucas Joao hit it too well and the hosts were ahead. 

In truth, it had been coming and if the award of the penalty itself had felt iffy (they always do when you are on the receiving end) there was no bitterness towards Reading who had been well on top. Then, things changed. Brentford pushed up (somebody needs to make a chant about that when we are allowed back in) and found their feet. Having spent 25 minutes being carved open we started to play. Josh Dasilva electric as he cut in from the right, waltzed through the defence and into the box before striking a beauty across the face of goal and into the opposite corner. It was a thunderbolt of a run and shot. A beautiful goal and one which really needed fans there to witness it. 

Alas we were all confined to barracks although at least had Mark Burridge and team to guide us through the action on i-follow. They had been sorely missed by many for the trip to Middlesbrough at the weekend but despite being stuck out in monitor free isolation at the Madjeski (not even given team sheets) were still on hand to do their thing in the bitter cold. And they had to be on their toes as Dasilva’s strike, sublime though it was, only seems to shake Reading back to life. David Raya and Ethan Pinnock both keeping the Bees in it as we were pushed onto the back foot for the last ten minutes of the half. The later in particular pulling off one quite incredible tackle that had penalty written all over it , were it not for the absolute precision in his timing.

1-1 at half time and if the first period had seen opportunity knock, the second felt very much as though both teams wold settle with a point. To be fair, it would still have been enough to see us overtake Norwich on goal difference but this team never say die. Never stop running. Had strength on the bench with Sergi providing a much needed breath of fresh air for in place of Mbeumo for the final half hour. Ghoddos adding further energy on 80 as the Bees wrapped things up in style late on.

First, it was Josh Dasilva. Again. Ivan Toney chesting the ball into his path with the deftest of touches , allowing the midfielder to lash home from close range. The finish was perfect but the build up play exquisite as Ivan made it all look so, so easy. 86 minutes gone and Brentford finally in front. With the clock reading 88 we were out of sight. A fierce drive from Sergi only able to be parried out and Ivan turned from provider to poacher, gobbling up the rebound before anyone could react. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe this man. Truly, truly incredible. Dean Holdsworth scored 38 in our own  ’91-’92 Third Division Championship season (all competitions) but one has to fear for the safety of that record should he carry on at this rate, given he’s already just up behind the total Deano scored in the league.

Josh equalised and then steered us into the lead

Four minutes of injury time became six but there was no danger. No feeling of stress or angst as the Bees held firm. It was an absolute huge result, make no mistake about that. The run and stats are impressive but now it is all about keeping the position at the top of the table we’ve finally been able to claim in our own right. Our own games in hand have played out and we’ve reached the summit with a little bit of clear air. There are still 18 games to go and now all we can do is chalk them off, one by one. Barnsley are next up on Sunday in a game that could take place with us having been replaced at the top given Norwich entertain Stoke on Saturday afternoon. And we’re assuming a game with Stoke could ever be described as entertaining. No doubt the Canaries will have a point to prove and its going to be very interesting which way this one plays out.

Still, that’s their issue. For us, the top of the table is now home. What a fantastic performance last night. What a team. Here’s to more of the same. Starting with Barnsley.

Can we reach 22…..?

Nick Bruzon 

Bring out the brackets.

30 Jan

What an afternoon. What a result. What a performance. A hat-trick for Ivan Toney. Individual strikes from Tarique Fosu, Josh Dasilva, Ethan Pinnock and Sergi Canos (the net is still bulging) all adding up to a magnificent 7(seven) for Brentford. Despite scoring twice to go in level at half time, Wycombe Wanderers had no answer to the second half explosion inspired by a resurgent Sergi, a rampant Tariqe, Josh oozing class and Ivan back to his goal scoring best. With Norwich City dropping points against Middlesbrough, Wednesday’s game against Bristol City has taken on an even greater dimension. That’s for then. For now, its all about the Bees earning a further GD swing of +5 and the unbeaten league run continuing ever onwards.

Indeed there were…..

Brentford were magnificent. A 2-2 half-time scoreline about as frustrating as they come. Sergi had conspired to head over with just a few minutes on the clock before Ethan Pinnock buried a corner from Matthias Jensen. 1-0. Open the floodgates. Or, rather, don’t. Instead, show uncharacteristic indecision and let your opponents back into it. The lead lasting barely five minutes before Uche Ikpeazu levelled it up with a wonderful strike following a spate of possession form the visitors that had all the hallmarks of the inevitable equaliser. 

No matter, Brentford pressed on again. The goal sat waiting to be filled. Saves made. Posts hit. Openings unconverted. Agony cranking up until Tarique Fosu was awarded the goal that made it 2-1. For me, Clive, it was Ivan Toney’s all day long. Fosu, who played an absolute blinder today, stabbing home when the ball was already well over the line. It will no doubt be given to Ivan eventually and we’re already calling it as such. 

Whomever was credited at the time, the only thing that mattered was it crossing the line. Having taken the lead, we wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. Surely? Oh, we did. This time the lead lasting just two minutes before Admiral Muskwe restored parity just prior to half-time. Yet another demonstration of chances counting for naff all if you don’t bury them. Credit to Wycombe, they knew what to do when the moment came. Brentford had been profligate ; the visitors clinical.

Whatever Thomas Frank said at half-time , he needs to bottle. Talk about the mother of all pep talks. There was only one intent when the boys can back out – kill this one off and do it fast. Fosu was there first, then Ivan Toney with another of his ice cool penalties low to the right. A 4-2 lead with little more than ten minutes played and, this time, there was no choke. No invitation to our guest to get back into the game. Brentford strangled the life out of it before a blitzkrieg assault at the end saw the day end in 7th (seventh) heaven.

Sergi absolute leathered it home after fine work from Josh. A run and cool finish fro mIvan made it six and the hat-trick before man-of-the-match Dasilva completed the rout. The final three goals coming from 81 minutes onwards. Who knows just how crucial these may turn out to be come the end of the season? Only Swansea on 18 are even vaguely close to a GD that now reads +21.

We could have been down at half-time. We weren’t. The usual faces were laying into Sergi once more (well, I suppose with Charlie Goode and Emiliano missing they had to go for someone). Football is a game of 90 minutes and my word, didn’t we prove that ? This is the team that never gives up. That refuses to be beaten. That plays, and celebrates, together. You could see what this one meant. You could probably hear the screams from our house half way down to Lionel Road.

Brentford are now in third place. Two points off Swansea and six off Norwich with a game in hand on both. This season has plenty of twists left in it but you can’t ask for more than we got today. Sure, luck was ridden at times but the history books, and the table, don’t lie. And I know what both of those say.

We started the day saying this one had the potential to be Biblical. It was beyond that. It was immense. Finishing of the highest degree once we got our shooting boots properly laced up. I’d love to be there in person but its not too shabby following from home. Now bring on Bristol City…..  

Nick Bruzon

Tin foil? Check. Sofa? Check. Corona Virus? Check.

9 Jan

The FA Cup third round is here. It began last night at Aston Villa (we’ll get to Dean Smith in a bit) and now Brentford host Middlesbrough this evening. Another run at the stadium in North London near Ikea awaits. Memories of the epic afternoons against Manchester City and Sunderland flooding to the fore every time this competition is mentioned. Even last season’s game with Leicester City at Griffin Park is up there – if only for the fact it was one of the last occasions we were all together. Now, we begin another journey although one I get the feeling is going to see a lot of less familiar faces helping us along the way. A side much more akin to the one that started the early rounds of the League Cup likely to be the direction chosen by Thomas Frank. Albeit, he won’t be there to put an arm around the shoulder or impart some top, top words of advice. Yesterday’s news certainly put paid to that. Award winner in the morning followed by the confirmation he has tested positive for Covid 19. Ten days self-isolation now follow and, of course, everybody wishes him nothing but the best. Talk about the ‘curse’ of manager of the month ! For once, it really is a case of ‘Frank out’. In all seriousness though, one can only hope our inspirational head coach is back amongst us as soon as possible and not suffering any ill effects.

The quintessential Brentford FA Cup image

Yet whomever is picked for Brentford – and even Charlie Goode has noted in his programme interview that “I am sure the squads will be very different today” (from ‘that’ 0-0 with Middlesbrough – the game that dare not speak its name) it is still the FA Cup. It is the third round. It is the single most exciting weekend in the football calendar. The chance for the mighty to fall. For heroes to be made. For the armchair fan to sit back and gorge on all that the cup has to offer. Every game will be available to sofa dwellers and, with nothing else to do, why not. A cup tie is the one occasion where you can dip into a random game and pick a side. The desire to see an ‘upset’ is almost instinctive.

 For example, next weekend sees Sheffield United host Newcastle United in the Premier league. Honestly, is anyone outside of their own fans going to think that looks like an attractive means to spend two hours? Cripes, talk about boredom on a plate and I wouldn’t go near it with a barge pole. Personally speaking. I’ve suffered enough already this season when Middlesbrough came to visit in the league  – and that was my own team dragging themselves through 90 minutes – so have no desire to inflict similar on myself. Yet offer up the prospect of this afternoon’s encounter between Bristol Rovers and Sheffield United, then all of a sudden the chance to watch the Blades limp through a game takes on a whole new level of intrigue. And with our own kicking off at 6pm, it means both can be watched. If you want.

We won’t be there in person. Nobody will. One has to feel for the fans of Marine in particular. Hosting cup kings Spurs yet forced to watch it from the safety of home. There’s an entirely different question out there as to whether football should even go on hold for a while, as it did last season, with more and more clubs returning positive tests. Or, in the case of Bristol City, sore throats. Yet until, or if, that happens, we’ve got this. Watching on from home and hoping to progress. Hoping to get through without injury or suspension that has already robbed us of Josh Dasilva.

I’d still love to be there and would have gone like a shot had we been able. The chance to see Brentford, against anyone, always a pleasure. The opportunity to wield that tin foil trophy – something our Harry has done every season – one that is always grabbed with relish. The creation of the trophy a  Saturday morning ritual of gluing and cutting that we’ve always enjoyed but, alas, not this year. Or maybe we will anyway. Just because.  

Win or lose, we’ve had our moments. Hosting Marcus Gayle and Staines Town. The aforementioned game with Leicester City. Even being dumped out by Walsall. As much because of their own reaction to recently departed boss and ‘Ginger Judas’ Dean Smith who had joined us at Griffin Park. A quite remarkable reaction, a cracking afternoon of cup football and one it would be fair to say that the Saddlers ‘deserved to win’. 

Dean certainly upset the Walsall fans

The league cup run has certainly lifted spirits, that’s for sure. Coming so close to a Wembley final with Manchester City one that, whilst everyone is rightly still looking at with pride, would have been a quite incredible experience had we managed to pull it off. Now, we must go again.

I’m not an idiot. The absolute 110% priority is the league. We’ll never have a better chance to reach the hallowed ground of the top flight and I have no doubt Thomas will juggle resources accordingly. Yet, at the same time, that’s not to say I won’t be investing any less in the FA Cup. Our squad have shown what they can do already and I‘m sure they’ll be out to do the same again this afternoon. Bring it on !!

Now, where are the scissors…?

Another FA Cup journey on the road to Wembley begins.

Nick Bruzon 

Not even Michael Caine could have turned this around.

6 Jan

Well played Spurs. Let’s start right there. Brentford went down 2-0 on Tuesday to miss out on a place in the League Cup final against a quality side packed with more than enough talent to reach Wembley. Jose Mourinho went strong and was duly rewarded. Mind you, so did Thomas Frank with only Pontus Jansson missing from what could now be deemed his preferred starting XI. It wasn’t quite enough. The combination of defensive generosity, great finishes and the machinations of VAR being enough to see Tottenham through. They controlled the game, no doubt, but there was enough about the Bees to suggest this wasn’t going to turn out the foregone conclusion many expected. Manchester City play Manchester United this evening to discover who will contest the final. Luckily for both, they’ll be spared referee Mike Dean.

Urghh. What can you say about the controversial man in the middle? Personally, I was left thinking that this is how it would be if Keith Stroud did regular top flight action. Soft yellows given to Brentford. Robust challenges unpunished from the hosts. Josh Dasilva sent off for an accidental, albeit painful looking, foul on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Understandable on review, even if without any intent. Yet it was the second half VAR controversy (words as intrinsically linked as ‘Mrs Browns Boys’ and ‘unfunny’) that left the sour taste in the mouth. 

By that stage Spurs were already ahead. A bright start from the Bees being stopped dead in its tracks with not even a quarter-hour played when Moussa Sissoko was given the freedom of the penalty box. Marking that took the social distancing guidelines to the letter of the law. The Tottenham man heading home with pleasure and Brentford on the back foot. The wind taken from our sails and containment the immediate next order of the day. A flurry of half-chances and no further breaches the best we had to show.

Half time came and went. The Bees back out with a spring in their step. Lucky shirts being worn back home were clearly doing their thing. Forget the ever closer Ivan Toney. The magic of Bryan Mbeumo. The I don’t know what of Mathias Jensen. The goal felt like it was coming and sure enough, it did….. Just after the hour who else but Ivan Toney was there to head home from close in!! TW8 erupted. The players celebrated. Game on. Echos of the quite magnificent Escape to Victory ringing in the ears… “We can win this!!

Sadly though, we couldn’t. Michael Caine, Pele et al may have had a dodgy referee, physical opponents and superior opposition to deal with. We had, well all of that  – albeit without the dodgy acting – but also VAR. The much maligned tool alerting Mike Dean to the fact that the Championship’s leading scorer may have been offside as he guided the ball home. Indeed, after multiple replays Dean felt obliged to chalk off the goal he had already awarded. Toney’s fingernail being apparently ahead of the last defender’s heel and, as such, interfering with play as fell to his knees.

We quoted this one in last night’s post match immediacy. There’s no reason not to do it again. 

Hey, its not Spurs fault and no sour grapes towards them. Does anyone really think we’d have complained had it gone the other way? Of course not. Yet this doesn’t make it any easier. Doesn’t make the game we love feel even further away from the thing of excitement and spontaneity that it used to be. Instead, the life has been sucked out of it with goals being tediously dissected by set squares and sub-millimetre thin lines on screen. Its not even close to being obvious. Its an absolute joke.

Spurs, of course, did what teams do in these situations, Remained calm, professional, well used to it. With Bees fans and players feeling the most tremendous sense of injustice, out hosts carried on as normal and within minutes had gone down the other end to double the lead. Son Heung-min bursting clear to leather one past David Raya. A top quality move and finish from one of the best players in the land. No complaints. No arguments. First class. Game over man. Game over.

There was still enough time for VAR to alert Mike Dean to the fact that he may want to give Josh Dasilva a red card. It was inevitable the second the replay was shown on the big screen. It made no impact to the outcome but does now mean he misses out on the FA Cup (who doesn’t though?) and the more important league games with Reading and Luton. Thomas will need to get his whiteboard back out and rejuggle for them.

Tottenham deserved it overall, even if that’s not how football necessarily works. Ultimately, it comes down to balls in the back of the net and we had that denied us in the most painful of circumstances. Thomas would talk about how proud he was at full time and I guess he’s right.

Yet thinking about it this morning, the overall feeling is one of genuine frustration that we haven’t beaten one of the best teams in the Premier League. That we have had the chance of victory, could have taken it, matched our opponents but were ultimately denied by external factors. That is perhaps what we should focus on. Nobody gave us a chance but we just carried on doing what we’ve done so far this campaign. Played our best combination against the team in front of us. And we ran them blinkin’ close. 

This was no trashing and whilst I don’t overly do the ‘plucky losers’ thing (nobody remembers, or cares about how unlucky the beaten team were) the feeling remains that we had enough about us to win this one. Had the breaks gone, then who knows. The experience alone could prove invaluable in or long term future. 

Jose Mourinho was adamant at full-time that we’d meet again next season in the Premier League. I think he’s right, too. In the short term then look positive. At least we can concentrate on the league.

Nick Bruzon

Here’s to fifty saves in grey and a bit of history being made.

5 Jan

Well this is all a bit weird. Talk about finding yourself in illustrious company. Manchester United host Manchester City tomorrow night, with the  winners of that one knowing they’ll be facing a League Cup final at the W place near Ikea against either Brentford or Spurs. Surely it will be Tottenham? Surely? Nobody outside to TW8 gives us Bees a prayer. Yet tonight’s semi-final has all the makings of an absolute classic. A chance to crank out cliché by the bucketload in a David v Goliath clash. A game where Jose Mourinho’s superstar team, with their propensity for an ad-hoc self-destruct, host Thomas Frank’s Championship barnstormers. Brentford now sixteen games unbeaten in all competition and looking like the sort of well run, well rounded side most clubs could only aspire to be. A side only nudged out of the automatic positions at the weekend by the Bristol City symptom-gate affair. Yet with Corona continuing to grab the headlines for all the wrong reasons, if ever there was a time for football to help put a smile back on our faces then it is now.

No word of a lie, last night floored me. Boris bumping his way through the entirely predictable press conference. The usual buzz words coming out (and you thought these pages were littered with repetitive cliché) about collective national efforts but the long and the short of it being no hope of getting out for the next few months. The grim prospects of isolation, paying the bills, keeping the job going and doubling up as a home teacher all we have to look forward to. Freedoms curtailed again after that brief taste of being allowed outside in the autumn. He didn’t even have the decency to cancel Mrs. Brown’s Boys. It’s all a bit soul destroying being honest. 

If only… Instead we had more despair

This should be an exciting day. And it still can be. It still will be. It’s not the place of the players to act as any form of social pillars but, my word, they have an unexpected degree of expectation on them tonight. Not so much to win – you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be all out for that – but to keep morale flying. We’d absolute love to be there with them of course. We’re not even allowed to the pub or our mates’ house to watch it. As Thomas Frank noted in his press conference yesterday, “All players and staff members tested Covid negative before the game. It is maybe more important than ever that football is continuing. For a lot of people, football is a light in the dark that they can cheer on their heroes.

And he’s right. It would be easy to get weighed down in doom and gloom. It’s pitch black and icy cold outside with no real end in sight. I had half an eye on Boris cancelling elite sport, too. I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies. Instead, we are all systems go for this evening. The game is on Sky TV with a 7.45pm kick off The sort of game to attract an audience of unexpected Brentford supporters. Neutrals hoping for an upset and the chance to see whether Jose goes volatile or sporting. Should it happen. If nothing else a case of Manchester united with both sides up there hoping we’ll do it. The easiest option, in theory, for the final.

The big question of course being “Can we?”. The entirely predictable answer being that of course we can. More importantly, will we? Here its not so easy to call. We already know the bookies have Spurs as odds on favourites. They’ll be brutal in their assault. Kane and Son a partnership as balanced as Ant and Dec, Little & Large, Mrs Browns Boys and not laughing. The defence will need to be rock solid – no doubt a case of fifty saves in grey from either David Raya or Luke Daniels. Brentford 6-1 long shots. Yet in my heart of hearts I entirely believe we will do this. Rose tinted? Perhaps. Optimistic? Most definitely? Romantic? It’s what the cup is all about.

A case of fifty saves in grey tonight?

Yet seeing how we’ve developed as a side over the last 12 months. Over this season alone. Over the recent unbeaten streak I’m genuine I my belief that we are the strongest, most consistent team in this division. Much more balanced than last time out. Still smarting about having missed out as we did after doing so incredibly well to even haul ourselves into contention. Yet instead of self-destruction it has has been case of self-belief. Watching the ongoing debacles at FulhamL and West Brom a sore reminder of their own pointlessness in the Premier League. Absolutely they earned their shot but to see them squandering it so badly a painful reminder of where we could have been. 

Kudos to Leeds United. Like Wolves, they have proven that teams can make that step up from the Championship look effortless. Can hold their own against the established teams and the household names. That they will be playing the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham et al on a weekly basis rather than via the fortuitous nature of cup draws. I’m utterly convinced that next season we’ll be there with them. Spurs and Manchester United rather than the Baggies or Cottagers. Tonight marks a huge step on that journey. A chance to see just how well we stack up under the most intense pressure and scrutiny. A chance to beat a fifth Premier League team over the course of this cup run. Most importantly, the chance to make it to a major cup final.

Cripes, I can’t wait for this one. Life outside the front door may feel onerous at present. I’m quite happy to hold up my hands and admit to being amongst those finding things tough. But you can bet come 7.45pm ‘that virus’ will be the last thing on the mind.

We’ll be there in spirit. Bring it on. See you there. Kind of. Instead, here’s to celebrating a winner from Sergi Canos and having a pint together at W….

Can Brentford keep on the “Road to Wembley” ?

Nick Bruzon

.

Some humble pie for our Christmas puddings. What a way to show them three fingers.

27 Dec

It’s one thing doing it in front if your fans at Brentford against Blackburn Rovers (yes, we did have supporters allowed in for that brief moment!) but can you do it in Cardiff on a wet and windy Boxing Day afternoon with no support? The answer was an emphatic YES. Not once, not twice but three times as Sergi Canos fired home a sensational second-half hat-trick to secure the points for the Bees. Each goal was class. Each goal knocking a further nail in the coffin of the social media haters who’ve spent the last few months talking sh8t about, and to, a player who had been feeling his way back from that horrific injury picked up at Forest last season. With Bournemouth next up (one of the few teams still above us) the excitement can only continue.

Sticking three fingers up to the critics? Official shared this one at full-time

Brentford are now 15 unbeaten in all competitions. One point off second placed Swansea City. A squad carefully negotiating their way through December’s fixture pile up that has also seen us reach the semi-finals of the league cup. We’re five points better off than this time last season (a game also marked by a defeat of Cardiff City) and have the Championship’s leading goal scorer. It all makes somewhat of a mockery of the Frank Out nonsense  – something which, like the Sergi bile – had been emanating from the same sources and had gone equally quiet yesterday. Even if the picking of Marcondes and non-selection of Tarique Fosu and Josh Dasilva caused certain supporters’ little brains to fuse. My word, its almost as if having to play two games a week for 7 (seven) weeks might cause individuals to need a rest.

It could have been different, of course. A first half which was as brutal as the weather ended in a storm of angst. With no shots having been recorded on target, Will Vaulks changed that from inside his own half. A hoof up pitch – caught perfectly, to be fair – turned from speculation to part Nayim, part Paul Evans with a dash of David Beckham thrown in for good measure. David Raya could only back pedal but, alas, not furiously enough (is there any other way to back pedal?)  as the ball sailed over his head and into the back of the net. Urghhh. Groan. Your exclamation of despair may vary.

He caught it well

As the players trooped off and supporters hit the fridge for refreshment, the feeling of a dire second-half to come was overwhelming. We’re talking about a Neil Harris team. A side sure to set out their stall and carry on grinding it out as they had in the first. What we got , instead, was the Canos show.

His first came just minutes in and was about as incredible as they come. If Vaulks was all about the length, Sergi’s proved that technique and placement is just as important when summoning up the spectacular. With his initial shot bouncing back into play he caught it once more as the ball fell out of the sky , almost on top of him. Yet, somehow, the Spaniard was able to angle his body to catch it first time and return straight back from where it came with interest. A rising, then dipping volley that cleared the defence and the goalkeeper to level the scores. This sweetest of strikes, from outside the box, with a trajectory to send Vaulk’s earlier effort into the back of next week.

eye on the ball.. eye on the ball.. eye on the b… BOOM

It got better, though. Little over an hour gone and we were ahead. The Spaniard picking up the ball ion the left and waltzing through the Cardiff backline. Beating defenders with abandon and waiting to pick his moment before firing low into the bottom corner. 2-1 Brentford. Different technique, same class. Something Thomas Frank would describe at full time as, “Another wonder goal, while the third one was maybe a cross but don’t tell anyone”.

Yes, the third. Well it looked pretty good to me. If that was meant as a cross then all well and good. Perhaps. But it ended up in the back of the net and they all count. Due reward for a player who had been on fire. Not just these three but several other efforts that could easily have seen Sergi surpassing ‘that’ Mike Grella performance against BournemouthInstead, he’ll need to be content with the ‘praise’ from those who had previously been slating him. Destroying him. Abusing him. What a response to those pudding brained fools. Again!

For Canos, a half-hour hat-trick earned in the toughest of conditions. Not just the weather but the brutal approach of Cardiff who resorted to predicted type. Vitaly Janelt in particular being targeted for cynical assault. IF you can’t win fair, win foul being the mantra. Yet not even that worked, despite a late consolation goal via a wicked deflection that left things close for the final fifteen. Yet there was to be no collapse. No throwing away of points. A steely defence, bolstered by the return of Pontus Jansson, doing their thing in style to close out the game. The clock further run down with late, late substitutions . Marcus Forss and Josh stretching their legs. Both sure to be used for longer when Bournemouth visit on Wednesday.

All that’s to come. For today, Sunday morning, one can only admire the drive and determination from not just serge but the entire team. This was a hard fought win, no question.  You could see from the smiles at full time and the celebrations in the dressing room just what this one meant. My word, its almost like Thomas actually knows what he’s doing. Like having a strong squad to pick from and showing faith in his players is a sound tactic. Who’d have thought it? Thank goodness he, not social media, are the ones picking the team and the tactics. Fifteen unbeaten a spectacular run that will see one of its toughest tests on Wednesday. A real six-pointer in the ongoing pursuit of a place at the top of the table. Brentford are flying and I can’t wait for this one.

Until then, though, perhaps let’s just watch those goals once more…….

Nick Bruzon

That was something very, very special. In more ways than one.

23 Dec

Get the f*ck in!!! What a night. What a finish. What a result. Brentford beat Newcastle United 1-0 to make it into the league cup semi-finals. Josh Dasilva scoring the goal that means we’re now one round away from a game at the W place in North London. Aside from us there’s only Manchester City along with the winners of tonight’s games between Everton  / Manchester United and Stoke / Spurs left in the competition. It was an evening that saw Thomas Frank picking a team of familiar faces if not entirely made up of regular starters but certainly one well, well good enough to do a job. They didn’t let him, or the fans, down. Instead, the reaction from certain quarters and usual suspects to our team announcement left a hell of a lot of egg on face when the full time whistle went.

official capture the moment – and why not!!

It was a night to rank up there with the third round defeat of Everton. I was going to add ‘a few seasons’ ago but, incredibly, that was 2010. A decade gone already. Cripes, it feels like yesterday and perhaps even more highlights our lack of success in this, or any, cup competition. Early exits with nothing but a handful of memorable moments to test the grey matter. Fourth round defeats at Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City about as good as it has got. To date. Not now though. 

My word that was immense. Oh to have been there in person. Yet, in a bizarre way, we were all in it together. All suffering in isolation at home. All willing the team on to beat Newcastle. Most of us backing them. All of us desperate for the win. Of course, for the good cheer it would bring but as much as anything else to shut up the dickhead element. The legion of armchair managers doing their thing when the team was announced almost desperate for a perceived weaker team to be revealed so they could vent their usual bile.

Why why oh why! Disgraceful team selection for 1/4 final of cup!

Only a quarter final nothing important f&@k sake

No ambition.

What an absolute shambles – who do Brentford think they are? Quarter Final and a chance of Europe and he names that team??

What the actual f@&k has he done that for?

I cannot get over how much he has f@&ked up that starting XI. My head is gone.    

These, just a few of the erudite observations on social media. Nothing like a bit of loyal support but it made what came next even sweeter. A team with a spine of Pinnock, Mads, Sergi, Vitaly, Josh and Marcus Forss up top is one you’d quite easily expect (and be happy with) in a league game. Supplement that with a whole host of familiar faces from the bench, including captain for the night Luke Daniels, and this was hardly the stuff of capitulation. Hardly a team set up to fail. This was Thomas Frank doing what we’ve said , all season, he’ll have not choice but to do. Use his squad to see us through. Try everything possible to get us past December and the horror run that sees us backs up to play 9 games in 31 days.

He must be doing something right. It was one way traffic in the first half with Ghoddos hitting the crossbar, Marcondes coming close and Sergi somehow heading wide when unmarked just yards out. Hey, not even he can be perfect every time. Newcastle United riding their luck and the feeling that, perhaps, if we didn’t take chances then it could get tense late on. Anything but.

One sharp save from Daniels aside and a few jittery clearances (Dom Thompson solid as, too) I don’t recall much attacking intent from our visitors. Instead, Brentford picked up where we left off with Sergi Canos providing a delightful ball across the box which Josh Dasilva blasted home with just over an hour gone. Oh. My. Word. What a ball. What a finish. What. A. Goal!!!! Another beer? Don’t mind if I do. It went nuts at our place. I’m sure the same all over TW8 or wherever our fans were gathered. 

1-0 up and what to do? Hang on or go for it? Within moments, Thomas Frank had pulled off Sergi and replaced him with Ivan Toney. There was a statement of intent. A well earned rest for the magnificent Spaniard and a chance for Ivan to do his thing once more. He almost did, too. A chance late on producing a finger tip save and, as importantly, helping wind down that clock through an excruciating four minutes of mystery time added on.

Let’s not forget either the return to fitness of Christian Nørgaard. A player who has been missing for so long it would seem that even ‘official’ have forgotten how to spell his name. It’s amazing to think that we’ve gone on our mammoth unbeaten run despite the enforced absence of a player who would, ordinarily, be one of the first names on the team sheet. His entry into the field of play on the hour had been well telegraphed by Thomas but still produced a cheer from our sofa. Albeit. Not as as big as the one at full time. Yess!! My word !!!! F*ckin’ incredible ! A fourth Premier league team beaten this season. For context, that’s the same as Arsenal and double the amount FulhamL have in the actual Premier league. Two times better? Ah, who cares about them? This is about us. About adding Newcastle United to an ever growing list of top flight scalps. About now needing to sit through Everton – Manchester United in order to await the post match draw for the semi finals.

Christian who now?

Will it be Spurs? Might it be Manchester City? Oh for the chance to emulate our heroes of ’89 once more. You see what we were saying about cup moments being few and far between ? Truly, this is a thing to savour. Knowing Brentford it’ll end up being Stoke City which, for the record, I’m sure is something deemed as unpalatable in the Potteries as it would be down South. 

Destiny beckons. Thomas Frank and his team continue to earn the plaudits and praise that they richly deserve. To ride the wave of bull being directed at them from our twat element. Tap, tap, tap, tap. What’’s that noise? Oh, the sound of social media being deleted. The post match hypocrisy a thing of beauty to behold. The frank out hashtag having been early thawed out having to be returned to the freezer once more.

Oh dear.

Perhaps, this time, it might actually stay there. The whole thing has been an embarrassment and a colossal disrespect to the squad . F*ck you. This is OUR moment. And I’m not gong to let a bunch of morons ruin it.

Ah, you know what. It’s their problem. Hating is easy. Having a bit of trust much harder. Perhaps years of having to answer the question, ‘Brentwood? In Essex?’ makes the positive approach that bit easier. Not so much thinking that we’re ‘little old Brentford’ (because we’re well, well beyond that) but simply remembering our history and where we’ve come from.  Of recognising that the players, approach and mentality now instilled is nothing like anything we’ve ever had before.

This is Brentford 2.0 . And I love it !!! Now bring on Manchester City. Or Stoke.

Bliss doing his thing against Manchester City in the fourth round – January 1989

Nick Bruzon

Banging the drum for our Triple J.

25 Nov

Another game unbeaten. Another clean sheet. Another goal for Ivan Toney. Another three points for Thomas Frank’s squad. Brentford left Oakwell on the right end of a 1-0 win over Barnsley on Tuesday. The run now up to six games without defeat whilst conceding a mere two goals over that period. The Bees are sitting within touching distance of the play-off zone – up to eighth in the Championship table ahead of tonight’s fixtures. Then there’s the small matter of the game on Friday night. A televised visit from the Shepherds Bush outfit.

Ivan does it again

The obvious talking point ahead of kick-off was the team announcement. Ghoddos out. Canos out. Janelt and Fosu both starting whilst Ethan Pinnock also made a return. No arguments with any of that although Mads Bech can perhaps count himself unlucky after impressing to date. As noted last time out, the performances against Wycombe and Middlesbrough had been somewhat of a ‘challenge’ to sit through. Defensively sound but stifled creatively. Most of the midfield / attacking force failing to impress and, whilst I still can’t get my head around the vitriol directed towards one player, it was clear some changes were needed.

Change is what we got. The addition of Janelt to the centre of the park adding more solidity. Doing to Barnsley what had been done to us in recent weeks. Good luck Thomas Frank once Christian Norgaard is fit ! With it came the added confidence to push up. Tarique Fosu finally unleashed and having a blinder, too. An early shot from the edge of the box coming close but Jack Walton in nets managed to keep it out. Rico Henry could also count himself unlucky with a similar effort as Brentford went for it from the off before the game settled down.  One smart stop from Raya aside, there was little else to recall. Barnsley barely given a chance to threaten as the Bees waited for what seemed like the inevitable goal. 

It was only a matter of time, suggested Mick Cabble on the Iplayer comms team. Mind you, we’d felt the same against Middlesbrough and Wycombe, only to see them end in those insipid 0-0 draws. This one was different though. The second half began with Marcondes (2019/20’s Canos – we need one every season, it seems) on for Josh Dasilva. All being well that’s nothing more than precautionary. Like Rico, Ethan, David and Ivan he’s been up there in our best and most consistent performers so far. Long may that continue – especially with Friday’s big one approaching.

Brentford pushed up once more (the absence of that chant another reason to abhor the current situation of empty stadia).  Mbeumo came close before who else but Ivan Toney was there to remind us of the way to goal? With just over an hour gone, he rose like a salmon to guide home a Mathias Jensen corner. 1-0. Game on. Pressure off. It really was a precision effort. The technique and the steer all about what made this one. Placement over power as Walton was left with a mountain to climb trying to get even half-way close.

It could have been double almost straight after. Toney charging Walton to force a hurried clearance which fell to Mbeumo via Marcondes. The wideman broke forward, sofas at home already relived of the pressure as we all leapt to our feet in anticipation. Nooo. He fired just high and just wide. It could, probably should, have been two. I can imagine the Twitter meltdown had it been another player 😉 . Instead of cruising over the line we were left hanging on to the thought that one freak moment, one mishap and things would be level. But it wasn’t to be. 

Canos and Forss both made it on to the pitch late, with the former cueing up the later for a chance that – like Mbeumo – the player may well be frustrated about not burying. That’s football. We got the win and the record books will reflect three more points to Brentford. The table does’t lie and we wake up this morning to see the Bees just one win away from third placed Bristol City. Frank out !

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, that’s for sure. I’ve never professed to be an expert when it comes to football but at the same time, it was clear something hasn’t been working. Personally speaking,  I loved the combination of Janelt, Josh and Jensen in the middle and will certainly be banging the drum for our Triple J once again. Probably a little more niche than the BMW or FT Index but if you know you know.

Niche

Of what is probably broader discussion on social media, could Thomas Frank’s rolling of the dice marked Fosu prove to be a key moment in the season? Certainly Tarique took his chance in some style and must be a shoe in for Friday. Only time will tell on the anger term choices but with the games coming non-stop, it won’t be the last change we see. Sergi will be back. So will Saman. Sometimes those selections will be expected. Others, not so. That’s the one thing we have been calling all season – that squad use is going to be pivotal. If for no other reason than the increased substitution ruling has given more flexibility. Yesterday’s game already seeing us make four changes mid-match.

For now, I can’t see any change for Friday. Injury aside. We’ve continued to look solid at the back but despite ‘only’ scoring one goal, it never felt in doubt. There was confidence and attacking intent. A midweek trip to Yorkshire in the cold has all the appeal of sitting down to watch the Mrs Browns Boys Christmas special (warning – it IS coming back. Again. Like cockroaches, I can imagine Mrs. Brown and her cardigan would be the only thing to survive nuclear war). 

However, we rose to the challenge and held firm when it counted. There won’t be any amongst us who wouldn’t have taken a 1-0 had it, somehow, been able to be offered prior to kick off. With Quarter Pound off Rubbish next up, Brentford couldn’t have found a better time to return to winning ways. Now, over to you Peter Gilham. Something about a team talk….

You know it would happen

Nick Bruzon

Is our form all down to one player?

23 Nov

Well, we’re back in action. Whatever that means. Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Wycombe Wanderers was a masterclass in frustration for a Brentford team that had endured similar in the previous game – that 0-0 with Middlesbrough before International break took hold. We’ve back to back fixtures with Barnsley and then Quarter Pound of Rubbish before the weekend. With them, the opportunity to fine tune our game and get the goals flowing once more. Likewise, a chance to prove we are a team. That all our woes (if you can call being six points off second place ‘woes’) are not the fault of one man. Yes, the online hate mob were back and Sergi is once more the player in their sights.

Sergi gets stuck in on Saturday

It was a terrible game played out in a Craven Cottage atmosphere. Rattling around an empty stadium no longer working to our advantage as it did last season when it was a short term ‘novelty’ (and that word is used in the loosest sense). Brentford adjusted to it quickly. Everybody else has caught up. Football is now much more of an 11 v 11 thing with the lack of crowd and passion dragging everybody down. Fans frustrated on their sofas. I know I am.

Its awful. I want to be there. Cheering them on. Screaming. Giving the lino what for. Instead, we still have that sterile feeling of what, to all intents and purposes, has the feel of a reserve game. This should be the Championship. Instead it feels like The Football Combination.   

That’s not to lay all the blame for an awful afternoon at the feet of the Corona Virus crowd restrictions. Brentford still struggled to break down resolute opposition. As we did against Middlesbrough. Fair play to Wycombe. Despite us having the better chances – Bryan Mbeumo in particular and Josh Dasilva late on – they were few and far between. Our hosts locked us out and stifled all flair. Another vital point on the board for the Adams Park outfit. The Bees lacking the tactical nous to get through them – even with the much demanded pairing of Forss and Toney getting a run out for the final half hour.  

You know what? Had Sergi been at his very best then we might have won. But you could say that about anybody outside of the defence. All our frustrations are not the fault of one player. He’s not been at his creative best the last few games but who has? We’re not scoring and we’re not creating. That’s not because of one man. Cripes, some of the replies to this one….

Here are the simple facts. After 12 games we’re in eleventh and a mere six points off second place. We’ve not lost in five league games, conceding just two goals over that run. In Ivan Toney, Brentford have a player going neck and neck with Blackburn’s Adam Armstrong at the top of the Championship goal scoring charts. Let’s not forget, either, we’re in the quarter finals of the League Cup. A tie with Newcastle United , and the bizarre possibility of being one step closer to European football, awaits.

This time last season, played 12, we were in thirteenth place and 8 points behind second placed Leeds United. We’d limped out of the League Cup at the first attempt, to Cambridge United.

Nice work, Sergi et al. We’re doing better than last season, in much tougher circumstances ! Frank IN ! The table doesn’t lie.

Then and now

So yes, it has been tough going the last few games. We’ve not fully found our feet, that’s for sure. In part it’s down to the environment. In part we’re still acclimatising to those departures and new arrivals. Still finding what the best option is. Still recovering from injuries that continue to come thick and fast – Ethan Pinnock was the latest to miss out this time around.

Perhaps, even, still getting over the play-off campaign. Urhghh, watching the awfulness of FulhamL on Sunday lunchtime as they made it 7(seven) defeats out of 9 games was an absolute kick to the nuts. They truly are dreadful – but enough about their penalty taking. Surely we’d have held our own heads higher and put in a better performance than that? Built on our squad rather than readjust to new starters.

It hasn’t been fun in recent games but my own personal take on it is that nobody deserves the torrent of abuse being directed at individuals or the team. We’re hardly in the same position as Wayne Rooney’s Derby County. The Bees aren’t losing, we’re better placed than this time last season and we’ve got a trip to Barnsley on Tuesday night. It won’t be easy but the Championship never is. For years it has been described as the most competitive and exciting in Europe. Few could deny the former this time around, even if recent games have been somewhat lacking on thrills.

Now bring on Barnsley. Then the small matter of a visit from the Shepherds Bush team……

Nick Bruzon

Mmm. Booom. Oh, what a win.

20 Sep

And with that Brentford have the first points on the board, the first league win at Lionel Road and remain unbeaten at our new home. Huddersfield Town the latest to be put to the sword. In a week that saw us win 2-0 at Southampton in the energy drink League Cup, the Bees followed it up with a 3-0 Championship defeat of the Terriers. With David Raya now recovered, although missing out to Luke Daniels, it was a victory that was left late although on the balance of chances created one that always felt as though it was coming. The first half in particular saw Ivan Toney come very close on a number of occasions. Whilst the goal didn’t come this time, the link up play and positional awareness is already sparking hope that when it does, the floodgates will open.

‘Official’ shared this one at full time on Twitter

Brentford looked comfortable throughout. The odd moment of danger aside, Huddersfield weren’t at the races. We should have gone in ahead although were happy to stay level in terms of playing staff. Christian Nørgaard very much sitting in the last chance saloon after a yellow and a very stern talking to for a subsequent challenge.

The goals were brilliant. All three of them. Thomas Frank would talk about his BMW losing two wheels but he has replaced it with a sheet of MDF. Mbeumo, Dasilva and Forss providing the building blocks on which the points were earned. 

JoshDasilva, got the first, just inside the hour. A shot from the edge of the box (does he do anything else) beating Ben Hamer after great work from Uncle Justins’ favourite player, Rico Henry, down the left. The man of the match had a quite wonderful afternoon (Josh, not Justin) and he set the Bees on their way.

The second and third were left late. Marcus Forss finishing off a great move involving Mbeumo, Batpiste and Nørgaard  at various points to double the lead with a cool finish. Or should that be cool Finnish? It was due reward for the man who set League One alight on loan at AFC Wimbledon last season as well as having already impressed in the red and white. What another great option to have available for Thomas Frank and what a way to keep Ivan on his toes.

The icing on the cake was Mbeumo doing what he does best . Curling one in to the top corner from distance. ‘Official’ have it down as 16 yards. It felt more. It looked amazing. It rounded off a wonderful afternoon. Brentford back to wining ways and moving up the nascent table. We could have beaten Birmingham. With had the opportunities created gone in. This time around, there was no mistake. The Bees never really under pressure. 

Indeed, the biggest danger was probably more to the laptop screen than the Brentford  defence. Specifically, in attempting to run the gauntlet of the log in process for i-follow. A task made infinitely harder by the fact that despite being given vouchers to watch the game, they could only be redeemed by also adding your credit card detail and then paying £0.00. Twenty minutes to work that out. Twenty. Blinkin’ . Minutes. It’s obvious, when you think about it. Credit card details are required to redeem a free token. Why didn’t it say it anywhere!!! Seems I wasn’t alone, either, although the issue eventually resolved through whatsapp and Twitter trouble showing. 

The other thing really starting to irk was the “Isn’t Lionel Road amazing” brigade on social media. Yes. We know. It looks fantastic. We have eyes. The constant reminders and photos from everyone lucky enough to be there – whether in an official or journalistic capacity (and there are some spurious feeling ones) are now at the point of being OTT, unnecessary and unwelcome. Reign it in a bit, please. Everyone. 

The fans are desperate to get in. We all know why we can’t. We’re all being tremendously accepting of the bigger picture situation. We gave up our money last season. We’ll likely do the same this time around. There’s no need to continue what comes across as, being honest, gloating. I’m sure its not deliberate  – and listening to Cliff Crown with Mark Burridge at half time we know the club want the fans back  – but the constant photos and reminders only serve to heighten the fact that we are all missing out.

That said, the interview with our Chairman did produce an unintentional (I hope) gem from our commentator par-excellence. His observation that, ”Having to sanitise the mic after Cliff Crown has touched it” something that at any other time would probably have earned hi his marching orders.

Nobody means anything malicious, I am sure. I’d love to be back watching live football. I’m not. I want to be there with my fellow supporters. Perhaps I’m being over sensitive but, equally, perhaps a bit of added awareness wouldn’t go amiss either. Fair play to Marcus Bean, filling the pundit roles on I-follow, for acknowledging this golden ticket he’d won and stating it so eloquently.    

All that will come, I am sure. For now let’s enjoy the team we have and the result. West Bromwich Albion await in the third round of the league cup on Tuesday night and then we’ve got the trip to Millwall. Or, rather, our press corps do. Enjoy that one. Be just our luck we get the win with no fans there. I’d take that !!! 

We’ll be missing the traditional Millwall welcome next week

Nick Bruzon