Tag Archives: Macron

Bees win at Bolton but Barbet wins at Twitter

24 Sep

And relax. Brentford thumped Bolton Wanderers 3-0 at the Macron on Saturday to record an opening league victory and move out of the bottom three. With Birmingham City failing to win (again), this time at a Derby County side who come to Griffin Park on Tuesday, it marked a quite wonderful afternoon for Bees fans. And players – for whom three stunning goals scored by Ollie Watkins, Nico Yennaris and Yoann Barbet were the icing on the cake of a performance that head coach Dean Smith has been promising for weeks.

If it was vindication for Dean Smith then what must it have been like for Yoann Barbet? The Frenchman started on the bench after taking what was, quite rightly, considered to be one of the all-time worst penalties ever seen at Griffin Park on Tuesday night. How he got such height from just 12 yards out was beyond the laws of physics in itself.

An early substitution for John Egan (Dean Smith telling BBC Billy Reeves that “He felt dizzy, felt coming off was for the good of the team” after getting a cut lip) saw Yoann enter the field of play. It saw him leave it at full time having been named ‘STAR of the day’. Not my words but those of the official EFL twitter feed. Although words I’d happily agree with.

Barbet EFL

Took his chance – and then some…

Sometimes, you just have to hold up your hands. Tuesday’s penalty was horrific. It lead to my own post match column noting that : “We’ve a tradition of centre backs hoofing dead balls over the bar. See also that ill-fated period of giving spot kick duties to number 26 … Likewise Miguel Llera and his attempts to channel Sam Saunders but which were more akin to Jonny Wilkinson. Why not just give it to a striker? A player whose job it it to strike the ball. To find the back of the net“.

Hmm. Ok. That’s why I’m the numpty on the terrace and Dean is the head coach. Clearly there’s something that we don’t see on the training ground because this effort, to open the scoring, was just about as good as it got.

Pick that out. Just about unstoppable and given the space available on the other side of the goal, the last thing any of us expected. More importantly, the last place Bolton expected it to end up. It was a truly wonderful effort.

It was an effort that would later see Yoann win at Twitter. For all the cracks from supporters about the Norwich effort, he nailed things with a clear demonstration of that team spirit Dean has been telling us about week in, week out.

Barbet Bolton tweet

Yoann wins Twitter

It was a strike that made the final four of ‘goal of the day’ on Sky Sports news and was joined by our second. Step up Nico Yennaris. He doesn’t seem to do easy, that’s for sure. If the one against Birmingham City at St. Andrews last season was special, then this just about blew it out of the park. How does he do it? And so often?

You really had to feel for Ben Alnwick in the Bolton goal. If there had been little chance with Yoann’s curler, then he was left equally helpless here. They could have had two goalkeepers and it still would have gone in. 2-0 up and surely, now, the points secure.

But with the first half delayed by 7(seven) minutes and the second half starting late due to a kids penalty competition still taking place whilst the players were lined up to start, this had all the elements of squeaky bum time in it.

Anything but. Here came Ollie Watkins to heap further misery on Bolton. Ben Alnwick must have run over a cat on the way in because here was another thunderbolt to take the back of the net off. What a strike. You’ll have to catch the highlights on Channel 5 for that one but do take a look. They’re well, well worth a viewing. I’ll update this at mid-day once the Mark Burridge version goes up. It promises to be something very special….

Yoann and team do their thing, officially 

Three nil. Three points. Brentford finally finding their shooting boots and keeping it tight at the back. Dean Smith’s faith was unshakeable, as demonstrated in that aforementioned interview with Billy.

Our head coach was also honest enough to tell ‘official’ that: “I didn’t think we started very well in the opening ten minutes. They got into our faces and we didn’t move the ball as we would have liked but after that we took over the game.” This, before going on to enthuse about “three valuable points with three wonderful goals.” Do check out the full article. It’s been a while coming.

All very well and very easy to do after you’ve won. But still on message. We’ve criticised our indecision when it came to shooting after that Reading game. Even 7(seven) year old Felix Watts getting in on the act when he noted that , “The only thing we had to do today was shoot. Really quickly. When they were in the penalty box at Griffin Park all we had to do was shoot but we kept passing it.

What a way to answer that. But, more importantly, was it a flash in the pan? Or have we now turned the corner? The visit of Derby County on Tuesday night promises to be a huge test for the Bees. But a fascinating one.

Will Dean change his starting XI, again? This was our 12th different line up in 12 league and cup games. Might he have no choice if Yoann has played his way in past John Egan? Were Bolton Wanderers the cannon fodder that many expected or a strong team that felt the wrath of what can happen when we play as well as we’ve done in training, do it for 90 minutes and have that run of good fortune?

Without wanting to get ahead of ourselves, victory for Brentford would take us to within a point of Derby. Victory for the Rams would take them to within a point of the play-offs. This one will be huge and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. See you there….

And on a purely personal note, I’d like to thank Bolton for featuring my own thoughts as ‘away fan’ in the programme column yesterday. Moreso, the picture they used, in the Spall 87-88 away shirt. I apologise for the somewhat gratuitous size – nobody needs yours truly that close up. Yet it is included in today’s column as I’m pretty sure we’ve seen that picture and shirt somewhere before.

Fulham, wasn’t it…..?

Bolton and Fulham programmes

Nick Bruzon

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As cup draw shows what might have been, where do you stand ?

21 Sep

As one last piece of fall out from the EFL cup defeat, Brentford fans now know who we would have been drawn against had we beaten Norwich City. With the Canaries having been handed the seemingly plum tie of a trip to Arsenal, I’ve seen several supporters bemoaning our own missing out on a trip to The Emirates stadium.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even watch the draw this time around. The overly convoluted methodology used for rounds 1-3 had long since sapped any interest I may had had. That, and nothing to do with our capitulation against Norwich, were the reasons that an early night seemed an infinitely more palatable option. As such, it was a case of waking up to Arsenal this, draw that on my Twitter timeline this morning.

Yet at the case of formally labelling myself as the most boring man on the planet, rather than a visit to Arsenal the reward for a Brentford victory would (by my rough calculations) have been a home tie with Bristol City. And that’s assuming the balls had then been pulled in the same order.

The numerical sequencing (with Tuesday winners numbered 1-11) would have seen the Bees slot in at number 2 instead of Bristol City. They’d have taken the place of ball 3, Crystal Palace, and the tie that now sees the Robins host the Eagles would actually have seen them heading to Griffin Park for the chance to earn a quarter final slot.

Draw

A fourth round with Arsenal, Bristol City and Norwich. But no Brentford

It’s all conjecture. Free to concentrate in the league until January, our own immediate future sees the trip to bottom club Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, followed by Tuesday night’s game with Derby County. It’s a shame from many respects as a fourth round tie at home to a fellow Championship club would have presented a wonderful chance of progress. Mind you, we’d have said the same prior to Norwich City visiting and look how that ended up. A 3-1 defeat and one of the worst penalties ever seen.

Head Coach Dean Smith has already said his piece on how the third round ended up, telling BBC Radio London: “It’s not relevant (in terms of morale) at all compared to Saturday.”

Whether he would be saying the same thing now, having seen how the draw has panned out I do wonder. Likewise, I’m surprised he doesn’t think a win would have been good for the buzz around Griffin Park. I guess that’s why I’m the numpty on the terrace and he’s the head coach.

Still, there’s no point crying over a split milk (cup). Norwich deserved it. We didn’t. Here’s to a morale boosting win on Saturday instead. Three points at The Macron now very much the order of the day and, as Dean also noted in that BBC piece, “Bolton is very important to us and we’ll have a lot of fresh players come back for that.”

I’m not going to avoid the elephant in the room here. As is typical in this situation, I’ve seen some supporters calling for a change. That Thomas Frank or King Kev should be parachuted into the head coach role. For the record, my own thoughts are anything but at present. Putting aside the constant references to bad luck, refereeing and our own ‘wonderful’ performances, this is not the time or the place.

With a set up that includes two directors of football and multiple coaches, we win or lose together. We’ve even had a specialist in the provision of strategy, leadership, cultural engagement and performance management solutions and skills join the board with the announcement yesterday that Monique Choudhuri has been named as a club director.

With our current football philosophy, one man should not be made the solitary scapegoat for current results. Nor should he take all the plaudits when things go well.

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#WelcomeMonique ?

Let’s not forget that over the summer we were told how wonderful the scouting set up had been in helping bring in all these wonderful new players. And we have undoubtedly picked up some real gems over the last few seasons. Albeit it’s quite understandable that Dean is the focal point for how things go on the pitch. That his role is to pick the best team for the job. To have a consistent side. To motivate them. A side selected from the players he has had made available to him by our set up. And in my opinion, on Tuesday he got that all wrong.

Equally, his role is to get the best out of what he has. To say the right things when results don’t quite go to plan. I don’t get the ‘self-pity’ excuse thing. I don’t agree that we are yet to play a team better than us in the league. Four draws and four defeats tell you everything you need to know on that front. But I do think he is coming under an undue amount of flak at present. He is a head coach that has guided us to top ten Championship finishes over his two seasons in charge. For a club that has made no secret of the need to sell to survive.

If Dean can settle on his best XI, and pick it. If Dean can find a Plan B rather than subs by number or giving those like for like entrants to the field of play just a few minutes when the game is all but lost. If he can get some luck on the fitness side where the returns of Sergi Canos and Lasse Vibe alone would be huge, then expect things to change.

Roll on this week’s press conferences. I’m not a journalist but, if I was , my first question to Dean would be – who is your starting XI if everybody is fit? Followed closely by, when are we going to get a win?

Here’s to the weekend when hopefully we can find out.

Barbet pen Norwich

Tuesday happened. Move along

Nick Bruzon

Bees make Walsall pact as Lee signs off at Bolton

1 Dec

Well that was some day. It was confirmed that agreement had been reached with Walsall to make Dean Smith the new head-coach of Brentford, prior to our match at Bolton Wanderers. The home side, meanwhile, failed to pay their players – a point that the watching Sky TV commentary team flogged to within an inch of its life before, during and after the game.

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The club announced Dean Smith as new head coach

And, of course, there was a game of football. Lee Carsley’s final match in his second stint as caretaker saw a 1-1 draw after Chelsea loanee John Swift had given Brentford an early lead with a beautiful goal from the edge of the box. An interchange of high speed passes with Alan Judge was followed by his opening up the Bolton defence before curling it home from the edge of the box.

It was a strike of real quality and one that, if we’re being honest, Brentford should probably have pushed on from to secure all three points. Swift had a very strong shout for a penalty that, instead, saw him booked for simulation. Peter Beagrie in the Sky punditry role deeming that, because he hadn’t given any back chat after being booked, then it must have been a dive. Is it too much to expect that a modern player could actually just respect the referee’s decision?

Then again, Carl Boyeson seemed to be very much set to ‘Uriah Rennie random booking generator’ mode. How Mark Davies stayed on the pitch after a first half horror challenge on Toumani I’ll never know. It got worse with every viewing, with even Beagrie later admitting the Bolton man should have gone.

Fair play to Lee Carsley who, rather than moan about it afterwards, took the diplomatic line of saying that it was the sort of thing that the norm when he was a player. I wonder if he would have been so sporting had it resulted in a medical situation?

But this wasn’t a game of one-way traffic. Bolton were allowed into the game and had as many, if not more, chances than the Bees. For all that Swift looked wonderful going forward, lets just say that the defensive element of his game needs some work on it whilst Ryan Woods was very quiet.

Despite Jake Bidwell almost finding the back of the net early into the second period (which, incredibly, would have been a first for him) when he headed just wide, the goal that Wanderers had been threatening eventually came just after the hour. Neil Danns fired one in off the post from distance after the Bees failed to clear as Bolton started to turn the screw.

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Sky show Ryan Woods take the brunt of the clearance to Danns

Indeed, Brentford were fortunate to keep things level before our own late burst that saw Lasse Vibe come desperately close. But it finished 1-1 – the clichéd ‘fair result’ – as the Bees now sit 3 points away from the play-off teams.

Dean Smith was present but understandably played no visible role beyond a burgeoning bromance with commercial director Mike Sullivan. Co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen, sitting open shirted alongside them, seemed very much the gooseberry in that threesome. Certainly to those of us watching at home.

And on that subject, hats off to those who did travel. 396 for a Monday night televised game, where the overall crowd of just under 13,000 seemed to rattle around the Macron, is an impressive effort. Moreso in the run up to the busy Christmas period. Equally though, similar praise is due to the club for laying on the coach travel.

The other point of potential note goes to James Tarkowski. With Harlee Dean suspended for another two games, Tarks picked up his fourth yellow of the season. Another one at home to MK Dons on Saturday could give Dean Smith a selection poser for the subsequent trip to Fulham. Who’d be a head coach?

Not Lee Carsley. He signs off after ten games with a record of: W5 D2 L3. More importantly though, he has put the self-belief back into both the squad and the fans after a start to the campaign which could be politely called ‘bumpy’.

We’re winning games again and playing attacking football. “That belonged in the Premier League” declared co-commentator Don Goodman at one point. Who am I to argue?

Thank you, Lee !!

Lee Carsley MOTM

Lee steps down with an impressive record

Nick Bruzon

Don’t moan Bees. Look at Birmingham, Leeds and Ipswich

26 Oct

What a Championship Saturday that was. Brentford drew 2-2 with Bolton (or lost 3-1 depending on if you were watching the half time Zorb action or the main event), Birmingham City and Bournemouth shared 8 goals between one of the two teams whilst Leeds United changed managers. As for Ipswich Town, their home game with Huddersfield Town was graced with a visit from Clem….

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 along.

Who's this with his eyes on the target?

Who’s this with his eyes on the target?

Despite keeping Clem behind bars, did his presence deny Ipswich a win?

Despite keeping Clem behind bars, did his presence deny Ipswich a win?

Bees and Bolton set for gladiatorial combat – and that’s just HT

25 Oct

Brentford travel to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday for a game in which a win would see us move back to the fringes of the promotion race. With Bolton currently second from bottom and enduring a goal difference of -13, the lowest in the Championship, perhaps some Bees fans could be forgiven for expecting three gift-wrapped points.

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 along.

Lots of pretty play. No end product

22 Oct

Brentford were held to a 0-0 draw by visiting Sheffield Wednesday – our second in three days – following the trip to Wigan Athletic. It was a game that, on the occasion of our 125th anniversary, promised much but ultimately failed to deliver a goal or three points.

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 along.