Tag Archives: Miguel Llera

Out of the cup but where next?

20 Sep

Brentford 1 Norwich City 3. We’re out of the EFL Cup after a night in which we were never even close to being in it. Hey, let’s be positive though. At least Bolton Wanderers lost ahead of Saturday after their long trip to West Ham.

Dean Smith would later describe the second half performance as being “insipid” but I’d also question if he watched the opening period.  It was a 45 minutes punctuated by strange refereeing decisions and a Bees team who were second to just about everything.

And if you’d like to read more whilst helping the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust …. the rest of this article can now be found in the Kindle e-book Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races.

As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself about the likes of Betinho, Martin Fillo, Javi Venta and Marcos Tebar. Certainly, if there’s no Marcos Tea Bar at Lionel Road it will be an opportunity missed.

All proceeds from any sales will go to the Community Sports Trust. For less than the cost of a half / pint respectively, they may help while away some time on the commute. By the pool on holiday. In the bathroom. Who knows? It will certainly do some good for the Trust, whose work has been well documented at Griffin Park but you can read all about it on their site.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve been given something very special. A 2017/18 third team shirt with Lewis Macleod’s squad number on the reverse in the EFL typeface. Anyone with half an interest in Bees kits will know that these were never made available in the club shop.  Anyone who has read any of this before will know what a kit nerd yours truly is so when I say this is rare, take that in good faith!

To be in with a chance of owning it, download a copy of either before the end of June 2018 and you’ll go into a draw to win this. Just DM/tweet me (@NickBruzon) a copy of your purchase confirmation mail and I’ll add your name to the list before selecting a random Bees fan to win this on July 1st.

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Barbet pen Norwich

Barbet’s pen. (Inset: now)

 

 

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Dean Smith – nice trainers ; tough challenge

Nick Bruzon

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Brilliant Bees have their chips stolen by Seagulls. But what a game and what a goal!

5 Feb

Is it wrong to walk out of that game feeling totally crushed? If ever there was a rollercoaster ride of footballing emotion then here it was as Brighton left Griffin Park with a point that looked anything but expected for huge periods of this game. That it ended 3-3 was beyond most people’s comprehension with the clock showing 94 minutes played and the score at 2-2.

Anybody who wasn’t here missed one of the games of the season. Anybody who wasn’t here missed one of THE goals of the season as Konstantin Kerschbaumer’s late strike sent tidal waves of delirium cascading over Griffin Park with the Bees retaking a lead they’d held for all but the final 12 minutes of the game. It was a lead we held until all but the final 12 seconds of the game as Brighton broke Brentford hearts to snatch a late, late equaliser.

If you were there then you know what happened. If you weren’t then there’s the BBC, Brentford official, Beesotted etc. You all know the drill by now. We don’t do in-depth match reports here. I’ll leave that to the likes of Billy – Reeves and/or Grant. That said, whether you were or weren’t then do check out the highlights, which Sky TV have already put up on their website.

With barely twenty minute gone, the Bees had raced into a two goal lead. The first a back heel from Jota that was as delicious as a half time cup of Bovril. The second, a powerful header from Harlee Dean.

Reminiscent of Terry Evans” was the verdict for one terrace wag whilst discussing the opening period on the forecourt over a well deserved cup of the aforementioned meat extract drink. And yes, it was. Yet Big Tel wouldn’t have driven forward so purposefully for so long. With a two man central defence restored, Harlee has looked even bigger and better than before. Even charging forward on breakaway runs whilst leaving Ryan Woods to cover. He’s been magnificent.

The second half could have seen it all wrapped up. Another blitzkrieg raid from Jota saw a penalty earned. Lasse Vibe stepped up, only to see the diving Stockdale in the Brighton goal somehow get a hand to it and send the ball looping over the Ealing Road in a trajectory not seen on a dead ball since Miguel Llera lined up for the Bees.

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Jota all of a blur as he shredded Brighton

No matter, this one was still in the bag. Surely? Brentford had been simply magnificent up until this point. Whilst the penalty had, somehow, been saved another goal was only a matter of time. And sure enough, it came. To Brighton.

What? This wasn’t in the script. Moreso, when it was followed three minutes later by another. Shane Duffy (who I could have sworn was part of popular music’s Boyzone) headed home for 2-2.  Noooo. How could this happen? We should be 3-0 up. not pegged back to 2-2. Not on the ropes and reeling as only poor finishing and Daniel Bentley’s point blank save stopped the Seagulls from stealing all three points as though they were a tourist’s chips.

And then, it happened. With 7(seven) minutes on the board, most of those had elapsed when KK picked up a through ball from Alan McCormack just inside the Brighton half.

I repeat: KK picked up a through ball from Alan McCormack. Oh, how these two have been conspicuous by their absence yet coming off the bench they showed Dean Smith just what he had been missing out on all these months.

Like Forrest Gump (except quality entertainment) he ran. And ran. An exchange of passes with Lasse Vibe just outside the Brighton box was met with a crushing drive, low into the bottom corner past the despairing Stockdale.

Yeeeeessssssssss! The net rippled, there was the briefest of silences as we all registered what happened and then Griffin Park exploded. 9000 voices erupting as one in an outpouring of joy I haven’t heard the likes of at home since Jota did that thing against Fulham. In the last minute.

Oh, what a moment. Word cannot describe how that felt. Utter joy. Utter jubilation . Utterly deserved. 3-2 up. Three points in the bag. Even quality journalists such as the BBC, and also Ian Moose from Talksport,  had declared it as a win. All we had to do was run out the clock.

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KK is in there, somewhere

Yet Brighton are pushing Newcastle United neck and neck at the top of the Championship table for good reason. With the totally ineffectual Glenn Murray having been replaced, the Seagulls had finally looked like a team worthy of their lofty position. And with virtually the last play of the match, it was their fans who had their own moment of ecstasy. Tomer Hemed being the man to head home an equaliser that, if KK had provided the orgasmic denouement, was the equivalent of then being told “Its not you, its me”.

Brentford had been well and truly dumped.

Yes. I walked out of Griffin Park feeling crushed. But a bit of past match perspective is a wonderful thing. Two weeks ago we were a team who had struggled to put more than 20 minutes of pressure on our opponents. Now we’ve destroyed Aston Villa and, arguably, should have had another three points after making Brighton look like relegation fodder rather than title contenders for huge swathes of this game.

The new look formation and a couple of judicious changes have worked wonders. We’ve scored six goals in two games since the day Scott Hogan was sold to an Aston Villa side who remain behind us in the table. KK’s moment of brilliance is one I’ll never forget. As one Braemar Road observer would later reflect, “I think that Kersch goal is up in my all-time list that I’ve seen live.”

I wouldn’t disagree. Chin up lads, you were magnificent today. Again. Chin up Tom Field and Lasse Vibe. You were both wonderful and totally underserving of the respective tweets that you have been forced to post. Heckling your own players after this one? Feeling guilty about missing a spot kick?

Utter nonsense. I feel blessed to have watched that one today.

Chin up, Brentford. That was incredible.

Nick Bruzon 

What a result! Could anyone have scripted this?

25 Jan

Brentford have only gone and done it again, this time against Norwich City. Saturday’s 2-1 win at Carrow Road puts us within a point of our next opponents, Middlesbrough, who themselves were focusing on the FA Cup with that magnificent / distracting (I hope) victory at Manchester City.

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.

Clem - could bet on black and red but still get the green 0

Clem – could bet on black and red but still get the green 0

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?

Leeds an ‘end of level boss’ as Bees have a new ‘that penalty’

28 Sep

Leeds United came but Brentford conquered. It was another great performance from a Bees team who moved back into the top half of the table, past Leeds and within touching distance of the play-off zone.

Highlights of the game were plentiful, to the point where I’m really struggling to pick out a man of the match.

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.

Are points in the bag better than games in hand?

19 Mar

Brentford fans must feel like they are dreaming this morning after Wolves made it one point from the last six following last night’s shock defeat at Crawley. It was a result that few saw coming (myself included) and, following our own win over Leyton Orient on Saturday, has lifted spirits even further.

The proverbial ‘favour from other teams’ is all well and good but don’t forget that, as it stands, Wolves are still top of the table. That’s a fact. They are a point clear (effectively two with their gargantuan goal difference) and so still the team in the box seat.

Brentford, of course, have the ultimate destiny back in our own hands but Wolves have the points advantage. The two clichés in football I probably find have some actual resonance are, firstly, ‘The League is a marathon not a sprint’ (see Bournemouth last season) but also ‘Points in the bag are better than games in hand’.

Having to play that ‘one off’ game can bring its own pressures and this was no better illustrated than last night. The psychological advantage of getting a win when your rivals aren’t playing is immense – if you can get it right. Hand in hand with that goes the extra pressure of knowing what said win will do – as was illustrated last night with the game effectively turned into a mini cup final.

Wolves manager Kenny Jackett gave a very honest press conference afterwards, saying that the game “passed us by and that is a big frustration, particularly when it is one of the games that we have in hand” (perhaps Russell Slade should take note on how to speak to the media after a defeat).

As big a frustration for me, as a Brentford fan, was trying to keep track with the game. Although ‘Beesplayer’ does give access to every commentary (a very handy function, IF it works) mine seemed locked on the Charlton match. So, instead, I was stuck with the BBC ‘live text’ updates on their 21st century videprinter.

Its not an easy way to watch a game due to the torturous update speeds and generic descriptions as to the action.  Last night’s game seemed to consist of efforts from 35 yards but were these the sort of ‘fizzing pile-drivers to test a goalkeeper’, Adam Forshaw style? Or were they hopeless punts from distance that had less chance of going in than a Miguel Llera set piece?

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If anything, he hit it too well….or did he??

Watching a game on the BBC is a great way of knowing what is happening, if you are a fan of factual football. However, as a way of getting that genuine ‘gut feel’ as to who is on top and how things might turn out, then it is about as much help as Robert Madley.

Still, even I couldn’t fail but be moved to excitement by what happened just after the mid-way point of the first half. It began, ironically when you consider how many games Crawley have lost to the weather, raining goals.

Then it stopped. And the torture of waiting began.

But…. We all know the final score. Wolves remain top and, although the bookies still make them favourites for the title and promotion, Brentford have control back.

Coventry on Saturday will not be an easy task whilst I have no doubt that League One will throw up more than a few surprises before the season ends.

I’ll happily accept any gift from another team but, ultimately, it counts for nothing if we can’t do it ourselves. Fortunately, I have every confidence we will.

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Wait 24 minutes for a goal, then three come along at once

Quite possibly the worst performance I’ve ever seen (with video)

29 Jan

Another day and another win for Brentford, this time over Bristol City.

With Wolves and Leyton Orient both recording victories to keep pace with the League One leaders (that’s us), it was an important three points to pick up.

However, it was the manor of the victory which was somewhat odd, quite simply because Bristol City were one of, if not THE,  poorest side I have seen all season. I’d like to think I’m quite objective and will always give our opponents due respect where deserved but my reaction on leaving Griffin Park was more,  “You’ve got to feel sorry for their fans”.

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.

Sixteen into eleven won’t go

2 Aug

The League campaign is finally here and I cannot wait. So much so that I finally cracked and went to a ‘pre-season friendly’ on Tuesday night.

I’m not, normally, the world’s greatest fan of these fixtures. They’re a little tease that struggles to properly fill the void of close season. Despite looking and sounding like the real thing, it somehow lacks punch. The footballing equivalent of alcohol-free beer. However, lured by an unexpected ‘green card’ from home base, the warm summer weather and our opponent’s recent transfer activity I decided to give it a shot.

The opposition – Cardiff City. Like Celtic reserves and Millwall before them, another higher level outfit and a really strong test. However, that’s where normal service ends…..

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.