Tag Archives: Milton Keynes

MK Down and the true price of FA Cup defeat

24 Apr

Bye Bye MK Dons. Brentford racked up yet another win and another hatful of goals on Saturday afternoon to confirm that Karl Robinson and his team will be making an immediate return to League One. There was also that Doctor Who moment during the Manchester United – Everton FA Cup semi which we’d worried about yesterday whilst Kitman Bob is at it again. Yet again.

MK Dons BBC

Not my words but those ..etc

First up though, Stadium MK. As is the norm the BBC, Beesotted, official site  or other less salubrious pages are the place for proper match reports. Instead, the headline news to trumpet about has to be about a 4-1 win for the Bees.

It was a game that, not for the first time this season, featured brilliant goals from first Sergi Canos and later Ryan Woods (do check these beauties out on the Bees Player highlights package). These sandwiched Lasse Vibe’s 13th of the season before Jake Bidwell rounded things off. His free kick from the touchline, just like the game at Preston, drifting past everybody and into the back of the net.

Mark Burridge is back for another win. What jinx?

Team wise both Sam Saunders and Scott Hogan were missing from the 18 who had beaten Cardiff on Tuesday night. The latter used Twitter to allay the fears of worried fans, saying, “I‘m not injured it’s been planned being managed carefully, don’t forget I’ve been out a while , next season most important thing!

Maxime Colin reclaimed his right back position although Josh Clarke, who had impressed midweek, did get the final half hour. John Swift, gash healed, was an unused substitute.

Only just over a month ago many of, us including our own head coach, had noted that the Bees were in a relegation scrap.Now its been 16 points out of 18 over April. It is a month that has seen 16 goals and five wins out of those 6 games.

As it stands we’ve hit Dean Smith’s tenth spot target and could even end as high as eighth should the winning run continue. Victory in ‘our game in hand’ at Hull City AFC on Tuesday night will see the Bees just one point behind Ipswich Town in 8th and make the ‘manager of the month’ vote a very interesting one indeed.

I’d still say that one is a straight shoot out between Chris Hughton or Aitor Karanka. Their teams have won as many as the Bees this month whilst keeping up the pace at the top of a table that sees the top three all on 87 points with just two games to go. Now that’s pressure !

As a side note, am I alone in having a ‘spellcheck’ that defaults the Middlesbrough manager’s name to Aitor Karaoke ? Now there’s some wonderful imagery. Here’s hoping for a Phil Brown style pitch side singalong as Boro’ go up and fairly leave us in peace after 6 wins out of 6 over the last two seasons.

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Could Chris lift something more valuable?

The other Championship news of excitement saw QPR held by Reading. It means the Bees are two points clear of the Loftus Road mob in the battle to see who will end the season as not just West but all London’s top league club. That Hull game has even more riding on it than our opponents might realise.

Back to the FA Cup. We talked yesterday about the forthcoming Doctor Who ‘reveal’ that the BBC had intended to make during half time of the semi final and, sure enough, it happened. Whilst I’ll leave Bees supporter @Lokster71 to comment on the choice of ‘assistant’  via his excellent ‘Patient Centurion’ blog, I have to say that Gary Lineker handled the obvious disruption well.

Indeed, the BBC anchor giving a quite marvellous post-reveal segue pitch side as he dead panned, “The doctor’s not the only one with a new companion, Dan Walker talks to Lee Martin…”.

The only sour notes to the afternoon were  Manchester United securing a winner at the death. To be fair, I’d have been just as unhappy had Everton done this.

It meant that with the spectre of an additional thirty minutes ‘extra time’ now removed, along with it went the chance of Mrs Browns Boys (presumably the safety net should such a situation have arisen) being pulled from the evening’s schedule. Worse, it meant we got Michael McIntyre sooner.

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Mrs Brown – thanks Manchester United. And Everton

Whilst Lineker scored bonus points for the Dan Walker gag, I did also think his closing “Young Prince / party like its 1999” outro felt a little bit forced and, dare I say it, cashing in on the week’s sad news.

And finally, it seems like every week we’re saying this but Kitman Bob is back on the BBgiveaway. Whilst ‘that’ shirt has rolled over to the Fulham game on Saturday, he announced last night : Buzzing about @BrentfordFC support today. I’m throwing in a  BONUS BBGIVEAWAY Tuesday.  Boots to be given away. Keep looking . Tuesday lunch time

As ever, the place to look is on Bob’s twitter account.

Here’s hoping Sam Saunders is back in the team or my bet is spannered .

Roll on Tuesday.

Bob crystal ball

Kitman Bob – man of mystery and king of competitions

Nick Bruzon

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The Judge is very much our ‘man of the moment’ as Terriers await

19 Dec

Brentford take on Huddersfield Town today for Head Coach Dean Smith’s second home game at Griffin Park. He’s picked up 4 points from his opening 9 and, being honest, can count himself unlucky not to have 7(seven). The linesman’s flag incorrectly denied Jota a winner at Fulham whilst Cardiff City did to us what we’ve done to so many – grab a 90th minute goal as they ran out 3-2 winners at their unimaginatively named Cardiff City Stadium.

Jota onside v Fulham

Jota WAS onside at Fulham (thanks, Channel 5)

It has been a period that has coincided with the return of Jota aswell as our first look at the impressive Josh McEachran. These, both luxuries not available to either Marinus Dijkhuizen or Lee Carsley but which , I am sure, Dean will be relying on more and more. That said, the BBC reports amongst other things that neither are in a position to last a full 90 minutes as yet so expect them on the bench.

Indeed, that BBC match preview contains a number of interesting facts and, specifically, one about Alan Judge. I can’t take the credit for this (and, you can find their full article here) but it was fascinating to read that no player in the top four divisions has provided more assists since the start of last season. He has set up 20 goals – a figure also matched, but not surpassed – by Matt Ritchie and Cesc Fabregas.

This is an incredible figure. Not least because I didn’t think hapless Chelsea had managed to score 20 goals as a team. Although in all seriousness, we all know how good a player Alan is but to see him named in such company, and have his contribution laid out in such a fashion, shows just how much of a danger man he has become. Moreso, given his current total of 8 league goals also sees him as Brentford’s leading scorer this season.

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Alan launches himself at ecstatic fans after another goal…

The last time our paths crossed, in March, the Bees thumped Huddersfield 4-1 at Griffin Park. Goals from Chris Long (2), Alex Pritchard and Jon Toral saw us get back into the play off zone. This following our defeat away to the Terriers back in early December where three points would have seen us top the Championship table (although I blame the ‘Manager of the month’ awarded given to Warbs just before that one).

This time around Brentford are a little bit more off the pace as we sit in 10th place. Yet with the mid-table zone currently tighter than a hipster’s skinny jeans, victory could take us to within a point of the play-off zone as we enter the busy Christmas period.

However, with Judge on such prolific form and the team having played so well in our previous home game (the 2-0 over MK Dons) I’m going into this one full of confidence. I can’t envisage another 4-1, although that would be nice, but I’d just be happy to come out of it with a win. Moreso against a team who may be at the bottom end of the table but have picked up 6 points out of the last 9.

And I might have half an eye on the Premier League where Chelsea host Sunderland in the relegation six pointer and Bournemouth travel to West Bromwich Albion.

With the Judge, Fabregas and Ritchie all locked on 20 assists, there could be a very interesting sub plot to today’s action.

Nick Bruzon

Alan Judge corner Rotherham

View from the stand. Alan Judge – goals and assists

Andy Scott the unlikely hero as Bees thump MK to begin Dean Smith era.

6 Dec

As home debuts go, this was about as good as it gets. Dean Smith, the new Brentford Head Coach, couldn’t have written a better script had he tried – such was the performance delivered in a 2-0 victory over MK Dons. Bees fans left Griffin Park asking,”Pep who?” as the attacking line up delivered everything it promised.

Indeed the other more pertinent question being asked was. “How the hell was it only 2”? With Brentford having taken a first half lead via the head of Lasse Vibe and the inch perfect cross delivery of Jake Bidwell, the floodgates looked set to open. Alan Judge was next up, drawing a wonderful save from David Martin in the MK Dons when, clean through, he was odds on to score. No matter. The goal would come. Surely?

The same player (whose work in the build up for the opener also needs due credit) hit the post with a stunning free kick that saw Kerschbaumer’s subsequent follow up cleared off the line. But if that was close, Sergi Canos was next up to have a crack.

The Spaniard worked a wonderful chance but thundered his effort of the woodwork with Martin floundering and the goal begging. If the aforementioned Judge, ‘one on one’ put one in mind of the great Clayton Donaldson, this one had the name of Marcello Trotta on everybody’s lips. The Ealing Road crossbar resounded with a thump not heard since ‘that penalty’.

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View from the terrace – Canos thunder a shot off the bar

An opening period that also saw Vibe having had a goal denied thanks to the offside flag, left the fans ecstatic but, equally, wondering how MK were (technically) still in it. Moreso, when Vibe hit the bar for a third time as the second half got underway. It was a wonderful strike that deserved better and had supporters fearing it might be one of those days.

For those of us a bit longer in the tooth, it had all the hallmarks of an ‘old school’ Brentford game. Domination, chance after chance, stonewall penalties turned down, woodwork rattled and then Milton Keynes grabbing a scrappy, late equaliser.

Vibe 2-0 no

View from the terrace – Vibe makes it 2-0 before the linesman intervenes

Instead, justice was done. Alan Judge, who had done everything but score, finally found the back of the net on seventy minutes. His effort from the edge of the box eluding everybody to roll in past Martin and finally give us the breathing space we’d been gasping for

And that really was it. Pressure off, Brentford played out the final twenty minutes of which the highlight was, absolutely, the return of Jota for a ten-minute cameo at the end.

His presence on the bench, along with Sam Saunders, Andy Gogia and Philipp Hofmann certainly signaled an attacking intent from Dean Smith. Equally pleasing was the presence of Josh McEachran amongst the substitutes, following a late withdrawal for Alan McCormack. Whilst the former Chelsea player didn’t get a run out, this time, Dean Smith’s arrival has been perfectly timed to coincide with the squad returning to peak fitness.

Jota is back

Jota prepares to make his long awaited return

As for the Head Coach? Well, you can’t deny the impact he had. An attacking bench and a team who ‘went for it’ from the off. Even that most awkward of tactics, ‘kicking the wrong way in the first half’ failed to put us off our stride. He was rightly pleased at full time, telling the BBC, “Today’s performance was excellent” although also gave full credit to Lee Carsley for putting the squad in this position.

Even more incredibly, we scored from a short corner. Yes – you read that correctly. A short. Corner.

Judge’s goal coming from a move that began with one of these much-maligned set pieces. As the regular reader knows, “Don’t take it short. They never f**king work”, if the terrace mantra is to be believed. Frankly, there’d be more chance of Chelsea losing at home to Bournemouth than one of these ever succeeding.

Well, we did and we scored. Thanks also to the influence of Sam Saunders – king of the set piece. If this is the Dean Smith effect, the next game can’t come soon enough. Moreso, with the Bees now just one point off sixth placed Cardiff City. Fulham away on Saturday already promised to be as exciting as last season’s game. You can crank that up to 11, now.

And finally, I saw a post on Twitter last night from Matthew Benham after the match. Who knows how football works behind the scenes but this one was a revelation that has come out of leftfield.

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Matthew Benham – back to his Twitter best !

I was always a huge fan of Andy as a player and was gutted when Ron Noades let him go to Oxford. Whilst his managerial career could perhaps be described as ‘mixed’ (although I’ll never forget that night against Everton), who knew he had such Griffin Park connection and influence?

Nice work Matthew. Great work Andy.

But most of all, excellent start Dean.

Nick Bruzon

Forget sexist Tyson, I’ve still got Robinson Fury

5 Dec

Brentford take on MK Dons today with the British press in uproar over boxer Tyson Fury and his reported sexist comments about Jessica Ennis-Hill and women, in general. Phrases such as, “A woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on their back. That’s just my personal beliefs. Making me a good cup of tea, that’s what I believe” don’t sit well at all. Maybe that’s just me, although I’d hope not.

Rather than give the heavyweight moron of the world any more publicity, I reference this specifically to show that sportsmen can often engage the brain only after already coming out with some ridiculous things. And as we are all aware, MK Dons boss Karl Robinson is no different.

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Who wears short shorts?

Brentford fans still have a sour taste in the mouth following the controversial incident back in December 2012 when Robinson claimed a pint glass was thrown at him whilst leaving Griffin Park.

It was a bizarre allegation (if for no other reason than given our plastic cups in the hive, you’d have more chance of Nick Proschwitz scoring a goal than getting hold of an actual glass on match day) and one that was never taken forward by Police. This, despite the Daily Mirror running with the “Fans’ glass attack on boss” ‘story’.

Thankfully, chief executive Mark Devlin was on hand to diffuse the situation afterwards, explaining to anybody that wanted to listen to the truth that, “There was almost an incident but our stewards stepped in. Some beer was thrown, most of which hit our operations manager and a couple of stewards. I can categorically say no glass was thrown at Karl Robinson.”

Say what you want about MK Dons (and many have) but this, more than anything, is my abiding memory of a club for whom, I suppose, you can understand Robinson automatically being keen to avoid any references to plastic.

Regardless of our own desire to get three more points that would, potentially, take the Bees to level points Birmingham City in the play off zone, this game has that extra factor riding on it. Football fans have very long memories and I’m sure Mr Robinson can expect more than a few choice comments in his direction today.

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The BBC table shows a win will take us past QPR towards the play-offs

As for the man in the middle this afternoon, it’s Oliver Langford. His current statistics show 43 yellows and one red from 17 games, of which only 3 have been without a card being produced. That’s approximately 2 .5 per game – a figure which looks very good on paper.

And if anybody is looking for how that sits in the wider officiating community, there’s always Keith Stroud to refer to as a the yardstick of heavy handed booking ratios. And nothing changes.

His 20 games ‘in charge’ this campaign have produced 80 yellows and a further five reds. Even I can do the maths on that in my head but for those of you with a ghoulish statistical interest, West Brom v Port Vale in the Capital One Cup and last month’s Derby v QPR league game saw the yellow card appear 17 times.

But for those thinking a Langford may be better than a Stroud, I’ll take you back to last season, October 2014, and the 0-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday. My own comments from the Last Word archives, aside from, “‘Big‘ Nick Proschwitz could have won it at the death” (how little we knew then, although were already starting to fear) included the following assessment.

Referee Oliver Langford earned the wrath of the crowd for that one, along with several horror challenges from the visitors which went unpunished or overlooked. Is it too much to ask for a bit of consistency and quality from the men in the middle?”

With the likes of Sam Saunders and, potentially, Jota just out of the cotton wool, let’s hope our players get the protection they deserve.

The club have also reminded people, for understandable reasons, to please turn up early for the game as supporters will be asked to undergo additional bag inspections, ‘pat downs’ and metal detector searches. The plus point to all this being (free chili aside) that we get the chance to hear a bit more of Big B Radio.

More importantly, those pre-match requests that have come in via the medium of Twitter.

As ever, the Brentford fans seem to be combining musical excellence with, at times,  a subtle level of punnery. As such, it will be interesting if we hear some of these before kick off.

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Can you better these? Certainly Bieber must be possible

Although let’s hope Dean Russell’s fears prove unfounded – we may now be waiting until next season for Kurt and the marketing men to bring us a jumbotron TV but we do of course already have a new, improved tannoy public address system.

As the regular reader will know, I’m not a fan of Brentford ‘official’ using hashtags on Twitter but, I have to say that this is very much an exception. And you can still get involved using #BeeTheDJ.

Nice work Brentford. Here’s to three points.

See you at the game.

Nick Bruzon

 

Is Jota set to return?

4 Dec

With MK Dons due at Griffin Park on Saturday, there was exciting news for Brentford fans in the world of social media. Whilst, I’m sure, new Head Coach Dean Smith is by now fully aware of the state of his squad, there was a one man campaign on Twitter to remind him about player availability.

In a genuinely exciting update for fans, Jota published a couple of photos and updates late Thursday evening that have got Bees supporters buzzing.

If anybody was in any doubt about his fitness or availability for selection for the Milton Keynes game, ‘The King’ has been happy to update us. And whilst Dean Smith doesn’t appear to be on Twitter as yet, what a start to his own reign in having the player available once more.

With the talismanic Spaniard clearly itching to be back in action after being crocked by former fan favourite Jonathan Douglas in the season opener against Ipswich Town (the equivalent of being run over by an oil tanker),  I wouldn’t want to be Karl Robinson tomorrow if Jota gets a chance to face MK, Although, to be fair, much like Steve Evans I wouldn’t want to be Karl Robinson any time.

In addition, he has also bolstered his Twitter ‘banner’ with a new ‘hashtag’ – #Jotainthelastminute . There’ll be more than a few pints spilled on Saturday if he manages to get on the pitch at some point and do what only he can do.

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It does what it says

I’ll forgive Jota anything.Nobody needs another moan from me about hashtags and, frankly, I’m too excited about the prospect of seeing our man back in action to even (overly) mention the likes of #beardclub or #bignewambitions .

Instead, let’s hope it’s a phrase that can start trending at 4.50 on Saturday night. Dean Smith has been talking about his brand of exciting football in the midweek press conferences – here’s the perfect opportunity to see that in action.

And if it sets Mark Burridge off, then all the better…

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Will it be Jota in the 90th minute….again?

 

Is this Matthew Benham’s toughest challenge yet?

8 Jul

With Brentford now settled in Portugal for their customary pre-season training camp, you could be forgiven for wondering if Matthew Benham’s attention was elsewhere on Tuesday night. His ‘other’ team, FC Midtjylland, discovered their Champion’s League second round opponents following the game between Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar and FC Santa Coloma of Andorra.

Whilst we’ll get to that intriguing battle shortly, we can only begin on the Iberian peninsula where there have been two notable updates in the last few days.

Firstly, news that is sure to excite Brentford fans – the return of Northern Ireland International Will Grigg following his prolific season on loan at promoted Milton Keynes Dons.

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, it’s the annual clean up to make more space on the site for the inevitable follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are ! 

 

Bristol City beat the odds as Clemwatch takes an interesting turn

28 Sep

Bristol City overturned the biggest statistical hoodoo in football on Saturday. Their 3-2 win over Milton Keynes Dons was achieved despite the presence of BBC Football League Show touchline reporter, 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.

Clem finally gets to celebrate on pitch. Played : 7(seven). Won 1

Clem finally gets to celebrate on pitch. Played : 7(seven). Won 1