Tag Archives: Oliver Langford

Fine margins see Huddersfield staying alive as Brentford goal glut runs dry.

12 Mar

All good things come to an end and that was certainly the case on Saturday as Brentford saw their hot streak in front of goal stop with a juddering halt. Huddersfield Town shutting us out (and not just in front of goal, if we’re being honest) as they recorded a 1-0 win at Griffin Park. With Fulham, of all teams, doing them a stonking favour with a 3-1 win up at Newcastle United, there’s everything to play for in the top slots .Good luck to anyone trying to call the two automatic promotion places that the Terriers, Magpies and Seagulls are currently fighting over.

Still, promotion is nothing but a pipe dream for Brentford at present – albeit we have a wonderful chance to still impact the play off race later in the season when we travel to Fulham. Assuming they haven’t choked it by that point.

Instead, our aspirations are more about building for next season and, with safety all but mathematically assured, we’ve been doing this in fine style recently. Brentford entered this game off the back off a goal glut which had seen us rise to the top half of the Championship table. Then Huddersfield paid a visit.

Despite a lurid kit – think QPR with added highlighter pen – and the pressure of David Wagner having been named ‘manager of the month’ the visitors accomplished their sole aim. Win the game to keep the pressure on Newcastle and Brighton.

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View from the Braemar – three points and a lurid kit for Huddersfield Town

Whether it was exhaustion, a terrible display from referee Oliver Langford (who seemed to be set to ‘random’ mode), superior opposition or just a combination of all the above, we were second best on the afternoon. Despite a bright start to both periods, Huddersfield were soon able to control the game and snuff out our attacking threat. Indeed, it was the visitors who had the better chances even if the only way they did find the back of the net was via a combination of a Harlee Dean deflection and Dan Bentley.

It was a shame because the pair of them have been unsung heroes this season. The goals of Scott Hogan and the return of our talismanic Spaniards have dominated the headlines and perception of our team. Yet both Dan and Harlee have more than played their parts and are serious contenders for player of the season, when we look back over the entire campaign.

Things could have been different. Perhaps. Brentford had a bright start to both periods, Jota unleashing a drive from outside the box after three minutes that Danny Ward in the Huddersfield goal had to go full stretch to parry away.

Moments into the second half (the Bees having survived a huge scare almost from kick off) Lasse Vibe was presented a gilt edged chance.

Rico Henry releasing Flo Jo, whose slide rule pass across the box found the great Dane unmarked and Ward flatfooted. Yet instead of stroking it home, he somehow managed to sky it over the bar from eight yards out. In truth, the ball was travelling at him, at speed, yet even allowing for that movement one would still have hoped to see the net ripple. And that, a deflected effort that looped onto the top of the crossbar aside, was as good as it got.

After the game, Dean Smith would talk about fine margins being the difference. In the interview which you can find on Brentford ‘official’, he noted how:  “If the goal is given, if Lasse takes his chance, if the free-kick is given at the end of the game then it is different. Unfortunately we are not getting loads of those calls at the moment.

Was this a thinly veiled dig at referee Oliver Langford? A man who incensed captain Harlee Dean and the entire Griffin Park crowd with a series of odd decisions. Certainly, we’ve been getting the goals (and even penalty calls) in recent weeks. Yet even watching from the sidelines, Dean was more animated than I think I’ve ever seen him before as decision after decision went the way of the opposition. He was less Dijkhuizen and more Saturday Night Fever, such was the way he waved his arms around every time a crunching foul was overlooked.

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Dean channeling his inner Travolta, with Huddersfield staying alive in the promotion race

I’ll be keen to see the official highlights later on today. The 90 seconds served up by Sky (in as much all you need to know about the game) glossed over any refereeing faux-pas. Instead, they are just a chance to remind ourselves about what might have been.

That said, I did find Dean’s assertion that, “I thought that we more than matched them today” a bit of an odd one. Statistically speaking alone, the visitors had more possession, more shots and more goals whilst just looking at the game as a supporter I can acknowledge when we’ve been nullified. Huddersfield weren’t streets ahead but they were the better team on the day, no question. They are where they are for a reason.

Instead, we’ll just have to regroup for Tuesday night’s game against Wolves. Expect personnel changes for no other reason than the amount of games we’ve played in such a short space of time. Again, something Dean alluded to in that interview. Could the likes of KK, Tom Field, Sergi Canos and Josh Clarke find themselves back in the starting XI?

Whoever he picks will have the somewhat dubious privilege of Keith Stroud being the man to wave the cards in that theatrical style of his. Here’s hoping Keith is the restrained man in the middle that we have seen on occassion rather than the Keith of Bramall Lane infamy.

This season his record is 161 yellows and 11 reds in his 35 games. That’s an average of 4.6 bookings per game. By comparison, Mr Langford has 113 yellows and 5 reds over the same period. I’m not sure which is better really, going on yesterday.

Instead, let’s just hope it’s our football that everyone is taking about once more come Tuesday night.

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Keith Stroud – your eyes aren’t wrong. There is NO card in hand

Nick Bruzon

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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

 

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.